• Marvin Manigault Jr

An uncomfortable conversation about the word “Nigga” • Leroy Hill review on Emmanuel Acho's opinion

Please start the video at 6:42 then read Leroy Hills thought provoking perspective.

Leroy Hill -

" There is a lot to say about this video. I want to focus on the 6:42 mark. Here Acho justifies the use of the N-word among black people. He argued that it stood for oppression, execution and subordination and blacks had robbed it of its original meaning and turned it into a term of endearment. Now I don't use that word. I haven't used it in at least 2plus decades. But Acho's statement here makes a case for its use. The word has a despicable history. I watched a movie, a period piece where the word was used so much and so despicably that I almost turned the movie off. A relative suggested that I finish the movie. Nevertheless, hearing it in that way and used with that ugliness helped me remember why I don't use it.


I want to engage you in a thought exercise. This thought exercise is about freedom and what it really means to be free in a free society. I recognize that Acho is not a politician, doesn't make any laws, and only speaks for himself. But his statement here is the perfect stand in for this discussion. I suggest you skip to the 6:38 mark and watch his discussion. Acho argues that this term has been given a new meaning and significance by blacks. It is now a term of endearment and therefore can be used by blacks with affection.


I understand what Acho means. When I went back to Philly, many of my old friends dapped me up and said, My N****a. I didn't bristle. I wasn't mad in the least. I didn't pull out my spectacles and take an instructor's position and begin to tell people of the history of that word and what it meant and why they shouldn't use it. Why? Because I now what they meant and what they were conveying. I hugged those guys and we chatted. Acho is 100 percent right when he says that that word has been robbed of its meaning and given a new one. Terms like gay have undergone similar change with little fanfare. So complete has the change been that almost no one associates it with the words lighthearted and carefree. But lets not kid ourselves, gay has other connotations too as does that word. You look at almost any video on Youtube where two non-blacks are arguing... that word will pop up. You look at any video where two blacks are arguing and that word will pop up. My suggestion is the meaning that we think has been robbed of the word has not utterly disappeared. In fact, I would suggest that that meaning is still alive and in use today despite Acho's protestations. Both the negative and positive use of the word are functioning today in American discourse and no one can do a thing to change that.


Nor should you. You can't control people's thoughts. You can't control what people think. You can't control how they think about you. Nor should you. That is unless you want others to control how you think. To control what you're allowed to think and how you should think about them.


There is a mutuality in freedom that allows all people to think as they wish. That's what it means to be free. Unless you don't want freedom anymore. So here is my exercise... I would love to hear a well thought out answer to this question.


Should the same rules that Acho applies to the N-word, a symbol of oppression, execution, and subordination be applied to the Confederate Flag which is itself a symbol of oppression, execution, and subordination?

What I am getting at is should freedom only work for one group or all groups?


As a post-script. I am going to borrow Acho's uncomfortable conversations theme and ask some uncomfortable questions myself. Maybe we should get them all out in the open so we won't be uncomfortable with each other anymore. Whaddya think? "


Check out more videos by Emmanuel Acho : https://www.youtube.com/user/Eacho18


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