Editorial: We are taking wrong lessons from racial slur video; By Pas Simpson

Pas Simpson is executive director, One Big SMILE Foundation.

 Recently our community’s sensibilities were provoked. (”Allentown School District cuts ties with Ortiz Ark Foundation following video showing use of racial slur by nonprofit leader,” Morning Call, April 19.)

A video circulated through social media that has become a call to action. A challenge to how we define race, see ethnicity, but more importantly how intense situations may cause a lapse of judgment or even an abuse of power.

Interpretation and use of words are powerful.

I’m that Nigga, who understands the history of the word, and decided to own it. Who won’t let the enemy weaponize a word once used as a term of endearment.

Negus is a title in the Ethiopian Semitic languages. Usually bestowed upon a regional ruler by the Negusa Nagast, or “king of kings” in pre-1974 Ethiopia. The negus is referred to as Al-Najashi in Islamic tradition.

Slave masters, in an attempt to rob us of history and quell our hope, took a term of high regard, and made us think it’s an attack. They have transformed Negus, meaning king, into nigger, meaning ignorant.

Most Black and brown people in the Americas are descendants of slaves. Whether your slave language was English, Spanish or French, we were all treated like niggers instead of regarded as Negus.

We can’t use the same templates set up in white supremacy to keep us divided.

Nigger is never an acceptable term, no matter who says it. As a father of two young black Queens, I was appalled watching the video clip. Although we don’t know the entire context of their conversation, some things don’t matter. Read more

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