Sometimes You Gotta Ride Solo

At some point you simply have to stop just dealing with the problems that the people around you cause for you. At some point you simply have to accept some of the responsibility for allowing the people around you to cause problems for you, especially when you voluntarily hang around or associate with them. Sometimes the things that people around you do just get old. Some people refuse to change and grow. Although it may be difficult to do, you have to make a decision to ride solo sometimes. To “ride solo” means to do things alone for a certain period of time and be alone for a certain period of time. The period of time that you ride solo can range from a day to a year. I would not recommend that you ride solo for more than a year because everyone needs someone at some point. However, you should make sure that if you start hanging around those same people again or associating with them again, make sure that they have made some significant change and/or have grown.

You also have to come to the realization that you just need to no longer hang around and associate with some people. One of the benefits of riding solo is you have an opportunity to begin to see just how much mental, emotional, and/or physical stress that people manufacture for you. Again, you have to own some of the responsibility for allowing this to happen. You don’t have to sit there and wallow in self-pity about what you let others do to you. All you need to do right now is make a serious commitment to ride solo when the appropriate time emerges.

When you ride solo, it does not necessarily mean that you don’t like, love, or are angry with the people you separate yourself from—it just means that you are distancing yourself from them because it’s the best thing for everyone. You should take some time each day to pray, critically think, and/or meditate so that you will be able to comprehensively analyze the phenomena and people in your life. One thing you are going to have to resolve is what level of involvement is best for you to have with the people and things in your life. Don’t continue to let people and things frustrate you daily. You have the power to change how you interact with people and things. When you appropriately change how you interact with people and things, then you give yourself an opportunity to progress.

To ride solo does not mean that you have to become completely selfish. You should, however, know that you need to reserve a modicum of selfishness to ensure that you are taking the proper care of yourself and that you are working zealously to advance yourself. You have to love yourself enough to know that there’s not anything wrong with promoting, marketing, and working to progress yourself.

When you ride solo, you have an opportunity to self-heal. Having people around you all of the time can prevent you from doing the critical reflection and self-critique that is vital to improving yourself. Sometimes what you should be striving for when engaging in self-critique is not renewal, but becoming brand new in many ways. Some stuff you need to bury and not renew it. There’s no need in continuing to renewal stuff that’s not any good to keep anyway.

Don’t let people zap the life out of you. You should not have to baby and spoon grown people for the rest of their lives. At some point, grown people have to stand on their own two feet without you holding them up all the time. This means that you will have to ride solo from those who you really support for a certain period of time to give them an opportunity to learn things on their own, evolve, and recognize their own purpose and destiny.

Some people feel like they have to be in a relationship to be fulfilled. You don’t need to be in a relationship to be complete. You should not allow anyone to pressure you into a relationship and/or into marriage. Don’t feel compelled to have a baby to satisfy anyone else’s expectations. Don’t have sex with anyone just to satisfy people’s expectations. There’s no need to try to make sure that everyone knows that you are in a relationship and/or that you are having sex. Don’t advertise the sex you are having and don’t go to extremes trying to make sure that people hear you having sex. Know that there’s not anything wrong with being single. There’s a certain beauty in being single and your possibilities are limitless when you’re single. You have to be able fulfill yourself first before you can effectively and appropriately fulfill someone else. Live for yourself first.

Learn when it’s best to ride solo.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Use of the N-words in the Black Community

I was recently inspired by a discourse that transpired between a small group of almost all African-Americans about the use of the N-words within the Black community and by Whites. Any discussion about the use of these words is certain to cause great controversy, but this does not mean we need to avoid serious conversations about the use of these words. By “N-words,” I mean “nigger” and “nigga.” While there are some deep misunderstandings about the word “nigger,” what there is not any misunderstandings about is the racist use and damage this word has inflicted on Black people. “Nigga,” however, is a word of endearment and communicates kinship, commonality, and amity. When Black people are employing the N-word, they are most often referring to “nigga” and not “nigger”—this is tremendously important to highlight.

Many racist White people continue to use nigger and expect for us (Black people) to stop using nigger or nigga. Are you crazy? We have made tremendously strides to diminish the power the word nigger has on us. One of the ways in which Black people have reduced the power white supremacists have in their use of the word nigger is to begin to take that power away from the word by reconceptualizing it to have a more positive and unifying meaning. The more Black people use the word nigga, the more we will strike mighty blows at the impact of the use of nigger by Whites.

We have made significant racial progress in America. During slavery and official Jim Crow, White people could call Black people niggers and this word would place great limits on what we could be, do, and say. Today, we can take legal action against a White person who elects to employ the word nigger at us. In a sense, we are taking ownership of this word that was once used to demean, limit, and subjugate us and making new meaning for this word with such a vile legacy in America.

Numerous White and Black people have called for an end to the use of the word nigger. I have a problem with calling for a termination of the use of this word because it would retire the use of nigga. Now, White people want us to stop saying this word when they have been calling us this word for years. No! The continued use of this word by African-Americans offers us self-healing. Many “sophisticated” Blacks are now calling for an end to the use of this word because they have become so “educated” about the word and its harmful history. By making an attempt to disallow the use of this word, one will only elevate the power of the word. Unfortunately, it will be the power of the racist meaning of the word that will gain more prominence, considering people will always be reminded of the meaning of the word that caused it to be disallowed.

So you can protest, have marches, and conferences on why this word should no longer be allowed to be used, but you will never be able to stop any word from being used. You only empower the racist meaning of the word in America when you attempt to end the use of it.

Before you get all mad with me and tell me about I don’t understand the history of the word and proceed to give me an “education” about the etymology and history of the word, I have taught a seminar on the word, so please don’t get it twisted! I hope that this article will spark a wider discourse about these words (nigga and nigger).

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison