The event that I attended to was about the relevance of saying the “n” word and the controversy behind it. Has it been long enough to let bygones be bygones? Why does anyone have to use it anymore? Why won’t it just go away? Do you think it’s okay for everyone to say the word or only a few? These questions and many more that were asked during the discussion brought on such a heated debate.
On one hand, the word is the ultimate insult that has tormented many generations of African Americans. Yet over time, the word has been reclaimed and became a popular term of endearment by the descendants of the very people who once had to endure it. The people who organized this interesting event are members of the Pan-African social studies club. The event was located at the student union on the third floor which started at 6 and was intended to end at 8 but since the discussion was so amazing it lasted until 8:20 until we were basically told to leave. When I first entered the room they had already started the event by setting the mood with some music that was empowering to the culture. Everyone had the chance to meet new people and had the chance to socialize. They had even surprised us with some food and they were even so considerate to have a vegan option. They welcomed us with a warm embrace and made us feel comfortable. After a few minutes had passed we were starting to settle down so the speakers that were part of the club were able to introduce themselves. There were about 12 group members that attended and two guest speakers. They gave a chance to all of the people that attended to give a formal introduction about themselves.
Overall I would say that there were about forty-five people who were in the room. The purpose of this event was to show us the controversy and relevance of the “N” word. It was supposed to make us think what was the reason behind the word for anyone to have to use it anymore. We had to see all the valid arguments so we could talk about our own opinions and feelings towards the word. Since the introduction of the event, they had us use kahoot and anonymously answer some questions about the word. The aspect of that room was a learning and respectful environment because we all knew everyone had different opinions about the subject. We all had to go in there with open minds and benefit from hearing all the different perspectives so we could be able to make up our minds on where we stand with the word.
Professor Amina Abdula Aumar was a guest speaker at the event. She immediately received everyone’s attention the moment she put a scene from Pulp Fiction 1994: “There’s a dead n*** (with the horrible er at the end) in my storage.” I believe this was one main key in the discussion because the scene was no longer than four minutes but the actor and director Quentin Tarantino who plays as Jimmie Dimmick controversy says the “N” word multiple times. But this isn’t the only film that this director has used to say the “N” word for example “The Hateful Eight”, “Jango” and many more films. She brings up in the discussion if he uses these films as an excuse to be racist but just covers it up by saying that he had to say it because it was in the “script”. She was trying to make us break down the scene and use constructive writing, it helped because everyone had something to say but this young man named Shaquan who stated “there’s a difference between racist writing and writing racism” I really thought that was powerful. He came to the defense of Quentin Tarantino saying that you have to keep in mind that Tarantino always writes in the area of writing racism and I think Jaquan is correct.
The second key point was when the second guest speaker Donald Beeker spoke. He is a teacher, author, and alumni of California State University of Los Angeles. He was against people saying the “N” word because to him even though the young African Americans reclaimed the word to describe as someone you are cool with or homie but to him it means ignorant. His book called the N*gg*: The Black Curse is a book that simply states a lot of offensive things that he believes the “N” word holds value for. A lot of people who said the word wasn’t offense made him get infuriated because he had made up his mind about the word and out of the discussions this is the part I disagree with because even though he made some good points I felt like he went there with a closed mind unlike me who heard what he had to say and try to see his point of view. My point of view is that I think it’s amazing that you can take a word that was once very hurtful and demeaning to your people and make your own. They showed the world how wrong they were. They reclaimed the “N” word and made it into an endearing word and I think that’s powerful.
In conclusion, this event was so helpful to me because it brought to my attention the different perspective of how people see the “N” word. It inspires me to be more open-minded and sensitive to issues because you never know what someone is going through or the past experience with a certain issue. I loved that the discussion was so lively and everyone had a chance to participate and express their opinions freely. I feel like I left the event knowing so much more than before especially “the difference between racist writing and writing racism.” The part where professor Amina Abdula plays the Pulp Fiction scene reminds me of the time we spend in class when we critically analyze the videos you play at the beginning of the class and I really liked that I went to the event ready.