KINGS Org. held its first event of the semester in the form of an open discussion about the use of the N-word on Wednesday.
KINGS Org. is a new mentor organization that has two main objectives: the retention of male African American students on predominately white college campuses, especially within the first two years of college, and to educate and inspire people, senior physical activities and fitness management major, and president of KINGS, Adam Leeper said.
Leeper said that the organization was looking for ways to establish KINGS Org. onto the Slippery Rock campus, and to preserve it in the upcoming years.
The discussion panel, held in Vincent 105 on Wednesday evening, opened up discussion about the use of the N-word in language and society. Prior to the discussion, there was a brief history about the origins of the word. Originally, the N-word was an African word, and the ancient African language did not have vowels. The word, originally “Ngr” and “Ntyr”, was used to describe a god, or refer to an individual held in high regard — it was originally meant to mean something good. When the Romans invaded Ethiopia, they were the first Europeans to see the word. The Romans spoke Latin, and over time they added vowels to the word. The Romans initially used the word as a descriptive word, but over time it picked up a negative connotation.
The main topic of the discussion centered on the question of who can use the N-word and who should refrain from using it. Some participants did not care about who used of the N-word, while others felt very strongly about it.
One student felt that the use of the word, no matter the situation, was inappropriate and disrespectful.
Malcolm Roberson, senior professional studies and physical activities major and vice president of KINGS said he felt like a king when the word was used, even if the person using the word was ignorant of the history behind it.
“If I don’t want you to say it, then I’m not going to say it around you,” Leeper said.
Another student said it all depends on how the word is used, the situation, and the relationship between the people using it.
“If someone has a problem with it, then they have a right to have a problem with it,” senior hospitality management and tourism major Dymond Scott said. “And they have the right to say it.”
White people are appropriating the culture, and are appropriating words and other cultural aspects in a way to try to make everything seem like its equal and okay when in reality, it’s not, a student said.
Rather than sit back and be uncomfortable in a situation when someone is using the word, educate them, tell them the history and the origin of the word, a student said.
Leeper said that the objective of the event was to educate people and open their minds and was in no way trying to bash anybody or put anyone down, the discussion panel was meant to start a channel of communication on this topic.
KINGS is also starting a media campaign called #Black87 through their Instagram,
Only about 13 percent of America’s black history is taught in schools, and through #Black87 KINGS hopes to open up a channel to tell and educate people about the other 87 percent of black history that is not commonly told, Leeper said.
“Nations don’t want to show the ugly side of their history,” Leeper said, “but now, with social media, we are able to learn and be educated on our history.”