Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother Effer

(Guest Post)

I type this... as tears stream out of my eyes and my heart clenches in a way that can only be the product of utter exasperation and irritation.

I walked around campus today, and heard and heard and heard the repetition of the word "mother effer..." but you know, the full word. Now, as a woman, mother anything strikes a sense of anger within me, but a word that is so saturated with racist history... well, that hurts.
It hurts me so much, that I could help but start crying when I turned to this boy standing by me. And I said.... "do you know what the word you just said means?" and the one who had made the moronic statement said "what?" As though he was unsure of what I was saying, or maybe that I even spoke at all. Given that my voice was shaking, we were in a room full of people, and well I was the only person who really looked "different" I gathered up my courage, threw a silent prayer to the skies and said "It is the term used, in which slave owners referred to their slaves, because they would force them to breed with their mothers"..... And the boy looked at me... I say boy, but he may have been my age, who knows. But he looked at me as though I was the ignorant one, as though I was the rude one, as though I was the one who spent the last 5 minutes cussing up a storm.
And he said, nothing. Actually, it was more of a "gasp" but not in that "oh my God" kind of way. But you know....

So, I walk away, to pick up my order from taco bell, and he turns to his friend and he's like "I have plenty of black friends, and I've never heard that before".... and then starts cussing me out, like I wasn't 2 feet away, or that he was pretending like I should pretend not to hear him. Now, if you were wondering about his race, I guess his statement makes his distinction clear.... So, moving from that point of distinction, his friend, who happened to be black, was so beautifully eloquent, that I just wanted to hug him on the spot, but resisted the urge. Anyway, the one who used the poopy statement, just went on and on about how I should have not spoken. But from the looks of everyone in the room, I think they all stood on me with this issue, and his friend said "she's just educating you about history".... and they just went on and on.

So, I moved on. Sat down at the first secluded table as I tend to do. And began writing. I decided, that I will write a poem about those words, about this encounter, but I am not quite ready to do so yet. Some things are better left unsaid, and sometimes the messenger gets shot, but someone needs to 'deliver the message'. I think he was upset that a small little quiet girl had the audacity to say something to him. I'm sorry for verbally castrating you stranger, but sometimes things are worth saying. Some things, like those words, are better left unsaid....

Now, why the post? Well, it hurts that people are so naively ignorant. Just because you never heard something before, doesn't mean there is no history to it. Science is the discovery of preexisting things, moments, times, experiences, and/or all of the above, and giving it a name or label. Not that I am reducing science to that meaning only, but in this instance I will stand by that definition. I instantaneously started crying when I heard this young man. Tears just poured out of my eyes, as though I was actually standing outside in the rain, rather within the shelter of a building. I hope that people become more aware about the words they use. Or willing to accept advice from a stranger, who has nothing to gain and everything to lose when giving their thoughts to someone they may never see again.

I don't know where I am going with this. But I know this, I am too sensitive when it comes to words. Maybe it's a product of being a student of philosophy, but I hope that people just develop a tiny bit more understanding and respect to their surroundings.

I don't know. I guess I'll never know. Thoughts anyone?

Some posts I'd like to share:

http://open.salon.com/blog/trig_palin/2009/09/04/a_history_of_the_term_motherfucker



(I came across this amazing post today and was surprised by what I had just learned. I just had to feature this post and help spread the word. The author is the amazing, talented writer, Supreem and you can find the original post and her blog here here: http://supreemthoughts.blogspot.com/
You won't regret clicking that link. Unless you hate the color green...Thenn you might regret it a little
-Symphonic Discord author)

7 comments:

Constructive Attitude said...

Great post. Glad it was shared on SD :)

I think people are less aware of the words they use because of how society has made everything so "normal". idk. I doubt people would actively go out in search of it. In an ideal world, yes people would go in search of it and find out what it means and where it came from and the history behind it.

And yeah there are those very few people that do go out in search for it.

But majority of people dont.
Idk.
I know that I didnt know the history behind this until you said it.

Again, great post!

Pi said...

we live in the age of ignorance.. and this is deifnitely something worth weeping over. it reminds me of the RasoolAllah S saying "if you know what i knew, you would laugh little and weep often" (paraphrased hadith).

thank you for that..

i wish people cared about history. i wonder how far we would have come if we did.

Margie said...

Like Constructive Attitude, I'm also glad you shared this post!
You did a great job!
I can understand why you were in tears!

.::Tuttie::. said...

I highly doubt this is true. Where is she getting it from?

Slaves were considered property and slave owners specifically 'bred' their slaves to get certain traits out of them. By having inbreeding any novice farmer can tell you that its a bad idea.

So I highly doubt this is where it originated from. Slaves were actually expensive back then and making their property weak is not something they were keen on.

controlled chaos said...

^ hmmmm

supreem said...

This was something that I had heard initially in a speech that was being given on the history of racism in America. It was something that was being passed the "urban grape vine", so is there a historically document that records this? Not quite. But there are two frames of thought in terms of this word. The first is that a slave owner was referred to as a "mothereffer" for its functional purpose from the children (i.e. the person who f*** their mother). The other is because of breeding a child with a parent in order to keep the 'strong' slaves strong. As of now, I have not found any information that explicitly rejects this narrative, and what confirms it is oral traditions. I am still looking into find a 'document', I took it on authority that the invited speaker was speaking on behalf of knowledge that he was acquainted with. Therefore, you can choose to accept or reject this narrative. However, the two narratives revolve around a historical experience of racism. it still remains offensive regardless of whether a person looks into the history or not.

pilgrimchick said...

Respect is something that is completely lost on most people now. I think it's the "me, me, me" attitude that seems to pervade...everything.