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If you missed my show last night you missed a good one.

We had what I believe was the best conversation so far, on television, about the N-Word.

This time the conversation was sparked by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members at the University of Oklahoma using it in a racist chant, and the fraternity’s house mother repeating the word several times while singing rapper Trinidad James’ song, “All Gold Everything.”

Lemon- “I’m asking you because initially people said that you defended her.”

James- “I didn’t.  I didn’t defend it.  It’s just in general I’m way more focused on those students on the bus.  That’s what I’m focused on.

Lemon- “That’s way more egregious.”

James- “That hurts.  That hurts.”

So, should a little old white lady, or anyone for that matter, be allowed to use the word if they’re singing the song?

James- “Well Don what I want to ask the world, and what I want to ask all the rappers who have been doing this forever is in general when you go to a show and performing your songs and you’re sold out, like shouts out to Big Sean, he just sold a great album, you got Kendrick Lamar, his album just dropped last night, it’s great.  The first opening line on Kendrick Lamar’s album is ‘Every nigga’s a star.’  That’s the first thing.”

Lemon- “Or Niggers in Paris.”

James- “Some of the biggest songs ever use it.  So when you go do your show and you’re performing, I’ve never heard, me personally I’ve never heard an artist stop the show and say, ‘you guys can’t use this word. So just in general to get to the nitty gritty of the bottom of this, if we have a problem with the word and it’s going to continue to cause things we should eliminate the word, period. Because if we’re going to use the word then people are going to use the word.”

My guest, Ben Ferguson, who happens to be white thinks that everyone should stop using the word.

But Marc Lamont Hill, who by the way is black, says certain people should be able to use it.

“What I’m saying is the N-Word isn’t divisive.  White supremacy is divisive. Slavery was divisive. That’s the problem and maybe just maybe it’s not white people’s position to tell black people what to say.  I might see Trinidad James on the street and call him my nigga.  Why? Because he is my nigga.  The difference between Trinidad James and you is that Trinidad James has to deal with the same oppressive situations, he’s born into a world where anti-black racism prevails, he lives in a world where police might shoot him on the street no matter how much money he has.  We share a collective condition known as nigga. White people don’t.  I’m not saying it should be illegal for white people to use it.  Y’all shouldn’t want to use it given everything that’s happened after 400 years of exploitation and institutional racism.”

Yes he was preaching, but is he preaching to the converted?

Are the people who really need to hear that message, deeply, willing or big enough to hear what he’s actually saying?

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Don Lemon On The N-Word: Fair Or Foul? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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