Defeating the ‘N-Word’

When I was driving home today, I heard a conversation on NPR with Paul Moody talking about how he wasn’t going to use the ‘n-word’ in his comedy routines any longer. This in the wake of the well publicized Michael Richards tirade.

This all made me think of an incident when I was in college. A group of us were hanging out with a young black guy from Baltimore in one of the common areas of the dorm. At some point a couple of hillbilly baseball players got some alcohol in them and starting dropping the n-bomb within earshot. More than likely they were trying to get some type of reaction from him which they thought would be great fun.

Finally one of the guys who was sitting around talking to him asked uncomfortably “Doesn’t it bother you when people use that word?”

His response was priceless. He smiled and said: “It doesn’t bother me at all. I figure he is saying a lot more about himself than he is anything about me.”

Simple, eloquent and to the point. And I have never forgotten the lesson.

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