The St. Aug. football chant and the N-word, why is it still used?

Re-appropriation, context key issues to the words staying power.

Thomas Perumean
October 09, 2019 - 7:21 am
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Twitter video showed St. Augustine's African-American football coach leading his team, predominantly people of color, in a chant to rally the team for the upcoming game minutes away.  The chant uses the N-word, numerous times.  

Within two days the coach has been relieved of his duties, and three more are relieved the next day.  

From executives, to politicians, to company managers, to a football coach and everything in between, if the N-word is uttered it can be a disasterous choice.  

But why is the N-word still used?  And used openly by people of color in general references, music, videos, entertainment.  

Tulane University Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies N'ghana Lewis says it comes down to things:  context and re-appropriation of the word.  

"As it relates to the word n*****," Lewis says.  "I don't have a problem with the use of the word if the context of is one wherein the intent behind the use is not to belittle, berate, offend."

She takes issue with the broad prohibition of the word and who's enforcing the ban: "The general rule is that the word should be buried, should not be used.  Who made that rule?" Lewis remarks.  "And who's going to enforce that rule vis-a-vie people of color who don't have an issue with reappropriating that word and putting it to different uses?"

Lewis says if the people say you can't use the word, were the sames one who used it oppress and demean ages ago, then no progress has been made in disarming the word's intent.  

"If you tell me that the enforces of the rule are the same people who used the word originally to oppress, then are you not doubling the oppression by telling me that I can't use the word...under any circumstance, or that I'm going to lose my job.  If I'm using the word in a reappropriated fashion."  

To hear the chant and read more about the unfolding situation, Click Here.  


 


 

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