Tuesday, April 08, 2008


The "N" Word

In this modern day world
We seem to consume
The "N" word of hate
The slave word for doom

This word has been drenched

In red from our blood
It enslaved us like swine
Chain dragged through the mud

How fast we forget
Those lynch mobs and scars
The burnings and beatings
Those hot branding bars

Our freedom was taken
Our humanity stole
We were just that "N" word
No body no soul

Our women were raped
Some men were castrated
Black children were sold
Our race was degraded

With the crack of a whip
This word was yelled out
With each break in our necks
The rope showed no doubt

We were hunted like prey
Then put on the block
We were branded as slaves
With a chain brace and lock

This "N" word was use
To take guilt out of blame
Because it made us inhuman
To be killed with no shame

Yet after all of those years
Of that suffering pain
The use of this word
Has weaken our brain

We throw it around
Like a word with no past
But history lives on
From the shadow it cast

It's now part of our language
In every sentence we say
It shows off our ignorance
In a sorry sad way

There's no other culture
And no other race
That would embrace such a slur
Or welcome disgrace

Yet we as Black people
Have done so for years
Our dignity lost
Without feelings or tears

It's part of the reason
We will never excel
Or out-live our slums
And Ghetto-ish hell

I read this with my kids today. I can't even describe the conversation we had.
None of my kids use the word in my classroom, but many do in the yard and the street, and it is still very much a part of their culture.
"There's a lot of blood behind that word," said Yahkemp at the end.
"I'm gonna tell people not to say it anymore," said Chris.
"Yeah, me too," added Jose.
Knowledge is power.


M-Dawg said...

Wow - great lesson to teach the kids.

We have the same problem at my school with the "N" word.

We have a 50% hispanic population at my high school and they use it all the time to address each other. They don't understand the history behind the word since they hear it in music videos and on the street.

J said...

thank you so much for sharing this. I hear it in the hallway and outside all the time. I would love to take this poem to my students to teach them not to use it anymore.

ms. v. said...


I have a question to ask you that I don't want to put on the blog. Can you leave me a comment on my blog so that I have your email address? I know this is very mysterious-sounding but it's really just a quick thing that shouldn't be public.

thanks & hope to hear from you (I would post my email address but then I'll get tons of spam, that's why I need you to leave a comment on my blog, your email address won't show up in public but I'll have it).

ms. frizzle (http://msfrizzle.wordpress.com)

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