I told my writers’ group I was thinking about blogging about this, and they warned me that this word is still so emotionally charged, people would be upset just knowing I say it in my head. I’ll be honest, their warnings took me by surprise.
I adopt voices and phrases from things I read and hear. When I was in New Orleans for a few days, I came home and said, “My pack” with extra long vowels, just because I’d been hearing that way of speaking for a few days. Even when I read books written by British writers, the voice in my head mimics their rhythm and phrasing.
I’ve heard this phrase mostly on TV shows like “The Wire” and “The Chris Rock Show.” I get that this is only acceptable for one African-American to say to another African-American. But is it really offensive for me to say it to myself? Does saying it mean subconsciously I support racial discrimination and oppression? I don’t think so.
Still, it indicates to me that I’m not being sensitive enough about the discrimination that millions of African-Americans face. This post was originally supposed to be about trying not to be so hard on myself, and instead it’s reminded me to be “impeccable with my word,” even in my thoughts.
Even though I’m aware that some people may still post hateful comments, I’ve made a commitment to be authentic and honest on my blog. Writing this stuff is painful, and I’m not proud of myself for my many sheltered, ignorant thoughts, but I can’t let them go without first becoming aware and being accountable for them.