The conversation runs the gamut, and the violent history and its current use are talked about. Is it OK to try to make it mean something ok and new when its origins are as bad as they are?
I have thought about these things before, but like the one white panelist, I am not sure how much weight anything I think about it should carry. But that doesn't mean I don't have opinions or impressions. From where I stand, which is no where near where others closest to the topic do, I thought in some ways having a new meaning was like a taking back of power. In some ways I wondered if it could be healing.
Notice, I said, "wondered."
I can't speak to it with absolute authority, as I am not in the shoes of those it directly potentially impacts. That is like so much of life. So rarely can we understand the issues and cares and concerns and conversations of others, and yet we think we know the answers they should choose.
It is the broader aspect that draws me to this conversation, not so much the word itself. I think about how there are other ethnicities that have had derogatory terms used when referencing them. Some would say it's not nearly the same, and perhaps, if it was a contest, they might be right.
The one thing I often tell people is that they should stop comparing themselves to me. They'll be upset about something in regard to their own life, but then turn around and apologize, because "it's not cancer." It doesn't have to be cancer to be painful. And it's not a contest.
Everything is relative.
A person's pain is relative. A culture's pain is relative. Sometimes people may think they "understand" what others went through, but the fact is, they never really, ever could. Does it mean they shouldn't try to understand? Does it mean they shouldn't use the situation to seek to learn something? Not at all.
I think, though, it does mean that when it comes to what does, or doesn't, happen in regard to a significant something that "belongs" in one context more than others, the context that fits those most directly impacted should carry more - if not all the - weight. And it shouldn't be a weight that in any way is minimalized or marginalized by those outside of it.
We have so many issues when we try to step into shoes that we never even want to wear. We may think because they are not for us, they shouldn't be for anyone. But, instead of leaving them alone, and allowing others to do what they will with them, we go on campaigns about something we can probably never fully understand because it is not our experience, and likely never even will be. We wind up carrying the shoes, or even leaving them home, in the closet, and using that as a substitute for any real knowledge we may think we have on a subject.
This way of looking at things gets us into a lot of trouble when we try to go beyond our own immediate experience, and overlay it on others - others that the shoes actually fit perfectly. We can't even hear what they say because we are more certain about what we have made up about those shoes than we could ever be about what they say their experience is. We own our story. The rest is just hearsay, and is likely to be more wrong than what we have told ourselves about those "shoes."
I imagine that might be part of the problem when it comes to the bigger picture of things. Our ego never likes to be wrong. We fight for those things our ego believes, even when they may not really even work. We do it because we also need to hold onto the familiar. Our sub-conscious mind thinks it helps us survive by finding the things we know, and we know what we think more than we could ever know something that removed from what our life is - or likely ever would be.
I tend to think the highlighting of the uncomfortable conversations is a good thing, as I think it can help to bring stuff into the light. Tell someone you can't say or do something, and what happens? That is all they can think about, and want to do. It also reinforces fear in cases in which the reasoning for the tucking is the fear. It will feed off of itself. People are a lot more uncomfortable with the topics we're not "supposed" to talk about because we don't talk about them. And by not talking about them, they remain unfamiliar, and by remaining unfamiliar, they stay uncomfortable.
We have the perfect mechanisms in place to keep fear and hate in place, as well as pain. Just tuck them away. And for those unwilling to tuck, make them as uncomfortable as possible because you are uncomfortable. By causing them distress and discomfort, hope they will go back to that place of silence.
What many people do not realize is that those who will not be silenced likely are all doing us a favor. They are doing us a favor because they recognize that the cost of the silence is so much greater than the cost of speaking up - at least in terms of their soul. They may die by speaking up and out, but they are dying being true to who they are.
You may think death is the greatest cost. By the person who died likely felt that there was an even greater death/cost in their silence.
That says a lot, don't you think?
I never speak up about stuff because I necessarily want to. I do it because it is my soul's food. It is what my soul requires to keep going. Many times I have said I believe it is why I am still here.
I do not think this is just "my" thing. I suspect others would benefit from the same type of food, and yet it is not one that is a steady part of the diet of many. We would rather regulate how others live their lives, and how they view things, and what they say, and what they do than step back and really look at our own lives, and where we have willingly chosen to be silent.
It is much easier to distract and be distracted than it is to come face to face with who we are. We have been taught that "those" things aren't supposed to come out, and we know what will happen if they do. We already know it is such a bad thing that we go to such great lengths to "protect" ourselves.
The worst part? We are so damn good at this, we don't even know we're doing it most of the time.
But we kind of DO know. We get nudgings. We get signs. We know something is not right. What we do with thise things will have a lot to do with what does - or doesn't - happen next.
For me I had a lot of those. I had itty-bitty changes along the way. But apparently, I needed a big, swift kick in the butt because when cancer showed up things had no choice but to change.
I am grateful for the changes. I just wish it hadn't taken something like cancer to make that happen. What possibilities might there have been to be healthy AND free?
But I had to ultimately feel like I had nothing to lose to truly step into I am. Anything before that might have seemed to carry too hefty a price tag. All the questions. All the concerns. Perhaps they were all valid, too, which in some way makes it understandable why I would remain stuck.
But when you have nothing left to lose, you realize it doesn't matter. Nothing does. You do what you do because you do it. Because you want to. You need to. You have to. There is nothing that can stop you and, if anything, your situation now insists that you do the things you never would have before.
But, dang, does it take a lot to get there, and hopefully you do not die in the process. Although there certainly will be times you will feel like you are having many mini deaths along the way.
If you are fortunate enough, you will get a wake up call that allows you to be more fully aware and present in your life than you have ever been. And healthy enough to go out into the world, not as others think you "should" be, but as the gift you truly are.
We can't even begin to access all of who we are until we get all of who we are not out of the way.
Maybe conversations about "the 'n' word" help people figure out who they are. Maybe that is the important piece they serve in the world-at-large.
Those things that help us figure out who we are not are just as important as those things that help us figure out who we are, and sometimes they happen simultaneously. And, maybe, when we are giving another person a hard time what really are doing is helping them discover more about who they truly are. It would likely sound better if weren't potentially ignoring ourselves in the process of focusing on someone and something that really isn't our issue, and could never really personally affect us.
This was intense. I think I am done for now. Later.
Ps If you'd like to subscribe to my posts, just enter your email address at this link http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/VVPeD or here https://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=blogspot/VVPeD
Want to know more about me?