Friday, July 13, 2007

The Premature Burial

N-word buried in mock funeral
By Corey Williams
DETROIT -- There was no mourning at this funeral.

Hundreds of onlookers cheered Monday as the NAACP put to rest a long-standing expression of racism by holding a public burial for the N-word.

Delegates from across the country marched from downtown Detroit's Cobo Center to Hart Plaza. Two Percheron horses pulled a pine box adorned with a bouquet of fake black roses and a black ribbon printed with a derivation of the word.

The coffin is to be placed at historically black Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery and will have a headstone.

''Today we're not just burying the N-word, we're taking it out of our spirit,'' said Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

He continued: ''Die N-word, and we don't want to see you 'round here no more.''

The N-word has been used as a slur against blacks for more than a century. It remains a symbol of racism, but also is used by blacks when referring to other blacks, especially in comedy routines and rap and hip-hop music.

''This was the greatest child that racism ever birthed,'' said the Rev. Otis Moss III of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where presidential candidate Barack Obama worships.

The NAACP held a symbolic funeral in Detroit in 1944 for Jim Crow, the Southern system of racial segregation.

It's a important symbolic gesture, but I think it's a premature burial. The N-word won't die. It's too useful.

Years ago, I was watching a documentary on one of those you're-gonna-learn-something TV stations like PBS, and I think it was about PETA, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I saw a bunch of doctors in a lab torturing animals. I saw kittens in cages defecating themselves, dogs submerged in water tanks, monkeys with exposed brains strapped in a chair like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. As I watched in horror, I learned something, although it probably wasn't what the guys making the film intended.

First, the doctors in the blood-stained white coats who worked with cold efficiency as they methodically killed these animals didn't call it torture. They called it "scientific research". Also, I noticed that they never called the animals by name, or even identified them by species. Instead, they gave Garfield, Benji, and Cheetah code names like "GL 6735", and I realized this was how the doctors were able to do the terrible things that they did. Before you kill, you have to turn your victim into an object.

That's exactly what bigots do.

Once you dehumanize the objects of your hatred, it becomes easy to lynch that nigger, rape that bitch, or kick that faggot's ass. Presto. Historically, we've seen this lunatic sorcery works on a larger scale, as well: Let's turn those Jews into ash, napalm those gooks, drop a nuke on those ragheads. Easy.

And it all starts with a word.