The word "nigger," used by the wrong people, in the wrong context, will reap serious consequences, repercussions, lacerations and possible concussions ["The N-word," March 6]. If this book is a prelude to the next level of African-American scholarship, then there is more to the phrase "Higher Learning." Forget phonics, this academician is hooked on crack.
"Nigger" may never be erased from our lexicon. However, more worthy of debate is the nonverbal systemic employ of this pejorative. Let's start with the obvious, Randall Kennedy. Is it apropos for an African-American professor to profit by sharing despicable "family business," under the guise of intellectualism? At the risk of offending readers, it looks more like intellectual masturbation and a cheap way to make a buck.
Switching gears, let's revisit this year's Grammy ceremony. Why is it that Alicia Keys wins five awards while India.Arie wins none? Both sisters are talented as Keys has tapped the mainstream white audience while Arie has a more Afrocentric fan base. Could it be that money is the common denominator and the fair-skinned Keys, backed by the Clive Davis music factory, is less threatening than brown-skinned Arie?
What of the "niggarocity" that plagues our school systems? When discussing the achievement gap and the digital divide, black and brown children represent a disproportionate number of the disenfranchised. Money plus position and influence equals accessibility to training, resources and opportunity. What used to be Jim Crow, we now refer to as redistricting.
Lastly, what of the anti N-word machine aka the court system? In the prophetic words of Redd Foxx, "There are enough N-words in here to make a Tarzan movie."
In short, words say nothing; actions say all. This book is like putting out a fire with gasoline. Shall we light a match and pray?
--RUSSELL ROBINSON, DURHAM
When I read that Bunkey Morgan had filed as a candidate for commissioner in the democratic primary in District 4 ["Is There a Price on Gary Phillips Head," March 6], I thought to myself, "How the hell can he do that? He lives in a huge mansion in my voting district (District 1). Besides, he's a Republican. Maybe there's something I don't know about election law." Well, your article cleared up a lot of my confusion. At first I was outraged at his blatant disregard for the democratic political process. Then, I started feeling sorry for him for his pathetic need for attention and promptly wrote a check to Gary Phillips' campaign. Chatham County finally gets a progressive, intelligent and thoughtful leader and Bunkey wants to muck it up with his personal quest for power. Chatham County voters won't be duped by the kind of politics that Bunkey is playing. I have been disappointed in the coverage of Chatham politics by The N&O and Durham Herald-Sun. I commend The Independent for uncovering Bunkey's latest antics and bringing it to the attention of Chatham voters.
--JOYCE BAIRD, CHAPEL HILL
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