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.