5 Questions I Want to See Discussed en Masse

August 21, 2021 — Jt Spratley

There are five conversations I'd like to have with experts (and anyone passionate about the subject), preferably with facts, research, and statistics. Prepare for opinions about controversial topics.


Why Do Blacks Still Say "Nigger" (and variations) So Much?

I have blogs going deeper into issues in black culture and black unity. I even have an old Facebook poll with controversial questions related to the black community.

Facebook poll about black cultural norms

But I've yet to hear someone give legitimate reason for calling themselves, other blacks, and even people of other ethnicities a "nigga." I still believe the two most common reasons are:

  1. It is an attempt to remove the "sting" from when non-blacks use the term to degrade africans and black americans
  2. Black entertainers, particularly rappers boasting the street scene with an industry push

I have no poll data to back that up. Only the many conversations I've had with others about the topic. If you find any, let me know.

I don't think anything will be done about the second point for years. Although, I'd love another era where consistently conscious artists like Erykah Badu, Common, and Nas are the norm on mainstream media. Here are a few examples for what I mean:

  • Erykah Badu - "On & On"
  • Common - "I Used to Love H.E.R."
  • Nas - "I Can"
  • DJ Premier, Rakim, Nas & KRS-One - "Classic"

Most people aware of black culture and history understand the significance, the gravity behind the world "nigga." They understand the social taboo of saying that word if you're not black or "sanctioned" (yes, that is somehow a thing) to use it by ebony loved ones. I believe black culture would benefit greatly from minimizing usage of racial slurs against blacks to instances where necessary to inject that social "sting." For example, during motivational speeches about overcoming discrimination and adding context when discussing U.S. slavery.

This simple change would mean an evolution in black unity and respect. As we address others more respectfully, we will subconsciously think more of others and ourselves as a people and community. I am not a "nigga." I am a man. A black man, yes, but a man.

This ripple effect would affect the female and gay empowerment movements which take pages from pro-black movements. We don't need "bad bitches." We need woman with positive, feminine energy. If I am a king, I don't want a jester but a queen. Non-straight people referring to themselves as "queer" or "faggot" entices egocentric ass-hats to address you as inferior. And let me be clear: there's a difference between:

  • A dom[inate] you trust to respect your previously discussed boundaries in the "Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, and Sadism & Masochism" (BDSM) community (e.g. The Secretary movie)
  • And a narcissistic psychopath attempting to isolate you into an abusive relationship (e.g. Fifty Shades of Shit)

I say be gay or trans, maybe specify your preferred pronouns if you feel it's necessary, and call it a day. I still struggle with the "genderqueer" term but that's a different conversation.

I think I've said plenty on that for now. Below is a podcast I recorded during college discussing blacks and the hip-hop community.

Somewhat related, Netflix released their 13TH film on YouTube for free viewing. Great commentary about how slavery has evolved right under our noses through the decades.

Is Being Gay/Trans a Mental Illness?

Here are the most popular answers I've heard to this one.

Yes! It's a chemical imbalance in the brain.

It is the result of sexual trauma as a child.

Of course, it is against [the Christian] God's plan.

No, God made me this way for a reason.

Hell no! I was born this way (in Lady GaGa's voice).

It is the result of some being brave enough to explore their sexuality.

I believe molestation and exploring sexual desires are the best answers. A touchy topic made downright cringe, right? Obviously, you should go asking your gay co-worker or classmate "were you raped as child?" Also obviously, I'm sure there are videos of sub-par humans doing just that. Hateful people need to find ways to put down others to maintain toxic beliefs of self.

I and many others I've known can trace the open

I once heard about a study with autopsies on gay people concluding a high number of certain chemicals compared to the average heterosexual counterpart. I consider this insufficient for proving that gays are born that way. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), brain trauma, from contact sports, fighting, etc. affect brain matter during your life. Is there a way to effectively compare one's brain matter after death to during adolescence or before someone decided they were not straight?

If your argument against homosexuality is "it's against God's way," then what does that mean for your religion? If he has a plan and is he all-knowing, does that mean being gay is by His design? Or does it mean we're acting on our free will and He is planning around it? Those sentences make my head hurt, but I'm sure some religious zealot is ready to reprimand me with a pitchfork.

I want to close this section with two other questions. Regardless of whether homosexuality is believed/proven to be a mental illness, is being gay a fair reason to not respect someone? If you believe someone to be a mentally ill, isn't the correct course of action be to do your best to offer kindness and patience, not ridicule?

Transgender, Transsexual, or just "Trans"

Like much of what I wrote above, I was too lazy to do an internet search to better understand this. GLAAD states that "transgender," or simply "trans," is most appropriate. Since, I've only recently learned about GLAAD's existence, but the link backs everything I believed before looking it up, this is probably something trans folks would care to debate more than anyone else. I stick with "trans."

By the way, with all the progression for trans women (because we rarely talk about trans men), why does no one say anything about porn sites using the derogative "shemale" keyword for categorization and search engine optimization (SEO)?

Why Don't We Value Our Time More?

Time management has a direct effect on our lives. We shouldn't need to see death before learning to value our time more. I have a few ideas as to where this question could go.

Many adults get overwhelmed with the day-to-day necessities. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to allow employees to work from home. A lot of these remote workers struggle from employers increasing workload with the argument that you have more time since you don't need to drive to and from the workplace. It's unfortunate to see managers pushing to gain a minimal boost in "productivity" at the expense of a healthy work-life balance. But that bottom line, though. Oh, and of course the "yes" people.

American culture is big on information overload and the "I want it now" mentality. We want everything right now, all of the new things. Much consumerism. We're taught that multitasking is essential but often combine the wrong types of tasks or goals. Driving while on the phone with a headset? Eh. Texting while driving? Yikes!

Being better at prioritizing tasks would mitigate issues with spreading focus too thin. I remember many college classmates constantly struggling to juggle projects, leading to half-assed work all done within four days of the deadline. Team projects were much easier to manage once I learned about Taiga.io and other kanban project management apps.

Were you regularly encouraged and supported to keep doing that one thing everyone knew you loved throughout your childhood? If not, that's not simply a fault by your parents. It's attributed to everything I said above. Meshing the two major points above, we all benefit from maintaining a healthy balance between that one thing we're passionate about and everything else. That requires:

  1. Knowing what that passion is
  2. Prioritization and time management skills
  3. Some type of support and outlet
  4. Focus

Why Can't People Respect Other Religious Beliefs?

I can't count how many times I've told a christian I don't believe in christianity and they immediately got defensive, as if their beliefs have been challenged. Usually, I quickly respond with something like:

"Just because I don't believe in God doesn't mean I have an issue with you believing in it."

It doesn't always work. If I mention following astrology, I've likely set myself up to receive a personal attack. Unfortunate but it does make sense if the christian bible calls it witchcraft. The two defensive remarks towards horoscopes I remember most vividly (and who said it):

"No, I don't believe in that mess."
"Astrology isn't real."

There was no outcry either time. Imagine if an atheist said that about the christian faith. The boldest response I remember answer telling someone I don't believe in God:

"You will."

I understand christians are encouraged to spend more time with others that share their beliefs than those that oppose it. However, same with dealing with LGBT members and supporters, disagreeing on spiritual beliefs isn't justification to disrespect someone. Like sexuality, political affiliation, and financial status, you can't look at everyone and know their religious preference nor can you always choose to deal with someone of a specific status. So why fret over something that on its own tells you little about someone as a person?

A christian unable to coexist? Sounds very un-christian to me, more hypocritical.

Tags: african, lgbt, productivity, spirituality