IN THE MEANTIME, DONT CALL ME N-GGA (PART 1)

 

St Louis native Zekita has written Dont Call Me N!gga (new revised purple edition)

 a beautifully controversial children’s book that discusss and discourages the use of the “n-word”.  A book about this topic has never been written before for children and it is definitely a must read for all ages.  

Hood intelligence: if any, how much research did you do for this book, and on the word, Nigga?

Zekita : The most research I did was looking for the origin of the word. All else was experience and conviction. Do you know how long its been since I’ve even used the word or thought it? Since I was 19 years old and I’m 30 now.

H.I. : What Sparked the change?

zek2

Z.: One day, one event caused me to think about the words that I used and how they had an affect on who and what I was. This influence had absolutely nothing to do with my close friends or even my family, it was the teaching and influence of complete strangers.

H.I.: Now when I was young I thought my brain would be like an egg on a frying pan if I did drugs. I thought weed was the worst thing ever.  I was young and impressionable.  But as I got older the message was lost. What percentage of children   who agree not to say   nigga now will stick with it? Are there ways to reinforce the idea?

Z. That’s  a great question. I couldn’t say what percentage. But I can say that even though some may stray off the path, they are likely to return to it. As far as reinforcing the idea – for parents: those that are trying to dissuade the use of the N word – they could lead by example and always keep the floor open for conversation. Not just for that but for any hard topics. Another thing I think is for people like you, me, or whoever to always keep the issue in the forefront of our struggles especially in front of young people.         Not that it is the most important or pressing issue, but the very fact that it is an issue speaks to the damage of our collective psyche.

It is true that many will stray from the issue because of societal and cultural issues within music, movies, etc. being a heavy influence but I believe that once the seed is planted it is always there and has room to grow. If you thought weed would fry your brain once upon a time and tried it anyway. The notion that you had prior to trying it. Which was ‘it would fry your brain’ came back into your consciousness at some point. And you are no longer a weed head you dig?

H.I.: I dig

Zekita: let me add this -I think that by having more of us that young people can relate to combat the use of the word also is a reinforcement. Its not just a bunch of old marchers and prayers putting on a show. Not plantation politickin’zekitame

H.I.: Speaking of plantations…I’m of carribbean parentage and nigga wasn’t and isn’t something I heard too much in the house hold. Is nigga an American thing?

Zekita: not anymore. I would say from the knowledge that I have it began as an ‘american’ thing and has crossed borders in the name of ‘popularity’ and I guess being cool. Something crazy like that. I saw a picture online once of some stores in both Western Africa, and Japan I think, where the word nigger was somewhere in the name of the stores they sold hip hop gear I believe. ni(editors note: the store is called Niggers and is located in Lilongwe, Malawi)It began as an American epithet to degrade and humiliate and has somehow permeated the intelligence of  people who actually believe that it is ok to refer to yourself or even people who look like you as something humiliating. The year has changed but the humiliation suffered by my ancestors remains the same. They are part of the reason why I work so damn hard – my ancestors.

H.I.: I’m not sure if parts of the carribean progressed to calling themselves nigga. They are still prided upon being 100 percent negro. Speaking on Guyana in particular
 

 

Zekita: really? So you hear them calling themselves negro? still?
H.I.: I bought a baseball cap in Guyana that says it. It says “100 % negro” Meaning as opposed to being mixed with Indian who represent the ruling class.
 

 

Zekita: Oh wow. Well I guess I’m not so surprised being that all dark peoples of this earth have had some traumatic experiences that have somehow altered the way they view themselves
 
H.I.: True indeed. So, what was your second book?
 

 

Zekita : It is titled Reggie Wakes Up
It’s a book that encourages academic success, dispels stereotypes of success being in entertainment, sports, etc. and it also encourages entrepreneurship in African American communities. It is being sold primarily to schools with a predominantly African American student body and the story actually takes place in a classroom
 
H.I.: .are you a teacher?zek21
 Zekita : No I’m not a teacher (laughter) but  when I was in college my major was secondary education. I haven’t finished yet . I guess you could say I’m a teacher but not in the classical sense. Not in an institution. But I still teach every day.
You know something else? I always wanted to be a teacher. Even from when I was very young. But I never thought I would be teaching in this way.  I knew I would be writing but not in this way.

 
H.I.: What is your next book? Do you plan to keep it child-based?
 
Zekita : Ok.. I do have a book that has yet to be published and that one is about drugs
 it is not the typical ‘don’t do drugs’ book, but more of a ‘don’t sell drugs’ book.
.
H.I…So you are telling people not to sell drugs. Why?
 

Zekita : why what? why not sell drugs?
H.I.: Yes

Zekita : Well the story goes that there is a young man who basically wants to have nice things, but his mama cannot afford it, so he considers getting drugs from a man who is from ‘outside the community’ and selling them. The lesson is that you are a danger to yourself and to the people in your community if you try to have a ‘microwave life’.
It basically teaches to be patient and to look towards their future and stop being so heavily influenced by things that they see which is just nonsense.
Its a powerful book but as I stated…that one has yet to be published. It is only typed and copyrighted

H.I.: Does it teach an alternative to selling drugs?
Zekita : Only what I stated. Which is to focus on education in this case institutionalized or public and working towards building for the future…like other peoples of the earth do.

H.I.: Education is a definite seed, but what about the meantime?
Zekita : The book goes into some details about securing your proper place in the world. What that means is that you focus on who you want to be in the future and the control that you want to have over your life and your careers, successes, etc. –  Rather than believing that what you see being glamorized in our communities as your way out. This kid is in junior high school. He’s eating like many of them are. Just wanting more things that he feels he cannot have.  That is the alternative in the meantime.
 This book teaches that the ‘meantime’ is just an illusion. What is in the meantime to a junior high student? In the meantime would be something that would need to be addressed with a man/woman who needs to feed her/his family –
 not a kid who just wants to look like a baller or something that he’s seen in a video that is what is being addressed in this book……

zekitapic

About the Author
Zekita is an Author and Freelance Writer for several African American newspapers and publications. She has written about many issues that African Americans and African Diasporic peoples around the world. Her articles/ essays have been published across the U.S. and in Africa and Europe. She is the Founder & CEO of Zeniam Publications, an active member in Organik Soul Project, as well as the founder of L.A.W.         (League of Afrikan in America Women).



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