Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 28 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/1/17

The N word in America

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   14 comments
Author 86186
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert De Filippis
Become a Fan
  (30 fans)
My name is not NIGGER
My name is not NIGGER
(Image by quinn.anya)
  Details   DMCA

James Baldwin said, and I paraphrase, "I'm not a n-word. I'm a man. If you need me to be a n-word, it's your problem. You need to figure that out for yourself." And by doing so put the issue right back where it belongs. With "White People."

When I write White People with caps and in quotes, I don't mean people who have white skin. There are none. I mean White People as a class; a class based on economics and social status that gives them the power to affect everyone else in society with their prevailing values. (I call them prevailing because they change to fit the circumstances of maintaining their own power base.)

On the most natural and fundamental level, we're all people of color. I'm beige with a slight ting of pink and olive. There are those who are much lighter in tone and have far less power than I. There are those who are much darker in tone and have much more power than I.

No matter where one falls on the color scale, the issue of needing "a n-word" is still an appropriate issue to contend with. So exactly what is a n-word?

One dictionary defines it as "a contemptuous term for a black or dark-skinned person." This may explain why I was once called a "white n-word" by a student who didn't like the fact that I caught him plagiarizing his final paper in a class I taught. For him, I had dark enough skin not to be considered a "White Person," but just enough to be thought of as a white n-word. And I do understand how he could find me contemptuous because I refused to ignore and accept his indiscretion.

That instance was revealing because it exemplified Mr. Baldwin's admonition. There is probably no time in a person's life when he needs a n-word more than when he is caught doing something he's ashamed of but can't tolerate the idea of his own failures and weaknesses.

I think this is the nerve that's touched by Mr. Baldwin. Many in the racist segments of our society need to have niggers in their lives to submerge their own inadequacies. Their wholesale hate for a whole class of people is a dead giveaway. It points to the shadow sides in their own personalities. The places that are too scary to enter and explore.

I liken this to the process of homophobia that infects our society. I suspect that the more homophobic one is, the less confident they are in their own sexuality. And then there's the wholesale condemnation of Muslims. There just might be a weakness in one's own faith that's threatened by the presence of Islam in America.

This whole process is explained well in the psychological process called projection. Wikipedia defines it this way, "Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others."

So, if I were to take this to the next level, I would say that they more you need niggers in your life, the more you need to begin the exploration of your own psyche. The more you need "fags" in your life, the more you need to investigate your own sexuality. The more you need to brand all Muslims terrorists in your life, the more you need to examine your own strength of your faith. And a look at how strongly you buy into the destructive nationalism rampant in America today might be useful too.

At this point, it might seem like I'm pointing fingers at all the bad guys out there. I'm not. I have more than a touch of all the psychological issues I mentioned in this article. They reside in the shadows of my personality too.

My hope is we can use this time of open hostility toward anyone who doesn't fit the perfect model of the "White Class" to cast a beam of light into our own shadows.

Robert De Filippis

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Funny 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Robert De Filippis Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram Page

Author, columnist, and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I've authored and published eight books: "You, Your Self and the 21st Century,"The Flowers Are Talking to Me," and "Faith (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Illinois Is Now on Board. We Can Carry Concealed Weapons in Every State.

Don't be Fooled: Black Racism Causes White Racism

The Primary American Meme: Be Afraid.

What Jesus said and What the Christian Lunatic Fringe Hears.

This Pope Makes Me Want to be an Atheist

Ethan Couch: An Example of the Pathology of Wealth

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: