The "N" Word, Race Unity and the Thunderbirds

There's been a lot of talk about race unity on the blogs that I try to read on a regular basis. I wish I could post a comment on all of them, but there's only so much time that I can devote to being on the computer before it starts becoming a compulsive habit. I'm one of THOSE people. I can easily slip into addictive behavior with anything except drugs (I'll discuss why on at another time), alcohol (same story as the drug thing), and playing video games. I have very little spatial discernment ability and manual dexterity, which makes playing video games very frustrating. I'm not very good at typing, either. Some of you probably guessed that! Oh yeah...if I were on a deserted island and I had nothing but coconut, okra and bitter herbs to eat, I would starve. Me, a serious food addict/compulsive overeater would rather starve than eat that stuff. It's true, though, even though my mother insists that if I were truly starving I would eat anything. Maybe, but I don't want to test the theory, either. I always gave away my Almond Joy and Mounds bars at Halloween. And I didn't even ask to trade them for something I liked!

O.K., digression number one over. This past week, I had an interesting discussion with some friends about the "N" word. I stated that I found the word appallingly foul, and I refuse to use it under any circumstance, even if I were with friends who were all African American and have known me since adolescence. I'm not going there, and I wince every time I hear someone using that term. It's offensive, even if the person using the word is African American. Of course, I'm even more offended if the person using the word isn't Black. I don't care how many rappers use the term. And yes, I'm fully aware of the argument that it's just "a word", and it has no real power unless I assign some sort of emotional baggage to the term. Yes, all right then. I have emotional AND historical baggage. Perhaps I should be more spiritually evolved and not let such trivialities bother me, but I'm sorry. I'm not that good. I wish EVERYONE would erase the word from their vocabulary, post haste. Now, one of the friends who was in on the "N" word discussion is a woman who I have known for twenty years. I had no idea that she thought of me as a spiritually evolved person because she said to me, "Now Angela, if I called you the "N" word, you wouldn't be offended, would you?" (Yes, she is white.) She was taken aback by my very vehement answer. She didn't know me as well as she originally thought. As my son Marc always says, "It is what it is." Yes, the term has a lot of baggage for me. And it DOES signify a lot to me. It means bull whips, open, festering lash cuts on the back, and dawn to dusk spine busting labor. It means the KKK, Alabama, Mississippi and Skokie, Illinois. It means tar and feathered, burnt to a crisp, children screaming for their murdered parent. It means "Uncle Tom" and "Mammy", "colored only"bathrooms and entrances, and inadequate segregated schools. And it means newly arrived immigrants to this country who barely know English, but they sure know THAT word. It also means that the filthy, drunken, foul-smelling toothless woman who wanted to keep her whiskey bottle with her while she boarded the light rail felt so superior to the African American female light rail security guard that she boldly called her the "N" word when the security guard asked her throw the whiskey away. This just happened three days ago. So yes, I told my friend. I'm assigning emotional baggage to the word. Perhaps I am giving away my personal power by allowing it to be hurtful to me. "But I'll tell you what," I told her. "You may NOT call me that. Not now, not ever." That was the end of that conversation.

Obvisiously, this is a test that I'm having trouble passing. All I can do is pray, meditate and hope that I can diffuse the energy enough to handle hosting Race Unity day tomorrow.

As for the Thunderbirds...well, I'm an Air Force brat. I grew up on the bases, and I got to see a LOT of air shows. It doesn't matter. I'll never get tired of it. I love airshows! The powerful roar of those jet engines is so incredible! Yes, I know that I am a world peace-loving Baha'i. But those fighters are amazing works of science, technology and beauty. I spent the whole time with my neck strained , scouring the skies for signs of the Thunderbirds buzzing the crowd. They didn't disappoint us. Great show; if the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels (I don't dsicrimnate; I told you I love flying!) come to your neck of the woods, you have to check them out. Man! There's another show tomorrow, but I'll be doing the Race Unity workshop. But I know I'll be looking up for the fly-by occasionally, too.

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