“When someone does you wrong the first time, shame on them; when they do it the second time, shame on you.” anonymous
On Monday August 15, 2011, the Huffington Post reported that EBay, the online merchandise selling conglomerate, advertised a bag for sale from a Chinese woman in which she identified the bag’s color as “nigger brown.” As the story was reported merchants in other countries were revealed as having committed the same egregious act in regards to labeling other products as “nigger brown.” Lastly, Apple used the ‘Picture Effect Magic App’ on its phones, created by yet another Chinese, in which users could tint their images to “nigger brown.” Apple since changed the app so that the color reads ‘brown’. Sometimes, however, the offense is too shameful for an apology. Furthermore, with the use of this offensive term, “nigger brown
we still don’t know the real color of the bag since people of African descent vary in so many beautiful shades (Shukriyyah Ali). The culprit behind these racial slip ups is reportedly a faulty Chinese-to-English translation system. Apparently, the Chinese need to fix this system, but they also need to fix their thinking about the identity of people of African descent. Ebay, with the amount of money it makes, will share in the responsibility of the tongue-lashing; this billion dollar company founded by an Iranian-American born in France, Pierre Omidyar, is not complying with its own rules regarding the use of racial slurs and derogatory language. This type of oversight should never happen. Ebay will certainly not get any of my money.
When are we going to get it? When are we going to understand we are the first lines of defense in protecting our identity so that others will not feel that they have the right to demean us via the use of racial epithets. This self-sabotage has to stop now. Listen up! It is not okay to use “nigga” or any derivative to all of the self-loathing “role models” taking the word on physical world tours and through the international marketing of artistic expression. We have to do better for so many reasons, but especially for the likes of future generations—cliché—but true.
Running the risk of being stereotypical are Asians in contact with all other races since everything is “made in China?” How would we have all reacted had there been descriptions that read ‘chink yellow’, ‘spic brown’, ‘apache red’, or ‘cracker white’ to identify similar merchandise (Trudy n Jayquan)? Non African Americans seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that using the ‘N’ word to refer to African Americans is not only politically incorrect, but it is also morally wrong, hurtful, and offensive. The worst thing, however, is that we are oblivious to it too! We have to raise our level of awareness.
While in Malawi and South Africa, I was asked on two separate occasions why I didn’t use the ‘N’ word when referring to Africans and African Americans; according to some Malawian students, “that’s what Black Americans are according to music videos and the rap music.” Other groups will not see the importance of honoring our identity if we don’t see the value in protecting it.
Popular culture will forever be determined by people of African descent because we are awesome. The proof speaks for itself. No matter how we “flip it”, we recede our own greatness every time we open the door for others to insult our greatness. Other groups identify themselves in terms of what we have established. Just recently, political pundits were using the term “swag” to refer to ultra conservative Republican White men! We cannot afford to take for granted who we are any longer.
disclaimer: Negro was the politically correct term used in Dr. King’s day
Check out the original story here: