My good friend the Negro Intellectual sent this to me this morning and I had two reactions to this um ... heated weepy discussion of the dreaded "N-word:"
1) Sometimes I think this debate would go a lot easier if black people would just explain the "N-word" as being what it is, a racially charged curse word. Often (black) people leave the impression that all black people are "OK" with it when in my own household my mother has never used it and forbade us to use it. At the same time my dad and his brothers do use it amongst each other. I was always taught it was a "use at your own risk" word. Sort of like dropping the "C-word" or "fuck" in people's presence. There's a time and a place and sometimes there is no time and no place, but when you say it, you're responsible for it and whatever reaction you get -- good or bad. So white people can say it. Black people can say it. Just be prepared to face the consequences.
2) I actually started laughing when Elisabeth Hasselbeck started crying. I think (she cried) because this isn't an issue can be dressed up with kittens and rainbows. It involves complex, deep drama that can't be worked through in 45 minutes on Dr. Phil. They want to be "done" with the issue of race and wonder why-oh-why can't we just be free, hug a tree and be all "the same" already, because she's there. She's cool! She's totally post-racial! What's your problem? But then there was the whole not realizing that saying "we're the same" and us actually being "the same" are two entirely different things. It think it's a combo of guilt and frustration because she knows she doesn't get it, but doesn't want to go down that scary path to finding out what the "real" problem is.
Crying over shit like this is a cheap way to show you care or that you take it seriously when you're really just crying because you think people are "picking" on you. It's a sort of luxury only white women of a certain caliber can afford. Mainly, non-poor, young and attractive white women. If you're an unattractive, old, broke white woman or if you're a non-white woman and you have the nerve to cry, no one gives a shit about you. No one feels sorry for you. No one tries to help you understand. Elisabeth is just using the tools given to her to demonstrate that she's a "good white person." Not one of those bad white people who teaches their children to hate us darkies. Her tears were trying to tell you that.
If Sherrie had started crying, everyone would have given her the "what is that bitch's problem?" face, as people are immune to black women's tears. Even if we're crying over something legitimate like our sons dying in unnecessary street violence, our elderly mothers drowning in Katrina, having our kids taken away, being rejected by our families or communities, getting our heart broken. SUCK IT UP, BLACK WOMAN! No one cares if you cry! I think I was that rare black girl who's parents allowed to be a "giant girl" and just cry over things from time to time. I wouldn't have cried over whatever Miz Liz's problem was ("Everyone is being so mean when I am a beacon of tolerance! Rodney King was right, ya'll! Why can't we all get along!"), but as I said before, those tears were for herself and wanting to demonstrate that she was not one of "those" white people, but an understanding one who hates the N-word and would never, ever use it.