COLUMN: A learning experience for everyone

Kali Price

The day Aman Ali’s controversial column about the n-word ran in the Daily Kent Stater, I walked into the Stater office after class into a lively debate about what he said.

I sat down and listened for a minute, but the conversation got too loud.

So, I stood up in the middle of everyone and said, “All of you white people, shut up!”

It worked for a minute, but the funny part about that is, I’m only half black.

The aftermath of the column wasn’t pleasant for anyone, even me, and I’m sure it wasn’t the way that anyone on the staff wanted to end the last week of the semester.

Having my mom save Plain Dealer columnist Sam Fulwood’s column about the issue was the icing on the cake.

I may only be the sports editor, but I still had to hear comments from everyone I know, including my relatives and friends from other schools.

I told everyone that mentioned it to me to not change their view of the whole paper because of one column.

And I hope no one did.

At one point, I was embarrassed to have my name in a paper that would run a column that offended so many people, but I realized working for a student-run newspaper is more of a learning experience than anything.

Trust me, we all learned from it.

While the debate that occurred after the column has died down, the message still remains the same. Although everyone neglected to see the column’s meaning, the point is the n-word is still offensive.

It still offends me, even though the only racial slur that I’ve ever been called is an “Oreo.” It happened at school when I was 12 years old, and I had wait until the end of the day to ask my mom what it meant.

I grew up in a suburb outside of Cleveland, and I went to Catholic school, so the only racial stereotypes I ever heard were in movies that I wasn’t supposed to be watching.

I was raised knowing they were wrong, but I also thought no one said those words anymore.

When I was younger, I listened to stories from my dad, who is African-American, about all the racial slurs he was called growing up.

It seems to me most slurs have been phased out of our culture.

So why hasn’t the n-word, the oldest and most offensive racial slur in the United States, been lost along with the rest of them?

One of the biggest reasons I can think of is music.

I don’t understand why we worked so hard for civil rights, only to keep ourselves down by using such a word in songs that are played constantly on the radio and on TV.

To most people’s understanding, because Kanye West and Snoop Dogg say it, it must be OK to say.

Most of my friends ask me why it’s OK for African-Americans to say it. People say it’s OK for African-Americans to say because it’s “our” word.

But by calling our friends that or putting it into our music, we’re just making it seem OK for anyone to say it.

It’s not OK for anyone to say it. It never has been, and it never should be.

Kali Price is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].