A new blog post is long overdue. But I’m here, and I plan to be on my worst behavior, hitting you all with a couple of blog posts back to back. Numero uno:
Some people get super excited for the first day of fall because it brings promises of cooler, more colorful weather. This year, I welcomed the first day of fall with open arms, embracing the return of color to America’s TV screens. Although “Empire’s” season premier passed by, undetected by my Black radar, I was able to catch the season premier of “Black-ish” on Wednesday night. To my delight, the season started off by tackling a much-debated topic in the Black community: the N-word and who can use it.
While “Black-ish’s” main character, Andre, admitted the N-word is an ugly noun, he argued Black people have reclaimed the word as a term of endearment, thus making it an exclusive word limited to the Black community. Andre’s wife, Rainbow, vehemently disagreed. She argued the N-word is a hateful slur with an ugly past; therefore, no one should use it. Andre’s parents chimed in their two cents, dismantling Andre’s argument, stating the N-word should only be used to refer to individuals you dislike.
Meanwhile, members of the show’s youngest generation held various opinions. Zoey (the eldest Johnson kid) thought anyone should be able to use the N-word, despite its history. She claimed the N-word has acquired new meaning over the years.
Jack (1/2 of the two youngest Johnsons) hadn’t quiet formed his own decorum for the N-word, while his better half, Diane (twin sister), had a clearer sense of when and where not to use the word.
Junior (the middle child) arguably had the most insightful opinion on the N-word’s usage, representing, what I believe to be, the main idea “Black-ish’s” writers wanted to get across. Junior suggested maybe it’s okay the Black community does not have an agreed upon “how-to” usage guide for the N-word. I agree.
“Black-ish” did a great job at showing how generations within the Black community have experienced the N-word differently due to the distinct historical contexts in which they’ve lived. With that said, Black individuals should be encouraged to decide for themselves how to use the N-word.
So cheers to you, “Black-ish” writers! Thank you for peeling back the intricate layers of the N-word, urging viewers to examine the word at its core. I wasn’t quiet sure how you were going to tackle the topic, but you did a great job at addressing contrasting perspectives and leaving it up to the viewer to form their own opinion.
So let’s hear it media whistle blowers. What do you think about the N-word?