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Thank You, Snoop Dogg

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

If you will allow me some latitude with my understanding of pop culture, I will attribute the phrase, “Fo shizzle, my nizzle,” to the one and only Snoop Dogg. It may be a bit much to credit him with the use of forbidden language in all songs, but he surely made using the most politically incorrect word acceptable. Should I misappropriate proper credit, I am open to correction. Also if my spelling should fall short the blame goes directly to my parents and teachers, as it was they who taught me what I thought to be correct.

For decades we have been trying to bridge the racial divide in America through individual and group efforts, government initiatives and programs, religious institutions and just plain common sense and decency towards fellow human beings. All of these have had successes and failures due to the natural flaws we as humans have. Still we continue to strive for that utopian moment when all tinges of racism will vanish and the character of individuals will actually be the standard by which all are judged.

The dichotomy which exists and the relevance of Mr. Dogg, is the negation of any of the progress which has been made in race relations, by his and others in the entertainment industry, with the use of the “N” word while practicing their craft. One might ask is it a matter of artists exercising their first amendment rights and holding them harmless for what the public does after hearing that protected speech? I agree that individuals are responsible for their individual actions, and that censorship is not the answer. After all, I am exercising my right as I pontificate here. Therefore, while censorship is not called for, I would implore the purveyors of foul language to cease and desist using certain words and phrases. It is the use of this and other such language which constantly causes the angst these same people claim to experience.

The elephant in the room question becomes why can blacks use the “N” word and whites can’t? The notion that blacks use it as a term of endearment is just about the most ridiculous argument one can make. Nowhere in the English language, in any dictionary is the rule that a word will change meaning if used by one race versus another. Please point it out if I missed it. When the word/term was used during the slavery era and Jim Crow, it was meant to denote blacks as sub-human and inferior to whites. They were to be considered to be lower and treated worse than beasts of burden. We need not relive those days, as any decent human being will admit was a very dark time in America’s past. Absent the meaning of being called an ‘n’ has changed, it was a negative then, so it remains the same today.  By definition any endearing quality can’t possibly be conveyed by the word’s utterance.

For the excuse makers who continue the charade of “it’s harmless word play,” and throw this and similar words around with reckless abandon, to those who use vacuous reasoning to justify your ill respect to those who suffered the effects of being classified as such, how dare you call yourself someone concerned or upset that ‘your people’ don’t get a fair shake at The American Dream. Until you stop the denigration of yourself, until you educate those who listen as you exercise your right to speak, until you show respect to those who sacrificed all so you can speak and live free, you have not earned the right to complain. I am one who will not acquiesce to you having it both ways. If you disagree with this assessment, then you should be prepared to live the consequence of your decision. That consequence being it’s o.k. for you; it is o.k. for all. I contend that most with intelligence will avoid the use altogether.

If the ability of words to change meaning is dependent on the context or mindset of the user, all should enjoy the same equal protection of the law when expressing adoration to their fellow man regardless of color. No longer can you hide behind the shield of ‘oppression’ to spew hateful and hurtful words while fabricating an imaginary lifestyle of helplessness and hopelessness against ‘the man’. So then, what happens now, business as usual as we proclaim, “Fo sheezy, my neezy” or, realize the fallacy of ‘separate, but equal speech’? Try exchanging ignorance and illiteracy for wisdom and competence. This is not for entertainers only, but all citizens who believe America is truly the “Land of the Free.” Be brave and live it.

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