On the heels of the Martin Luther King holiday and the beginning of Black History month, I find it ironic that so many grammy nominees feel compelled to populate their lyrics with the “n word” . Somewhere I missed the New Miss Manner’s edition that this offensive word is now accepted vernacular, a synonym for brother, buddy or any another term of endearment, and to insult to injury, these “artists” feel the need to add a hefty helping of expletives.
However, this lowered standard of decency has its limits, acceptable and even lauded for the “top 40″ to utter every eight bars, [‘creative advisors’ insist it boosts radio play] but unacceptable for a teacher trying to talk to his students in their adopted slang, as Valley High School’s Paul Dawson learned. And rightly so; this is an unacceptable term from anyone’s, or any teacher’s, lips, with one exception; unless he is reading Mark Twain. How hypocritical that Jay Z, Li’l Wayne, M & M, Puff Daddy/diddy?, Jeezy, and scores of others with made up names to add ‘gangsta’ cred”, can shout it from the rafters, but Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer gets excised! One of the most prolific, classic works of literature gets as white washed as Tom’s picket fence.
Martin Luther King was a pupil and disciple of language and believed in its power to transform and overcome adversity. To think he died so that those that came after him could call one another “n_ _ _ a”, must have him spinning in his grave. The English language is rich, artful and with enough variety to paint any picture. If we measure the past 10 years by lyrical content and competence, it becomes apparent we have fallen many rungs off the evolutionary ladder. That pop culture continues to utilize its worst, most ignorant elements is reflection of its lack of judgement, taste, and/or intelligence. I know there are many parents that share this view, but we are so busy juggling work and family to take the time to push back and raise the bar to its rightful, higher place from the role models our kids look to who keep lowering it. Just because the FCC has abrogated its responsibility in enforcing decency, doesn’t give me, or you, an excuse to do the same. I’m fighting back, please join in.