Fraternity wants to ban the "N" word - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fraternity wants to ban the "N" word

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January 25, 2007

Albany - - Former Seinfield star Michael Richards made national headlines last November when he used the "N" word during a comedy routine in Los Angeles. 

It re-ignited the debate on whether the word is acceptable under any circumstances. Two African-American magazines, Jet and Ebony, are now banning the word from their publications and now students at Albany State University want to spread the same message on their campus.

In between classes, students shoot the breeze socializing, laughing, talking. Perhaps inadvertently, one word often makes its way out of students' mouths.

"The N word is used a lot, and it's like it bothers me, but I don't see people making a big deal about it," says Freshman Ronald Simmons.

One student organization on campus is making a big deal about it - - members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. They're taking a stand on a word that originated as a derogatory expression toward African-Americans.

"Now it seems that were degrading ourselves, so we thought it to be very important that we start looking at ourselves better, and start talking to ourselves in a more mature and respectable manner," says Michael Scott of Alpha Phi Alpha.

They're organizing a campaign to get the whole campus to sign contracts that they will abolish the word form their vocabulary - - even for students who say they use the "N" word as a term of affection.

"I think we've used it as a crutch to make ourselves more comfortable with it, to make it ok but really its not and if you think about it before you say it you really know its not a good word," says Junior Jazzmine Randall.

Organizers say the only way to overcome the obstacle is to bring it to light and then vow to practice what you preach.

"I'm hoping that eyes are opened, minds are opened and that we start seeing the importance of respecting ourselves and treating each other as brothers and sisters," Scott says.

Some students feel it's a step in the right direction. "I don't think its going to happen overnight but it's a start," Simmons says.

A start to a message, these fraternity members, want to catch on nationwide. 

Members of the fraternity also plan to wear T-shirts on campus that say abolish the "N" word and focus on being "scholars".

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