September 15, 2005

My Professors Response to My Letter

Hey there, Princess.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts...
Whew! Where to begin? There is a
short article that I'll copy and bring to class for you about your
Africans-selling-folks-into-slavery comments.

The biased and often mis- information that the U.S. media creates about
who black people are is disseminated worldwide via satellite tv and CNN, so it
is not surprising that people of color worldwide have the same views of us as do
many whites here. I myself was very surprised when I first visited the African
continent to find that not only did Africans also subscribe to those ideas, but
that Africans saw me as American first and black second--because I am not
African. James Baldwin once talked about how when he visited India he found
Indians had the same racist views of blacks as white Americans
But that's a conversation for another day.

Personally, I don't think any of us should be using the word "Nigga."
It's demeaning and pejorative (and is packed with alot of historically racist
intention). That young blacks use that word today so easily tells me how
disconnected they are from the traditions that enabled us
to survive the 300
years before desegregation and ignorant of what that segregation really was
about--AND how deeply racist stereotypes have been internalized by African

Words have power, and I just want folks to know their meaning and think
before they use them.
So good for you! Your friends may be angry at you
for the moment, but at some later time your words will come back to them and
have their effect.

It's important to be true to what you know as "right" and "wrong"
(understanding that that "knowing" is an ever evolving process)-- and to
live your life from that place of knowing.

See you Friday.
Rae F.

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