To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Joanne Jacobs: Can Obama help black boys?".

Black male students are lagging behind every other group, including their black sisters, writes Richard Whitmire in his farewell USA Today column. President Barack Obama will be a symbol of success, but will that be enough to help black boys succeed?

One of the commenters, a teacher in a gritty school, has this to say:

I have heard *#gger spoken between my black students for years and no amount of telling them to stop has stoppped it. Then Obama won.

The next day after the election I walked down the hall on the way to class and a group of black students were talking with each other. One kid says, “Did you see that *#gger the other night when…” when another black student in the group says, “Yo man, we can’t call each other that anymore!” i nearly jumped in thee air.

The rate of *#gger between students has dropped off at my school to the point that I haven’t heard it in the hallway for a long time now. I hope that this transfers to academics as well.

Obama could be the best thing to happen to these kids in a long time. Keeping my fingers crossed.

And there it is. All of that crap about how it's wrong for white people to use the n-word but not black people, or how among black people it's really a term of endearment, is demonstrably garbage. Regardless of who uses it, the word is a disrespectful put-down, implying that the person on the receiving end is a hopeless second-class loser. The fact that it is in such widespread use among certain portions of the black population is telling, I think, as is the fact that black folks who have it together dislike the word, don't use it, and don't want to hear it. Who worries about being disrespected, except for people who so profoundly lack self-respect that they have to make up the deficit with respect they get from others? See here and here for instance. And why would they lack self-respect? Because they belong to a group for which they lack respect. How toxic that is, and how ironic that black people who live "respectable" lives are accused of not keeping it real, i.e., not being authentically black. Maybe now things will turn around.

1 comment:

Mrs. Who said...

Excellent thoughts! I hope it does 'change' things like that for the better. Not having respect for yourself limits you in everything.