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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


On the Bandwagon

In response to "Racial Outcry Over the Slur That Wasn't," Feb. 10:


I read with mixed feelings the article that ran in your newspaper's "View from America" column, recopied from the Baltimore Sun. I don't know what you intended to gain from such one-sided argumentative prose in favor of the so-called white guy who used the word "niggardly" in front of his junior colleagues who happened to be black.

After reading the article I had a feeling that it could only have been written by someone whose deep pedigree goes back to the notorious KKK group of Mississippi in the '60s. The article in its most biased form failed to mention the circumstances under which the white guy with his superlative knowledge of the English language used this particular term, when thousands of synonyms exist. The general tone was that the poor, semi-illiterate blacks are to be held responsible.

The author may not know that in conversational tone the words "niggardly" and "niggerly" sound almost the same to sensitized ears. African-Americans have heard so much of the N-word that they have now developed a Pavlovian automatic reflex reaction to anything that sounds similar. The author may not know the adage that says that old women feel embarrassed when dry bones are mentioned in proverbs. This explains the reaction of the blacks when they heard the N-word, not in the ghetto regions of New York, but in the mayoral office in Washington. You will agree that this is somewhat out of context with the general idea of political correctness, which Americans, I'm made to understand, are so very proud of.

From the tone of my letter, you may rightly have inferred that I'm a black. I was born in Nigeria, the most populous indigenous black nation in the world. I grew up among slogans like "black is beautiful," so you may understand how I feel when Russian neo-Nazis use all manner of N-words against us, no matter how softly they are used. Among other names, Russians call blacks "chocolate" or even use trademark names like Snickers, Mars, etc. One day, at the bus stop, some kids shouted "Snickers, we want Snickers" at myself and some friends. Having been sensitized to the derogatory usage, we reacted accordingly and a scandal involving several embassies ensued. I cite this example to show how American blacks, after centuries of being abused, humiliated and discriminated against have developed what can be called a justifiable hyper-reflexive reaction to the N-word.

Another thing that puzzled me in the article was that there appeared to be nobody in support of the dismissal of the super eloquent white employee. I know that this was not the case, and wonder why The Moscow Times made no mention of this. Maybe recopying the piece was just a bandwagon effect. I hope not, because it is better to be just and fair to all concerned.

Dr. Kriss Kenneth,