Sunday, June 11, 2006

Someone Actually Doing Good

Recently on CNN Headline News I saw a news report over a couple who started an organization and website called 'Abolish the "N" Word.' They, like myself, remember when hip-hop did not make use of the explitive N#$%@*. Now as most know much of hip-hop, and especially hardcore rap uses this derogatory term. I encourage anyone who cares about issues of race to check out this site, make a posting of support, print out the contract and sign it. I believe their idea of a contract is most progressive thinking and shows their understanding of race relations and socialization in America and pop-culture. The idea of the contract acknowledges that soclialization, especially concerning racism, is not an immediate or easy thing to overcome. But by signing this contract we make a commitment to reminding ourselves to be better people.
This might bring some of you to question why I would endorse a sight that is trying to abolish the 'n-word' when I sometimes use the word fag, queer, or faggots when referring to myself or other homosexuals. I, as the authors state themselves,know that the n-word holds much history that many do not grasp. As far as the word fag or faggot, their use as a slang for homosexuals is fairly recent. Well, you might say, was not the word also used to mean burning sticks and even heretics. Yes, but these heretics were witches and as much as gay men want to consider themsleves or others as such it falls short of the actual poor women and men burned at the stake. As fairly recently as the 1920's , the word faggot was still used in reference to a bundle of sticks as evident in this quote,
The bundle of power and privileges to which we give the name ownership is not constant through the ages. The faggots must be put together and rebound from time to time."
Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Paradoxes of Legal Science (1928)
At the same time as the use the word faggot became popular, subversive "queer" (I use queer in reference to those gays and lesbians who are anti-mainstream, i.e. anti-Advocate homosexuals) groups began forming groups such as the Mattachine Society (1950) that would lay the foundation for all gay and lesbians groups to come. Many of these early advocates recognized, as many queer and women's studies theorists do today, that instead of trying to join soicety as it is, we would do better to try and reform it, which I agree wholeheartedly. Thus they took the words fag,faggot, and queer to make their own, to differetiate themselves from mainstream gays and lesbians, as I do myself. While there is obviously more history here, I lay this brief summary out because I always encourage everyone to research subjects themselves and not only believe one source. Do not take me wrong, I believe that groups such as Outpunk, QueerNation other subversive queer groups do as much work as do the mainstream Human Rights Campaign and Stonewall Democrats in their own speacial ways. Their failures and differences are another blog entry entirely.
Also, as I should, I would prefer you go the 'Abolish the "N" Word" website to read the history of the n-word. I think that this site also makes the graphic demonstration that racism is never amusing or entertainment. I myself teared up when viewing this site and then sorrow turned to anger which we should all turn into action.

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