Re: “We bare some of blame for ‘nigger,'” 2/11
I am a former UM student from the ’60s era. I read The Hurricane online and read this article. I have a couple of comments that I’d like to share with you.
When I went to UM, we had a healthy black population on campus owing to large federal grants and the civil rights movement of the ’60s and matching funds. Ray Bellamy was UM’s first black football player and for that matter, the first to integrate any southern University from Texas to the the Atlantic Ocean, including FSU and UF.
The number of hate mails and death threats Ray received that began with that horrible word in all its forms (endearing or not) is untallyable. He was the Jackie Robinson of Southern College Sports. He also served a term as elected President of Student Government at UM. No one to this day uses that term with him and in no form is it endearing to him. As a friend of his I can attest to that.
This is no assault on Vontilla Steven, but just another opportunity to pass on the recent history of why that word is so attrocious. I used to watch Ray suffer with the racism when he walked around campus or didn’t get the recognition he deserved, plus the bags of hate mail that arrived on a timely basis.
I also recall Richard Pryor discussing how when he went to Africa, there were no “niggas” there, and that he would never use that expression again-and never did. It has lasted with me to this moment since I heard it on his movie Live In Concert in the ’70s.
As you might guess, I am 54 years old and far from a fuddy duddy, but nevertheless, I have thought it was long overdue for black folk, including my own wife, a UM grad , to quit using the expression. I think its time. I am a Jew and we would never think of using kike , yid or shinny as an endearing term.
Thanks for your article.
Harmon Brody, alum