My co-worker, J____ was having her 23rd birthday at Jimmy’s house, and everyone from work was invited. I came and had a great time. We ate grilled salmon, had a few beers. After things got boring, we then went to the club and generally had a ball. We then returned to his house, and were sitting around the table in Jimmy’s kitchen. All of a sudden, Jimmy’s roommate did something that annoyed him, and there in his kitchen, surrounded by his co-workers, he turns to his roommate and says” Why did you do that? You are such a fucking Nigger!” Immediately, uproar ensued. Everyone began shouting at the same time. In one fell swoop, Jimmy had ruined the night.
One of my co-workers, D____, actually said that he wanted to punch Jimmy in the face. He has a brother and sister that are half black. J_____ was shouting, and on the verge of tears.
I very calmly told Jimmy that I objected to his use of the N word. The simple fact that he would use that word, even if not directed at me, or an African American (his room mate was white) was unacceptable. So many people have died and been hurt through the use of that word, that I believe we should stop using it out of respect for all of those people who have been hurt by that culture of hate. He replied that he was raised in a racist household, where that word was used all the time. I refused to accept that excuse, and told him that people who think that way and use that type of speech are actually viewed as the lowest of the low. He apologized, and, in order to move on, I told him that I accepted his apology.
If only it had ended there. After that situation calmed down, we all went into the garage, and continued to hang out. Out of nowhere, Jimmy and one of my other co-workers, B___, began to fight. Yes, actually brawl, there in front of everyone. In an effort to separate myself from the drama, I went in side, but the sounds of a struggle continued. At that point, I decided to go home, so I go through the garage to get to my car, and see my J__ punching Jimmy in the face repeatedly. I simply waved good bye to everyone and me and B____ left. As I was driving, however, I realized that I would not be able to make it home in my alcohol sodden condition, so I pulled over and B___ gave me a ride home.
Yet the drama continued. Although I had left, Jimmy continued. After scattering the final ashes of everyone’s enjoyment, Jimmy proceeded to kick everyone out of his house. He then called all of the C level executives in A___I______, and cursed them out via phone! at 3 am!! He also contacted all of the new hires and told them that our company was a scam! Needless to say, he is no longer with the company, but he went out in a blaze of glory.
It was shocking to me that at one point in time, one such as myself (attractive, well spoken, educated) might have been owned by one such as Jimmy (uneducated, slovenly, criminal). 50 years ago, I would have had to duck my head and ignore his behavior, and possibly even been forced to laugh along. In 2009, I didn’t need to respond. The negative response of my co-workers was even more intense than my reply.
I write this blog in the hope that those of us, African Americans included, who still use this type of language, will realize the way that they look to the majority of the world. We are all family now. Most black people I know have white relatives, and most white people I know have black relative too. When you hold those types of beliefs, and use those types of languages, you are viewed by the world as a N_______ yourself: ignorant, uneducated, and lazy. If you want to keep the same company as felons like Jimmy, continue on