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By: H. Lewis Smith
Rappers Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye West, “P” Diddy, 50 Cent, and hip-hop businessmen Russell Simmons, and Robert Johnson, just to name a few, are members of the 100 Million Dollar Club—Robert Johnson perhaps being the lone billionaire. The accomplishments that each has attained is remarkable; however, the means to which they used to make their mark is reprehensible, dishonorable, blasphemous and downright cowardly. Cowardly because they weren’t men enough to stand up against a systemic whose primary objective is to maintain a national objective that’s never been abandoned, the further perpetuation of mental exploitation and suppression of an unsuspecting group of people—the Black/African American; a major contributor was BET when Bob Johnson was its owner.
Millions of young minds were preyed upon and manipulated all for fame and fortune. They have been bombarded with negative, hopeless, and victimized images and messages of self with no promotion or encouragement of hope or power to take a stand and improve their lives. Their sense of racial unity and cohesion has been corrupted, molding characters of self-hatred, and engendering self-doubt, self-loathe, and distrust among their group. Subsequently, this pulverizes Black unity and halts Black upward mobility for the collective group.
Ultimately, these men’s shameless acts have single-handedly, but on a broad scale, contaminated the minds of the future generations of Black America all in the name of making whatever sells on the market—regardless to its ramifications—to acquire their own riches. Whether their actions were intentional or not, the point is that they have adversely-influenced the future torch-carriers in the Black community, and have done nothing in using their influence to correct the problem or pull youths out of the pits of despair to re-direct youths in the proper way to go.
The unrelenting reproduction of imagery and immediate gratification that helps to hinder Black youth’s growth and development should not be taken lightly.
With the blessings of the American institutionalized systemic, these men made their fortunes by spreading a culture of gangster rap with its glorification of murder, drugs, violence, misogyny, saggin’ pants, use of the n-word, and the perpetuation of a dysfunctional vocabulary that all but ensures countless young Black people will never be able to effectively communicate during a job interview or in any other situation that requires well-spoken conveying of their ideals.
Rap music, poverty and pop-culture celebrities combine to create an alluring cool-pose culture of self-destructive behaviors based on arrogance and a non-existent notion of self-entitlement. The popularity of thug culture, unrelenting obnoxiousness, foolishly-proud demonstration of total ignoramus behavior, and reckless acceptance and promotion of culture-weakening regressive ideals is among the most serious of modern-day threats to Black America, far more dangerous than any lingering institutional racism.
More than 300 years ago, Blacks’ humanity, identity, heritage and sense of being was taken and replaced with unmitigated ignorance, dependence, greed, jealousy, false hope, despair, apathy, and excuses. This new creation was labeled n**ger. The indoctrination has worked so well that some African Americans now disdain being called Black or African, preferring to be called a n**ga instead. In one video titled “Gangsta—N**ga N**ga N**ga”, the rapper does nothing but refer to himself as the n-word throughout the entire song; he proclaims proudly that he is a n**ga…but the question is WHY? More than five million unsuspecting minds have been exposed to the video, unaware of the subliminal or subconscious seeds being planted in their minds.
Frankly, on a more optimistic front, the hope is that Black Americans will listen to the video, and hear how ignorant, stupid, and idiotic the rapper sounds saying this—with the words piercing their soul each time it is said, that it will be enough of an influence to encourage them to join the anti-n-word campaign.
Though not all Black Americans use the pejorative term, far too many do, and when one supports rappers and entertainers that humiliate and degrade their own race, in essence, that individual is participating in cultural genocide. That supporter is contributing to the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and cultural extermination of the Black race.
Each individual Black American is honor-bound to turn their back on these entertainers and the industry that have made billions stomping on the dignity of Black/African Americans and the graves of their ancestry, as well as one that continues to stifle the intellectual development, value of hard work, and encouragement of active, collective progress.
For more than three centuries, it was beaten, tortured and forcibly instilled into Black African Americans’ minds to live, breathe, and heartily digest a self-hating,-destructing, -abasing and -abnegating personal image. This total embodiment and persona was then labeled n**ger/n**ga. With the aid of black sycophants, the indoctrination process continues non-stop to this very day; these sycophants (rappers) are ventriloquists, further facilitating the wanton acts of white supremacists from a deep, dark and ugly past.
The rebuttal that’s advanced by proponents of the n-word is that it is just a word, there are more important things to worry about, and that they’ve taken the word back and redefined it. These mentally- and emotionally-scarred descendants of slavery are so severely psychologically disturbed that they actually believe that they can change the meaning of a word. At surface level, rap music may seem harmless because they use the n-word in a context of camaraderie and friendship with smiles of jubilee painted on their faces. However, though it can be argued that context can change words, context CANNOT change history.
The n-word is so strongly stigmatized that to try to redefine it would suggest that slavery and oppression never happened. But the fact is—it did. Blacks fail to realize that all other races have their own definition of the N-word, which is based on its historical meaning. To the world at large, “n**ger” symbolizes the [black] race as an inferior, freakish sub-human thing, and as long as African Americans keep this word alive, African Americans will always be viewed as such.
Becoming indignant and upset at non-blacks’ use of the n-word after Blacks have promoted, marketed and commercialized the word globally is being irresponsible—unaccountable for the behaviors one’s own actions perpetuated; irrational; and insensible. Black/African American users of the word opened the door and everybody is walking through it, jumping at the chance to openly and defiantly use a word that demeans and degrades each individual African-American person, and, ultimately, a whole race of people, and everything the groups represents including culture and heritage.
Younger generations have grown up in a society that has used the word as common language their whole lives. They seem to have become desensitized to the term and ignorantly use it not knowing they are foolishly carrying on a 400-year-old plight. Just because they have heard its use their whole lives doesn’t make use of the term right nor does it downplay or eradicate its effects. Similarly, just because one grows up in the house with an alcoholic parent, then as an adult they drink alcohol their whole life—picking up the habit from their parent—doesn’t make the activity right nor does it soften its effects—one will still end up with cirrhosis of the liver and die.
What advantage is there in referring to self as a n**ga? If this somehow makes an African-American feel connected to other black people, all should consider themselves slaves on the plantation with no hope of escape. If no other efforts are made this year, decide to STOP using the n-word to characterize self, to describe other black people one may feel is somehow inferior to them, or in reference to a loved one—masquerading the term as a form of endearment, which is an empty sign of self-hatred.
It is time for each Black/African-American person to put the COLLECTIVE WELFARE at the heart and soul of each of their individual plights, and do whatever is necessary to see to it that the African-American community rises up healthily, building stable, united foundations and legacies for future generations to continually build upon. As Michael Jackson once said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror…” Change begins with YOU! Start by burying the n-word.
H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1