'N-word' summit held in Whitehaven

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A forum in Whitehaven offered people an opportunity to join in on a discussion about a word many people recognize as a racial slur; the N-word.

It was a room filled with people wanting to discuss a very sensitive word with a harsh racial background.

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“We give words their definition and so therefore you’re going to call me that. If you call me a cow am I going to get offended? No, because I am not a cow,” Ekundayo Bandele said.

Bandele was on a panel with several others who discussed the origin and experience with the word.

Many people said they are against using the word because of what it was used for.

“They use that word and they call the children the N-word then that is perpetrating. It’s a culture thing right there that needs to stop even in our community,” Dr. Carnita Atwater said.

Rev. Earle Fisher said the N-word has taken on new meaning from its original European origin.

“I think sometimes we do end up pontificating over abstract and not affirming people’s concrete lived experiences trying to figure out how to utilize experiences to speak about who we are,” Fisher said.

Fisher said words have power especially when its coming from certain people and arenas.

Fisher’s message to students who attended was to derive their own meaning behind cultural words.

“They do have to capacity and ability to define words for themselves even if I would disagree with the definition,” Fisher said.

Several of the panelist said they hope to continue this discussion and bring to other libraries or schools around the city.