The controversial use of the N-word continues to garner publicity for Quentin Tarantino's film "Django Unchained." Comedian Katt Williams and film moguel Spike Lee have been very vocal in their disparagment of the film, and viewers white and black have admitted to being a little surprised at how often the word was used in the popular film. A new take on the argument occurred recently when actor Samuel L. Jackson put Jake Hamilton, the emmy award winning host of Jakes Takes on the hot seat with his refusal during an interview to answer any more questions until the host, said the N-word www.popwatch.ew.com/2013/01/02/samuel-l-jackson-django. To his credit, Hamilton refused to break network etiquette by saying a word he was clearly uncomfortable with www.upi.com/blog/2013/01/02/samuel-l-jackson-tries-to-bully-reporter, but the confrontation again shows the power of words and makes you wonder as Shakespeare did "what's in a name?"
Black people have always had a problem with the n-word especially when uttered by a white man. The word has been given a power over the psyche of African Americans that it really doesn't deserve. Civil rights leaders went through great lengths years ago to bury the n-word, only to have it rear its ugly head in the music and conversation of the generations that did not have to endure the racism that was so prevalent in this country during the early days of the twentieth century. The word doesn't seem to carry the same weight for them that it does for someone who actually had to drink water from a colored water fountain, or who had to hold his water because there was no colored restroom available for him to relieve himself.
You can't white wash history and pretend the name never existed. Tarantino's film may try to give a different picture of slavery, but no picture of slavery is adequate without the use of the n-word. It was a hateful word used indiscriminately and with malice towards anyone with black blood in his or her veins. The word was used to injure and control, but it was never able to destroy the spirit of those who were determined to overcome and make it in this world. Samuel L. Jackson may have seemed to some a bully when he dared Hamilton to say the n-word, but to others he was just a black man proving that a strong man by any name "would still smell as sweet."