21 April 2011

May I vent for a moment?

We're sitting here in The Institution the other day, doing whatever, when The Not Nice Kid pipes up and asks, "What's 'nigger'?"

The air sucked out of the room. The Nice Kid and I stared at each other, horrified. Simultaneously, we asked, "WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT?"

Now, this is Alabama. And I realized a long time ago, I have to be more cautious than people from other places, because I get labeled a racist more readily than they do. I know that I went to school when schools were segregated, but I don't remember it. I don't think I've ever seen separate water fountains or bathroom facilities and if I have, I was too young to remember that, too. But still...this is Alabama. So I'm very careful. And "nigger" is one word that doesn't get used around here. (If you know me? You're pretty sure that's the ONLY word that I don't use. My decibel and profanity levels are in direct proportion to my alcohol consumption. Bad mom.)

And do you know what she said?

"It's in this song."

It's a word in a song sung by a BLACK guy.

I raised a child for 11 years, who had never heard the term, and all of a sudden...here it is. As presented by a black guy.

I CAN'T MAKE IT GO AWAY IF YOU WON'T SHUT THE HELL UP.

The Nice Kid explained, "It's okay for them to say it. It's racist if we do."

In a perfect world, honey, in a perfect world.

3 comments:

Country Girl said...

It probably would have been better had we not reacted in such a horrified manner...now? This is TABOO, and taboo pushes Moms buttons ;)

Country Girl said...

"...mom's..." ;)

fun45mom said...

I took a group of 8th graders to see the play To Kill a Mocking Bird in Monroeville Alabama. Out of the 4 I took, one of my precious students is black. The play was very true to the book and movie and the "N" was used quite often. One of my students later proclaimed the play to be racist, apparently he didn't notice the black actors, black members of the audience along with the black choir. I know he said it out of concern for his friend but I told him missed the whole point of the story. The time of the story, the history and the lesson to be learned. The crucial reason for Harper Lee to write the book. Nobody wants to hear that word and it made me uncomfortable along with everyone else. But I also told him that his black friend may have been the least uncomfortable because he has heard it many times from his black friends or family. If the author and director left the N word I believe the message would have been lost along with the message.