Again, my name is Sam.
Since I was a kid, people have delighted in their spontaneous creations that rhyme with my name. Or, they slide letters next to my name as if my life is a game of Scrabble.
And they laugh.
But I never laugh.
No one has a right to call me any names I do not call myself. And, as a Black gay man, I have several slurs that stalk me. So, every day I enforce restraining orders.
As a child, I got the n-word talk, and I thought one word was enough. I wasn’t aware of the ways white people love to explore their creativity with pejorative terms.
And recently, I got a refresher in the slurs white people sling.
While checking my stats on an article, I noticed a link from Yahoo News. So, I clicked on the link, and what did I see?
A few supporters of the president had turned my post into a hate group meeting. One of them left a nastygram that started with “Yo, yo, Sambo.”
Now, I’m not even sure I have a Yahoo account. But I will create one to report this yahoo to the Yahoo police. And, I will share the clearest specifications for how to use my name.
But, in the meantime, I must enunciate for the ignorant and the insolent that Sambo is a no-no.
In the past, the word Sambo described a person of mixed ancestry. And Sambo was a name from an era people today, either want to forget, or hope for a futuristic sequel.
The history of Sambo’s empire included book characters, films, cartoons, board games, restaurants, and more.
But Sambo is an offensive stereotype.
Sambo is a Black male who’s lazy, docile, and carefree. He was a fixture of the minstrel shows that tickled the white-working class to cackle in ways only racists like Roseanne Barr can.
So then, Sambo was a textbook way for white people to soothe a seared conscience, and feast on a faux confidence they derived from the caricatures of Blackness they concocted.
The term Sambo is both a fighting technique and a fighting word. So, if someone is old enough to know that word, then they are old enough to know better.
Because when someone elects to call another person something that’s not their name, they run a red light.
And when a driver on the road of dialogue barrels through a red light, then whatever hits them is their fault.
People must heed life’s intersections and yield what they consider their right-of-way.
And, separate from race, it’s plain disrespectful to drive a name by someone without a green light.
My name is my inherited possession, and I will not surrender ownership of my name to ignorant and racist people. No one has a right to change my name.
Everyone should be extra cautious when addressing Black people. We’ve paid for, and earned, the respect.
So, don’t call us like we’re children, animals, or like we’re related.
If you aren’t Black, don’t use African-American Vernacular English — ever. And please note — if a Black person is of a certain age, their age entitles them to the expected dignities and titles.
But people at all levels disregard the regular rules of respect with Black people.
So, let’s talk about the most disrespectful person in the borders of the country — President Donald J. Trump.
In December 2017, while giving remarks at the new Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, he flippantly called Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams “Myrlie.”
Mrs. Evers-Williams later said the president offended her when he disrobed the royalty that wraps around her name.
She deserves respect because her history dots her name with glowing gold stars. We can’t forget how a coward’s bullet ripped through the flesh of her late husband’s back. Or how her son died at an early age perhaps from the tentacles of trauma.
And yet, the president of the United States didn’t fix his lips to put respect before her first name.
So, I must insist on respect and reverence for the hallowed hue of Blackness. Most of us have pricey PhD’s from the unending school of race relations. And the turnkey racism that attacks us has made us the valiant veterans of this republic.
Now, I know people cry about political correctness, but I am not impressed by the tears, fears, or jeers.
Why is political correctness such a bad word?
It’s because white people want to say whatever the hell they want. But I will not swallow any words laced with whiteness.
And if people can’t cure themselves, then they should at least be careful and correct themselves.
Instead, people want to say whatever, and then claim ignorance and innocence.
But I read Mr. James Baldwin when he wrote how [white] innocence is a crime.
So, my answer to the persistent and pervasive mouths with slurs on their tongues and supremacy in their sentences is — no.
I am not a meme. I am not a caricature. I am no one’s Sambo.
White America may try to confine me, but it will not define me. I reject the narratives and names branded by white America.
Black people will not play the naming games of white people. And when people try to initial me with indignities, I sign my syllables as a statement of my stately stature.
Because, Sambo is dead.
He only exists in the white fantasy world I must dutifully damn and damage. So, Sambo gets no resurrection on me. And those who rush to revive and resuscitate these slurs must stop as I get in the way.
Because these slurs come from whiteness slurring with intoxication. It’s an inebriation that leads to disorderly conduct in places where I stand my ground.
And, when I smell the supremacy seeping from the pores of people who can’t get enough of whiteness, I call for a sober intervention.
Whiteness is also a caked-on makeup that smothers America’s face. And when the cosmetic of superiority cracks, people are quick to apply more whiteness.
This may be the only look America knows, but this has never been a great look.
Instead, America needs to wash the rusted and busted makeup of whiteness from its face.
And, to get ready for its better days, America must wipe away the whiteness it smears on its mind and spews from its mouth.
America needs a makeover and a face-lift.
Until then, I must call America by the name associated with the face I see. The first name is whiteness and the last name is racist.
So, I thank my parents. My name is just fine. It’s America that needs to apply for a name change.
Now you know, that sounds like the n-word
A distinction without a difference in these words