Reflections of the N-Word: A Black Female Anthology Project



N-Word: Anthology Project

Sticks and Stones

Narrative Therapy, Art and Multimedia in Exploring the Psychological Effects of the N-Word on Black Women and Girls

Contribute Your Voice to this Project!

[Deadline: February 2, 2006] Scroll down for details



Welcome to the "Reflections of the N-Word" website. This is a work in progress and will expand each week, with more links as well as information to inform you of how the project is progressing.

Purpose of Project

My primary research interests are: using multimedia technology, black feminist epistemology and theory, the narrative therapies, critical race theory, "White privilege", queer /sexuality theory, and gender, specifically focusing on Black Females. This encompasses emotional, spiritual, physical and mental health and well being. The first goal of the “N-Word” project is to create a published  anthology book that comes with an interactive DVD of Black women and girls who have chosen to share their experiences via photographs and short films. The DVD will also connect people to an interactive website which will have blogs and online discussions of the anthology project. BLOGS and Forums will give black girls and young women a safe space to speak about their journeys through racism, classism, sexism and homophobia without feeling “strange” about doing it in the classroom setting. This technology will also help voice the trauma of racism, sexism and classism through narrative therapies in a virtual community setting of support. My key questions for using multimedia technology in human development and critical race theory that I hope to explore beyond this "N-Word Project":

  • 1. How do/can we use narrative therapies to help give voices to a demographic that has been historically oppressed and marginalized since Black slavery in USA?
  • 2. How can these multimedia technologies and narratives help to educate high school and college teachers about the needs to address “oppressive ideologies” that are institutionalized everywhere- including the school systems itself.
  • 3. How can critical race theory and narrative research/narrative therapies creatively and effectively create a community structure for Black girls and adolescents to begin to engage in grassroots organizing and mobilizing to be an effective voice to be heard towards those policy makers.
  • 4. How can a virtual community of blogs and forums create more understanding and solidarity between Black straight identified girls/ adolescents and Black queer girls/adolescents who are both oppressed by racism and sexism and very often, classism? Black females often have solidarity around issues of racism and sexism. However, homophobia is still a silenced issue that the Black community still refuses to recognize.

Theoretical Framework and Influences

bell hooks and James Baldwin are the primary figure of influences for this project. I also draw from June Jordan, Edward Said, Maya Angelou, and Audre Lorde.

The major catalyst for this research project came from the first time I remembered being called a n*gger at the age of twelve. Though it took me more than a decade to fully articulate my experience of that day, it had always astounded me how much rage and fear that word had instilled in me. It wasn't until fifteen years later that I began to understand how profoundly emotionally traumatic this one word has been to a majority of Black identified people who have been survivors of it, including myself. It was through reading bell hooks, June Jordan, W.E.B. DuBois, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin and other "resisters of oppression" as well the expression of fiction book writing that I was able to explore my emotions as well as my understanding of my social status as a Black female in a country in which institutionalized sexism, heterosexim, classism and racism is embedded in the institutions and policies of the status quo. It was in the pages of bell hooks that I first ran across her critical consciousness paradigm. Through this practice, I was able to understand my relationship with race, class, sexuality, and gender status within the United States. Simultaneously, I also wanted to understand these systems of inequalities but not be solely defined or limited by them. I stopped thinking of my position as a "victim" and realized that I am a "survivor" capable of making positive change through the voicing of my experiences.

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood." - Audre Lorde

Black identified women and girls, come forth and share your experiences as survivors of the n-word; survivors of a culture in which the usage of the n-word is a symptom of a larger societal disease which continue to spread via the fusion of racism, nationalism, sexism, imperialism, classism and homophobia. It may sound simple, but your voice will be the cure.

"We are what we've been waiting for." - Sweet Honey in the Rock

Call for Contributions!! Submit Your Voice

Breeze Harper
122 Oxford St., Apt 5
Cambridge, MA 02140

617 877 2096 []

This is a call for narratives, poetry, short film, and critical essays for a book project and DVD anthology about Black identified females who want to :

  • creatively convey their experience(s) of being called a n*gger (not to be confused with the other word, n*gga, that some Blacks use amongst themselves)
  • share their experiences of the first time they were called the n-word and/ or had heard/read the word for the first time even though it may not have been directed toward them.

Who is invited to submit their voice :

All Black identified girls and women from all sexual orientations, educational levels, nationalities, countries, ages, etc.

Possible themes to explore:

  • How did being called the n-word as a child shape your consciousness as an adult?
  •  How you felt when you first read the n-word in required school readings such as Huckleberry Finn and Grapes of Wrath.

Please send to the mailing address listed above or (preferably) send via email as a Word or Appleworks attachment. Please also attach short bio, contact info. Submissions should be double spaced, 1" margins and preferably no longer than 15 pages. Short film should be no more than 10 minutes long. This anthology will be published by end of 2007 as part of a Harvard University Affiliated Research Project. An interactive DVD (with the short films and other multimedia) will also be included in the book.

Feel free to email me or call with any questions.