By Herb Donaldson

December 2014


These last few weeks have been trying on the nerves, soul, and on the idea of what we assumed our present to be.  We are now reconsidering and possibly redoing the roadmap of our future.

Some things remain unresolved. Not long ago a man was found dead in his front yard. His killer has yet to be brought to justice.

As we contemplate racial, religious, politically correct vs incorrect, law enforcement, freedom of speech, and social media issues, a family mourns an all but forgotten loved one.

How did we fall captive to a fear so slick and smooth that we slid into confusion and accusation willingly and without notice?

Recently, I have seen people who I once considered friends posting some of the ugliest rants I’ve ever seen online. Statements that I never thought would fall from their mouths or fingertips, while implementing new millennium code words to describe America’s children, adults, her living, and her dead:  Thug. Animal. Ghetto scum. Savages.

A weighted cloud looms wide above this season. Its menacing presence has lingered for as long as anyone living today has been alive.

Why, now, is it so fresh and so new?

People still ask why certain Americans use the word n***er and why certain Americans can’t. No one possesses power over another’s tongue. People say whatever they want. We learn more about them, their beliefs, and moral character when they do.

I used to go to a church in Tallahassee with a highly diverse congregation. One Sunday our pastor referred to himself jokingly from the pulpit as a “Florida c****er”.

Even though he meant to use the term as a way of relieving tension within the congregation, I would never have thought to turn to my neighbor and call them that word – with love (!) – to their face.

Almost all groups suffer from the cumbersome absurdity of trying to accept another’s definition of who they are, and what they are supposed to be.  ‘Ugly’ words exist for practically every group, race, and gender under the sun. 

Eventually comes that moment when words used for so long to denigrate, are snatched from the oppressor and put to bloody use upside his head – by the oppressed.

Some, for whatever reason, need negative words to define others when they are, in fact, describing something about themselves.




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