Sunday, August 21, 2016

If You Can't Say Something Nice . . .

Hello, my name is J.P. and I'm a podcast junkie. The podcast can be all talk, or all music, and I'm hooked. If you ever see me and I have a Bluetooth earpiece firmly attached to the side of my head, there's a good chance that a podcast is softly running in the background. My player of choice is Pocket Casts. I use it on my Android phone with the earpiece or over the speakers in the Jeep, or on my Windows phone over a Bluetooth speaker I installed in my motorcycle helmet.

Many of the podcasts I listen to are just for background noise. They have this neat feature of drowning out the voices in my head. Many of those I'll play at 1.5x (or 1.7x) the normal speed. But those are talk only. When it comes to music podcasts, it's all normal speed.

Music podcasts are great in the Jeep and on the motorcycle. There is usually too much wind noise for talk.

And that brings me to a music podcast I was listening to on my way home from work the other day. It's called "KEXP - Music That Matters Podcast". From what I've experienced, it seems that different DJs from the radio station host the podcast - trading off for each. This provides a wide variety of music styles depending on the tastes of the DJ.

Now, to be honest, I listen to any kind of music except for rap and reggae. If it shows up in a mix, I'll listen - and even enjoy it - but not necessarily will I listen to an album's worth in a row. The particular episode I was listening to focused on hip-hop/rap music. In the first song the "n" word was dropped. Okay, it's "gangsta rap" and I can forgive that - once. In the second song the "n" word was dropped again. After the "n" word was dropped in the third song I skipped the rest of the podcast.

As I've joked before, I come from a predominantly Caucasian family. And as far as I know, we have NO history of slave ownership in my family tree. I say that because I want to make sure you understand what I'm about to say. Ready? "I HATE the 'n' word!"

Do you understand what I said? I HATE the "n" word. I do NOT use it. My dad summed it up for me once a long time ago. He said, "The definition of the "n" word: the lowest form of human life. Did you notice there wasn't a color in that definition? I've known white people who would stab you in the back quicker than a black man." My dad is a wise man.

Let me ask you: is the "n" word offensive? If so, why does ANYONE use it? I'm not just talking white people. (As a side, I remember a comedian mention once that there was no such thing as white people. He then held up a sheet of paper to his head and said, "If they are this color they're DEAD! We are all the same color - just different shades of brown.")

If it is offensive for a white person to say it, it is JUST as offensive for black person to say it. And don't give me that "A brother can call another brother a n****r" crap. I've NEVER heard a white man call another white man "cracker".

Should the "n" word die? Absolutely. Is it offensive if someone calls someone the "n" word? Absolutely. But the "n" word will NEVER die as long as a black person can use it. And as a word to the black people who feel they can use it: STOP IT!! Quit pushing a mixed message.

As part of my "research" for this blog (don't laugh, I research . . . sometimes . . . ) I came across the ONLY time a black person used the "n" word appropriately. The comedian Chris Rock used it as part of his "Bring the Pain" (1996) stand up show. And the gist of what he was saying was that he, as a black man, didn't like n****rs either. It's a very funny, but not-safe-for-work routine (and I'm not linking to it - research it yourself).

I was looking for a certain quote from Chris Rock (who was AMAZING as the 13th Apostle in the movie "Dogma", by the way), but found the above instead. Since I couldn't find the quote, I'll refer to an old "Bloom County" comic strip by Berkeley Breathed.

In the strip, Steve Dallas (recently having been abducted by aliens and having his brain scrambled - turning him from an ultra-conservative to an ultra-liberal - including a perm) has his parents over visiting. His mother is looking out the window:

Steve's mom: "That's the most adorable little colored girl playing outside."
Steve: "'Colored'? You're saying 'colored people' in 1983? You know better, Ma."
Mom: "Then why the 'National Association for the Advancement of Colored People'? I don't think negroes mind at all."
Steve: "DON'T say 'negroes', Ma! You can't say 'negroes'!"
Mom: "Can I say 'United Negro College Fund'?"
Steve: "You are baiting me, Ma!"
Steve's dad: "That's it. We're leaving."
Mom: "Stay put, Reginald. 'Mister socially sensitive' isn't through shaming his parents into enlightenment."
Steve: "Everybody just calm down. Let's agree to use the New-Age term 'People of Color'."
Mom: "People of Color".
Steve: "People of Color".
Mom: "Colored people."
Steve: "NO!!"
Dad: "We're leaving."

(Respects to Mr. Breathed. I pulled that from my copy of "Bloom County Presents The Night of the Mary Kay Commandos". I even had it bookmarked!)

To conclude: There will be no end to racism as long as we continue to label everyone. Get over it people. We belong to one race: the human race. That includes all people of all colors, religions, and sexual preferences.

And before you go calling me a "right-wing fanatic", remember: that's a label!

©Emittravel 2016

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