New York Magazine’s columnist Frank Rich in his recent POST RACIAL FARCE treatise closed with the disturbing statement that “even in the age of Obama a [race] solution is not in sight.”
I have been grappling with this conundrum for some time and concluded that the reason America has not been able to resolve its race issue, even though it has been dialogued ad-infinitum, is that the NIGGER thorn has never been removed from America’s paw.
Americans are frightened to death of the word NIGGER. They avoid it like the plague and if forced to confront it, either overtly or accidently, they do so in hesitant voices using substitute codes such as N-Word. I call this ingrained fear the Niggeritus Virus.
In “Let’s Call Them Nigger and Other Controversial Commentary on Black America” I address this and assert that if we cannot deal with the word NIGGER we will never be able to heal the destructive division that the word induces.
But the Nigger paralysis that is gripping America goes deeper than periodic racial conflict. The Nigger issue is at the core of the racism divide that prevents America from achieving its fullest potential. Until we can deal objectively and constructively with the Nigger issue, starting with neutralizing the word NIGGER, America’s racism cancer will remain unchecked.
What, you ask?? Why would you use the dreaded NIGGER word in the title of your book? Don’t you know it’s the equivalent of shouting FIRE in a crowed auditorium?
The simple answer is, I wanted the title to be shocking to attract attention!!!.
I realize the book’s title will ruffle some feathers, but our mutual economic, political, social, and civic interests demand that the national regression resulting from being infected with the NIggeritus Virus be addressed now, before it become incurable.
Too many of us have been lulled into a sense of complacency, accepting recurring racism as the norm in American society. Others seem to wear rose-colored glasses insisting that we live in a post-racial America in which racism has been subdued compared to past eras.
Yes, we have come a long way during the past 50 years. We repealed Jim Crow laws and enacted the Equal Rights Amendment and other anti-discrimination laws. We even elected a black president. Yet, I submit to you that racism and the continued irrational fear of the Niggeritis Virus impedes America’s domestic and global progress.
“Let’s Call Them Nigger” challenges what I believe are two of the most destructive mindsets that impede constructive dialogue:
(1) The idea that one person or group has the power to define another group by calling them names such as nigger, white trash, fatty, nerd, queer or other demeaning words.
(2) The idea that one person or group has the power to create an illusion or false reality, and thereby negatively influence the thoughts and behavior of others.
The critical question for our society is can humans feel good about themselves without demeaning others?
I caution Americans of all races to not let the book’s title fool you into thinking this is a pity-party for Black Americans. It is a polemic on how racism is undermining America’s position as a global dominator.
Racism is pervasive. Improving race relations is consistently part of the national dialogue but racism still remains a virulent virus apparently immune from any social, moral or religious antidote.
We do not seem to understand that our destinies are inextricably intertwined. The emotionally charged dialogue stimulated by Niggeritis reinforced by selfish classism where people are talking at each other and not constructively with each other is not only meaningless and counter-productive but also destructive.
Blacks and Whites need to become informed about the NIGGER Virus so that the word Nigger is demystified, detoxified and neutralized of its power to encourage fear based irrational behavior that keeps Americans divided.
Our goal should be to diffuse the negative energy and power associated with the word NIGGER and other demeaning words so that all Americans can come together in mutual understanding.
James W. Breedlove
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