When Larry Wilmore said the N-word to President Obama, I felt black pride | Rebecca Carroll

At the White House Correspondents Dinner, Wilmore called Obama the N-word. I dont allow it in my home, but I know it has its place in black culture

Even though I have never liked the sound of the N-word, and have only ever personally experienced it in a negative context, I could not have been more moved by Larry Wilmores use of the word in his closing remarks as host of the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night.

Wilmore said to Barack Obama: Yo Barry, you did it, my n—a, pounding his chest and going in for the brother-love embrace. Doing so, he broke comedic character to tell the president, to a large extent on behalf of black America, how meaningful it has been for us to have seen him in office for the past eight years. Whether viewers agree or disagree with his policies, as Wilmore noted earlier in his bit I agree with the policy that hes black the embrace represented a moment filled with the vulnerability, truth and power of two black men seeing each other in an America that devalues, profiles, incarcerates and kills them at a startling rate.

I was introduced to the N-word long before I had any real understanding of its association with blackness and black culture. Certainly, when I first heard it from the mouth of a white playground bully in the fourth or fifth grade, I knew it was not meant as a term of endearment. But as a black child adopted into a white family, I had never heard the word and its meaning discussed. It wasnt until high school, after Id read James Baldwin and other black writers, interacted with some black kids during summers out of town and listened to hip-hop that I came to realize that it was a word not merely complicated, but intensely fraught. The level of fraughtness is entirely reliant upon who says it and to whom.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/02/larry-wilmore-n-word-i-felt-black-pride

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