stockholm syndrome

I’m not easily affected by ignorance outside of me. I’ve learned that I can only affect the world around me by being the “change I want to see.” I try not to get caught up in debates that have become trivial over time and argument, such as with the casual use of the N-word.

If “random black person” wants to flaunt his/her ignorance and/or disrespect of their own culture and American history, so be it. It’s not my business. BUT when my 11-year old develops an affinity towards hip hop, it’s only a matter of time before I have to engage in the… N-word talk.

For clarity’s sake, the N-word is not referring to North, Nitrogen, or Nadine. The N-word refers to the denigrating word, nigger, nigga, niglet, or any variant of such. The word is most commonly used in a hip hop culture where a majority of the consumers are white. And because of the influence that music has on pop culture, it is also just as common to hear the word in casual language among both young and old, educated and non, and black and (gasp)… white.

Historically, the N-word has been used in a pejorative context referring to black people or people of darker hued skin. It played a starring role in the raping, lynching, emasculation, misogamy, and discrimination of a culture of people. It was spit in the face. It was fire hose to the body. It is a bitter word that carries with it the memory of hate and an action that held minorities captive for far too long. So how is it that people of any origin think that they can speak the word with any expression of favor or affinity?

It reminds me of another piece of history that was the summer of 1973 when three women and one man were taken hostage during a botched robbery at one of the largest banks in Stockholm, Sweden. They were held captive for six days and surprisingly, resisted attempts at their rescue. Even stranger, they refused to testify against their two captors, raised money for their legal defense, and one of the hostages allegedly became engaged to one of her jailed captors. This class of behavior was later coined as “Stockholm Syndrome.”

While hypertension and AIDS are aggressive protagonists in our communities, this “Stockholm Syndrome” is playing a more subtle role of destruction from the inside-out. I believe that there is a great power in words and that we eventually become who we say we are. I am not an N-word nor are my sons. It is imperative that they know that. We need to be more aware of what our children and we take in and reflect.

And I won’t delve into the double standard of how one group can say the N-word while another group (white) is forbidden to even mumble it. That makes NO sense. Should the word be banned? No. It is a part of American history – the same history that “random black person” seems to be ignorant of.

If you know where you came from, you will walk with a greater sense of pride of who are you and what you will be. “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” Probably not.

Mahatma Gandhi – “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Published by kenn

author. developer. illustrator. Renaissance man.

7 thoughts on “stockholm syndrome”

  1. Tomasino says:

    I’m with you Kenn. Whether it’s the N-word, or the lesbian community trying to ameliorate the C-word, it’s not an act of group empowerment. It confuses pejorative boundaries, demonstrates historical ignorance, and invites misuse and greater distancing between social, cultural, or ethnic groups.

    I don’t use the word because it is an insult. When I hear others use it, even those trying to “reclaim” it, I hear an insult. Some people revel in their position as oppressed, or repressed, and find a great comfort in the blanket of anger that comes with it. I respect those others who, like the Irish, came from a long history of bigotry and oppression in this country and worked themselves free of it, not through refocusing on the anger and past slights, but rather by not letting the past tie them down.

    I’ve always known you, sir, to be one of these latter, who is more interested in being a friend than a victim, more interested in sharing the beauty of your culture than putting up barriers to it, and more interested in your children growing up righteous than entitled.

    Thanks for this post. It was a great one.

  2. kenn says:

    Thanks, Brother. When I finished writing this entry, I thought to myself, “this is a Tomasino-length post.” You always inspire in one way or another.

    I wrote a sarcastic, rap parody piece a long time ago and instead of using the N-word, I used a bunch of other ridiculous racial slurs to drive home the point. I don’t think anyone ever got my point from that piece LOL Here it is.

  3. tiff says:

    This is a Tomasino length post. Lol.
    Wow, such an impassioned and poignant post, but with your keen mind, one would expect nothing less. More please. 🙂

    You are so right though so much of what ills the black community, not to
    discount the effect of lasting, systemic racism, stems from the chained minds of a negative self-image. And so wonderful of you to do battle with the prevailing culture for the minds of your sons.

    I also love, love the picture, very cool.

  4. crayolacrayons says:

    sidenote- i think our friendship can be mended if and only if you lock your hair again, oh how i miss them so.
    back to your regularly scheduled program

  5. Max Reddick says:

    I never thought of the use of the “n-word” in connection with the Stockholm Syndrome, but that is a rather apt analogy. When black folk use the “n-word”, they are only revisiting the scene of the original degradation. But the use of the “n-word” seems to be running rampant these days.

    I have been blessed in that I do not have to have the “n-word” talk with my two children; they seem to despise the word. But in dealing with ignorance and unexplainable foolishness, they have resorting to using “coon” and “spook” which I had to explain to them were just as bad.

  6. Tradina Truth-Seeker says:

    Great article, very inspirational, I learned a new concept …

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