January 18, 2002
In reply to: "It's Time to Rewrite the Rules for the N Word," by Leonard Pitts, Jr. and "Racial Ignorance Peeks Out, Even in Times of Great Patriotism," by Sandra Combs Birdiett
Dear Ms. Birdiett and Mr. Pitts,
I begin this letter by saying that I am not prejudice, ethnocentric, or ignorant. Nothing in this world is free and nothing is fair; that's just the way it is. You cannot change your circumstances; but you can chose to overcome them. Anyone who has the audacity to call someone a nigger is obviously too ignorant to be taken seriously. If knowledge equals power and ignorance is the direct opposite of knowledge then the racial slurs spoken by so many lowbrow people in this world should place no effect on our lives. I was taught that America is the "melting pot" where everyone blends together and lives as one. Knowing this, I cannot comprehend the need for so much minority awareness. If our country wants its people blind to differences then why do we establish organizations and preach about diversity?
Above all things, our country offers freedom. We have the privilege to write our opinions in the paper. We have the right to publish novels using a high-strung vocabulary. We have the opportunity to sing vulgar lyrics. Ultimately it is our prerogative to be who we want to be. Our world is not perfect, there are always certain grotesque individuals, and groups who feel obligated to treat others unfairly. Comedians are able to make jokes about society without being thrown in jail because of our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. Television airs shows that insult the American people. We have so many freedoms today and that is because our forefathers fought and died for the world as we know it. If Snoop Doggy Dog's lyrics offend you then don't listen to them. If you are appalled by Mark Twain's use of nigger, don't read Huckleberry Finn. What I am trying to say is that you have to take in the good along with the bad. We are not living in Thomas Moore's utopian society, and thank god for that. Many people enjoy rappers touchy lyrics and find contemptuous comedy hilarious.
Racism will always be apart of society. If you are black and called a nigger, I don't understand how it is any different from if you're white and called stupid. In the Webster's New World Thesaurus nigger is used as a slang synonym for the word dumb. If you were to look up black or even African American, the word nigger would not be listed. I think there is too much controversy over the N word. Perhaps if we stop expressing our concern for being called a nigger or other derogatory terms, the people who expect us to become angry would end their behavior. If we have the ability to walk away from such remarks without retaliation, we prove we are stronger. Once the birdbrained citizens find they are no longer receiving the same negative attention from us, they will resort to other means to aggravating the public.
Do not get me wrong, I do sympathize with people like yourselves who have to put up with the world's unwitting people day after day. After the majority of your family has served in the United States Army or Marine Corps and defended our nation during World War II, you do not deserve to be called the N word. No one does. Prejudice is wrong and I would like to see it ended. The fact that racial ignorance is still going on in this time of great patriotism goes to show that its part of life. However, Dr. Martin Luther King's dream is slowly becoming more of a reality. With each new generation, we give birth to a more educated people. Statistics show that racism is on a decline. Now it is only a matter of time before living anywhere in the world and being against equality because of race or color, will be like living in Alaska and being against snow.

Whitney Rice