11.27.2006

The End of the N Word

Paul Mooney has declared that he will never use the "N-Word" again in response to Michael Richard's meltdown. Yes, that's right. Paul Mooney. The guy who used to breath in oxygen and exhale the N-Word. The guy who would be as rich as Bill Gates if he had been paid for each N-Word he either said or wrote down for Richard Pryor.

But I digress.

This is part of a shared reaction by the nation's black leaders to remove the use of the word from everyday use. The Reverend Jesse Jackson says "This is a gift to our ancestors. Dignity over Degradation."

That's some food for thought. People like Paul Mooney, Richard Pryor, and Dave Chapelle defanged the word by using it in an entirely different context. It was provocative and let us laugh at our perceived stereotypes. But the original meaning lingered long after the laughs faded away. That's what we all saw on that weird, weird video of Michael Richard's meltdown. If Paul Mooney is moving away from this word, that's certainly remarkable.

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