That Word

Somehow, I missed the news about Al Sharpton’s issue with certain language in the TV version of The Boondocks until I read about it in the comic strip version this week. Today’s journal entry, though, is not so much about that controversy as it is about the trend for news outlets to use the cutesy term “the n-word” instead of the real word in question, which is “nigger”.

There. I typed it. Do you find the word rather repulsive? Yeah, so do I. That’s the point, after all. It’s hard to demostrate how offensive a word can be without using the actual word. When newspapers use stupid euphemisms like “the n-word”, the word is stripped of its outrageousness, and it sounds like nothing more severe occurred than little Betsy Wetsy saying “I have to tinkle.” In fact, it makes the whole thing sound sort of cute and endearing, like a fight between Bobby and Cindy Brady.

Surely no one could really object to the use of the word “nigger” in the context of a discussion about the use of that very word, could they?

I remember once, many years ago, that my grandmother was talking about a man she knew. She whispered the word “homosexual” but defined it out loud it as “you know, in love with another man.” In her universe, the word was apparently more upsetting and delicate than the idea behind it. It’s apparently the same for most newspapers.

If someone is using words like “nigger” or “spic” or “faggot”, I want to know about it. They’re not using cute little sanitized family-friendly words and I don’t want to read some wimpy newspaper’s cute little sanitized family-friendly minimization that masks the impact of what was really said.