Westchester County Board of Legislators Vice Chairman Clinton Young, D-Mount Vernon, wants you to watch your language.
Young, D-Mount Vernon, sponsored a resolution calling for the Ã¢â‚¬Å“symbolic eliminationÃ¢â‚¬? of the so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“N-wordÃ¢â‚¬? in the county, starting today. A similar resolution was proposed earlier this month in New York City.
The Westchester resolution passed the board unanimously during its morning meeting, which also included a celebration of Black History Month.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Although symbolic, I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s extremely significant that we are saying we understand the origins of this word,Ã¢â‚¬? Young said, tracing it to labels placed on their charges by slave masters.
For the text of the resolution, go to the jump.
WHEREAS, it must be recognized that Black History did not begin with the arrival of Africans to the shores of America brought over as slaves. The etymology of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word is often traced to the Latin Ã¢â‚¬Å“nigerÃ¢â‚¬? or the French word Ã¢â‚¬Å“negrÃƒÂ¨,Ã¢â‚¬? both meaning black; when used as a noun, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word is used in an ignorant and derogatory fashion to demean a black person, and
WHEREAS, it is recognized that prior to the slave trade Africans were a free, rich, learned and accomplished people who were descendants of Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, and
WHEREAS, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word cannot be traced to any African dialect, and
WHEREAS, the first documented written use of the word was in 1786, when the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? was a term slave masters used to label their African slaves; thus, the word has its origins in the contempt that slave masters had for their African slaves, and no matter how it is spelled, the word carries throughout the centuries these connotations of hate, and
WHEREAS, many recent high-profile incidents involving use of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word have elicited condemnation from the larger society. The use of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word regardless of the user denotes ignorance of self worth, a respect for the rich history of Africa and of the meaningful accomplishments of Africans here in America and throughout the history of the world, and
WHEREAS, the use of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word remains damaging, divisive and derogatory and remains a demonstration of the acceptance and agreement of this gift to American History by slave traders, therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Westchester County Board of Legislators declares a symbolic elimination on the use of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“NÃ¢â‚¬? word in Westchester County beginning this day forward as we celebrate Black History Month.