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“On the tip of their tongues”


The N-Word

This has been a very illuminating week for the offensive racial slur, the N word. You know the word I am talking about, the one that resides on the tip of tongues of many…waiting to get out and be hurled at unsuspecting recipients. Well, it seemed the word made its way off tongue tips and into the public domain in several instances that left many in disbelief about the public discourse in our country and the willingness to use racial slurs, including the N-Word, at will.

After blurting out the n-word this week during a public meeting that was broadcast on Facebook Live, a white city councilman, John ‘Tommy’ Bryant, of Tarrant City, Alabama, is facing growing calls to resign his position. Bryant stood up from his council seat and said, “The n-word. The n-word. Let’s get to the n-word. Hey. Do we have a house n—– in here?” saying the n-word while gesturing toward Veronica Freeman, a Black council member who reportedly left the room in tears.

The N-word found its way to a recent flight arriving in Miami that became violent after a white passenger allegedly used a racial slur and attacked a Black man because he was angry over how long it was taking him to retrieve his luggage. According to a witness that spoke with Local 10 News, a white passenger got upset because a Black passenger was taking too long to get his luggage. The white passenger then used a racial slur and punched the Black passenger, triggering a brawl.

The N-Word then traveled to New Jersey, where a woman is facing charges of bias intimidation, harassment and assault after her tirade of racial slurs was caught on video at a hotel in Mount Laurel. The intoxicated woman was not a guest but staying at a hotel nearby when she decided to attack the front desk clerk.

Nothing was more perplexing than watching Good Morning America this week as anchor Michael Strahan interviewed country music star Morgan Wallen, who had been caught on a doorbell ring camera earlier in the year using the N-Word after a night of partying with friends. Wallen would later issue an apology, said he was embarrassed, and would do better. But many wondered if he really was sorry. Some compare his actions to that of a bank robber. Are you sorry you robbed the bank or are you sorry you got caught?

Either way, the comment that threw me for a loop was Wallen saying he had entered rehab behind all of this and didn’t realize how offensive the word was. First, I never thought there was rehab for the N-Word. If that’s true, there are a whole lot of others that need to commit themselves to some rehabilitation so they can cease their usage of the word. What stood out the most was him saying he did not know the word was offensive. Huh?

Like almost everything else in our country, people attribute what is going on to COVID-19 and have come up with some interesting ailments to cover for their ill behavior such as COVID fatigue, COVID anxiety, etc. Can these moments be attributed to COVID or something else ugly that lies just beneath the surface?

As we wait for the elected official in Alabama to come to his senses and resign over his use of the N-Word, maybe we will see the day when the N-word finds an “ailment’ and ceases to exit. Maybe then, we won’t hear so many ugly stories of it being used.

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