Can a 10-year-old Beat Down the “N” Word?

Being a man of a certain age, I have a long history with the “N” word. I have heard it used in every way imaginable. That would be as a derogatory, ugly reference to my race (by wither black or white people), as a term of endearment (mostly but not exclusively by black people), and as a throwaway utterance (I didn’t mean nothin’ by it).

It’s always made me wince, no matter what the context, because I know its history.

That means no matter how rappers tried to rationalize their use of the “N” word, it rang hollow for me. Even gifted hip hop artists seem to just throw it into their lyrics as a means of gaining “street credibility”.

Now, all this having been said, it seems to me that use of the “N” word is starting to decline, at least among black people. Maybe it’s the election of President Barack Obama, or maybe linguistic fashion is changing, but I don’t hear it quite as much in ordinary conversation among young black people.

Some might argue that, as a black man of a certain age, I just don’t hear as much conversation among young black folks as I used to?

It’s possible that my perception is wrong, and that groups like Ban the “N” Word have had no impact at all.


However, a friend sent me one of those Funspace videos on Facebook the other day. Normally, I play about 10 seconds of it and then move on, but this one was different. It’s really only after the first 10 seconds that it gets interesting.

It’s a young man named Johnathan McCoy, winner of an oratorical contest at Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple, and his words about moving the “N” word from the vocabulary of black America might just have an impact.

So, instead of continuing with this rant, I give you  10-year-old Johnathan McCoy, whose voice hasn’t even changed yet, dispensing wisdom that should command all our attention.

Many thanks to my old friend Curtis Waller for sending this to me on Facebook.

But bottom line, you tell me. Can the words of this child make people think before they use the “N” word?


3 Comments Add yours

  1. yoy50 says:

    oh my… you have to stop by my blog too! i was just about to log off for the day but decided to check my stats! you know… wanted to make sure i’m talking to the air only. (smile) loving your post here! we may have a few things in common. you support me and i’ll support you. No to the “N” word, no ignorance and NO TOLORANCE! i have to head out now, but i sure hope you’ll stop by and check the blog out. i’d like to add yours to my blogroll. looking forward to hearing from you and your feed back on what we write about! i also like the set up of your blog– maybe you can help me figure out how to do all the very ‘neat’ things i’m seeing here. thank you for posting little Mr. McCoy’s youtube also! he is SO articulate and exact– it has restored my hope for the younger generation! I have to post this as well but I will certainly credit your site for this lead! “Wow and thank you” is all I can say…keep on doing your thing. with love and peace,

    Why O’ Why (or PEACE, man!

  2. frigginloon says:

    Great post, power to Jonathon and his cause. And here I was losing faith in the new generation. From small things big things grow!

  3. This kid is truly amazing however, it is a low down shame that a ten year old kid has more common sense than most grown ass adults. For more on Black America and the N-word check out:

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