I was raised in two parent household in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago—that alone qualifies me as solidly middle-class. And along with that upbringing, I’ve never once in my life heard either one of my parents use the word “nigga” or any derivation of it; it was always referred to as the “N-word.” I became liberated enough to use the word “nigga” et. al. after I read Randall Kennedy’s book my senior year of high school and my AP English teacher encouraged me to use that book for one of the class projects. And even then, my parents would sometimes cringe when I used the word, not in reference to a person, but since it was the topic of study, I believed that on should not be afraid of the word, but rather call it what it is.
Midway my high school career I had gotten in the habit of calling people “Negroes,” and one of the junior deacons at church preached a sermon and interwove that idea into her sermon. This is to say that those of us who use the word “Negro” are not in a position of judgment to criticize those who freely use the N-word.
Now, in the “good ol’ days” the phrase “uppity nigra” [phonetic sp.] was often used by whites toward blacks who had stepped outside of the socio-political construct with which they had defined themselves. I chose the name of this blog because for me the literal word “Negro” was never used in quite the derogatory way that “nigra” was. For me, “Negro” is a word that should used in historical context and every time that I use it or I hear someone else use it, I try my damnest to break from that habit.
My attempt by using it in the context of this blog, and this blog only is to take the phrase and flip it on its head and redefine it quite much like the people of the Uppity Negro clothing company. And secondly, because many of my friends always joke around with me and say I participate in so many “uppity Negro” affairs.
And again as I said in my introductory blog, this is place to give the unapologetic middle class, elitist view. I’m sick and tired of watching many black political pundits having to be apologetic for their viewpoints simply they are the product of their upbringing. We should not apologize for our world outlook no more than those who grow up on the proverbial other side of the tracks. This means that if I get labeled elitist, then so be it; if I get labeled “uppity Negro,” then so be it. I am who God made me, and there is no shame in that.
What I fail to comprehend is that why are the sons and daughters of professional people forced into thinking that they have to kick it with the people from the other side of the tracks in order to “keep it real?” I’m still confused as to why do the sons and daughters of professional parents feel the need to join street gangs?
Alas, yet another blog entry for another day. So even as my Ethics and Society professor, in the epitome of black elitism uses the phrases “Negro folk” and “colored folk” ad nausea and ad infinitum, hopefully the readers of this blog will at least be conscious of how they use the word “Negro” from now on.
Grace, peace and luv, JLL 1:52am 10.17.07