I thought that this was a very interesting discussion about the use of the word nigger in today’s society. The reason why the discussion is so interesting, is because the subject is difficult and makes many people uncomfortable. Even in writing this position statement, I feel uncomfortable putting the word on the paper, because of that feeling that I might be offending some body. What I really liked about this discussion on The View was that both sides of the discussion really tried to dig to the core of the problem. I thought that both Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth Hassleback made good points, however I thought that they both missed some key elements of the discussion.
Elizabeth Hassleback was the lady who argued that nigger should not be used by anyone, even black people themselves. Her point was that the use of this word brings back bad memories and thoughts, and that it obstructs the goal of having a more equal society. I think that this is a great point she is getting to, but her presentation and view are a little naïve. It is probably very easy for Elizabeth Hassleback not to use the word nigger. She even said her self that she grew up in a traditional Polish and Italian family. This word was probably never used in her family and she has probably always seen it as a word that cannot be said. That is why she has such a one sided in her approach to the word.
I think that many white people grow up with the same understanding of the word nigger as Elizabeth Hassleback. We learn at a fairly early age that this is a bad word and should never be used, period. That is why sometimes, we become confused when we hear it used when black people are talking with or about each other. I think that we have to understand that for the most part we have grown up differently then many people of color. Even if we are on the same economic level, they still will have different experiences then us, as all families of any do. My philosophy from a white person’s perspective is that I will never use the word publically or privately. When I hear it used amongst African Americans, it does not bother me in any way. I understand that it comes from a totally different context, and it is not my responsibility or right to tell them what they can or cannot say.
Whoopi Goldberg was the woman who made the best points on the side, that African Americans should be able to use the word nigger as they like. Her point behind this being that it was once a word of hate that African Americans now use almost as a term of endearment. Now obviously I am not African American, so I have only limited personal knowledge on the subject, but for the most part I agree with Whoopi Goldberg’s reasons for using the word. However I did think that Elizabeth Hassleback made a good point at the end of the discussion about how the word slows down the goal of reaching an equal society. I watched the tape twice, and I don’t’ think that Whoopi really had a legitimate answer to this question. She kept on making the point about the story of her family and how and how Mrs. Hassleback couldn’t understand the experience. Now, I totally agree that Elizabeth Hassleback can’t understand that experience, but I think she was right when she said we should all move on from our ugly past, and start a new trend in the future.
I think that as the American people move farther and farther away from the foolish and terrible events of our early history in dealing when minorities, it will become time to drop all the racial slurs. I am not saying that we should forget what has happened in history. In fact it is something that we need to remember, because it helps us see how far we have come, and it gives us hope for an even better America in the future. This is why, when talking about this subject on the word nigger, we need to use the ideas of both Mrs. Hassleback and Mrs. Goldberg. On Whoopi’s side, we as white Americans could do a better job trying to have a broader view on world issues. However, I think that all Americans of every color need to start thinking in way where color is not an issue in any way.