November 12, 2005

NIGGER! Is it ever acceptable?

I read this article the other day and was so inspired.

I didn't always have negative feelings about the word Nigger, but as I've aged and have acquired more knowledge the word displeases me.
Displease is an understatement
The word infuriates me!
When I hear people using the word so effortlessly it makes me cringe.
I'm glad to have wisdom and with it I've tried to convert my loved ones, but it's difficult.
They are making progress though--very minimal though--but when they are around me they catch themselves.

Please read this article
If you are too lazy or don't have enough time to read all of it, come back tomorrow and finish the rest, but please do read it all eventually.
Brother James touches on many of the reasons why I don't use this word and he brings forth some other very interesting concepts.

THE BRIDGE: The N Word
By Darryl James
(November 8, 2005)

“It’s a ugly thing and I hope someday they give it up.” --Richard Pryor on the word “Nigger.”

I had a disturbing conversation with a young brother the other day. He told me that he was proud of our generation for flipping the word Nigger so that it didn’t mean anything anymore. He actually believed that.

I was horrified and dismayed nearly to the point of depression to hear him say what I know way too many people actually believe. These are people who either don’t travel at all, or who only move in safe circles, missing the reality of the impact that Nigger still has when used by those who oppose our existence.

I want to see these blind minded people get caught slipping in the deep South, or even parts of Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland or New York and still say that the word Nigger is no longer a racial epithet or that it no longer has any impact. What do they think the cops were thinking and saying when they were having the beating parties of young Black men over the past year?

People who think that they can manipulate the meaning of the word Nigger are historically ignorant. They forget that our people tried to desensitize the word in the sixties and seventies, and that even slaves were calling each other Nigger without any effect on the intrinsic impact of the word.


Modern Coon Comedians claim to be emulating Richard Pryor when they use the wordNigger as a punchline in their self-effacing jokes, but Pryor moved away from the word and it's usage in his comedy while still in his prime.

Pryor was in Africa for weeks when he asked himself: “Do you see any Niggers?” And his own voice answered: “No. And do you know why? Because there aren’t any. It hit me like a shot. I’ve been here three weeks and I haven’t even said it or thought it. I’ve been wrong. I’ve got to regroup.

"I ain’t gonna never call another Black man a Nigger, because we never were Niggers. That was a word used to describe our own wretchedness and we perpetuated it. That word is dead--we’re men and women. We come from the first people on earth."

Pryor went on to say that he also never wanted to hear the word from non-Blacks.

"I don’t want no ‘hip’ white people coming up to me calling me Nigger or telling me Nigger jokes," he said. " I don’t like it when Black people say it to me anymore."

But there are some "hip" white boys employing the word, and they are using it around foolish Negroes who have little racial pride and even less self-awareness.

When I witnessed the emergence of the word in the everyday language of the hip hop generation, I knew that eventually, it would cross over and go places it shouldn't have.

I was waiting and holding my breath. I half hoped it wouldn’t occur.

But it did.

I heard it in the music made by Dr. Dre, with Emimen, his white protege and waited, hoping that no one else would notice.

But they did.

Radio loved it and no one seemed to be upset.

But I was and I still am.

Dr. Dre called his white protege, Eminem, a Nigger on the single “What’s The Difference Between Me And You?” The difference, you House Nigger, is that he is white and will never be viewed as the ignorant Coon that you are.

When I use the word--especially to call Dr. Dre a House Nigger, I mean it with the full nastiness and bite it has always carried. It’s not pretty. Ever.

It’s bad enough that the two Rappers sound like they are in love and as though they are about to love each other down, but Dre felt compelled to call the white Rapper by a name that has carried a tremendous amount of pain and anger to my people for far too long.

Dre represents the modern ignorance in my generation--a generation that has largely turned a deaf eye to history, except when waxing poetically on the most powerful icons and events. Few want to remember the painful events that give our art it’s biting edge and that should give us cause to consider our actions carefully.

And, some people who want acceptance from the new generation badly, embrace theword, knowing full well that there is no real excuse. For example, the formerly respectable Michael Eric Dyson embraces the name in order to look “hip” to the hip hop generation, but he really only winds up looking like an out of touch idiot trying too hard to be relevant.

A professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Dyson has chosen to follow the confused, boneheaded rappers, as opposed to attempting to enlighten them as an elder. But after pressure from his own elders, Dyson half-heartedly disclaimed his use of the word in an interview with playahata.com. “I have decided to refrain from public use of the “N” word where I cannot explain the context of the word and its association with traditions of racial response to degradation,” said Dyson. “When I can explain it, I will feel free to engage in its use, although I realize those opportunities may be rarer than I’d like. I have no problem with its use by hip-hoppers who continue to use it with verve, color, imagination, love and affection." Whatever. Either you understand the word’s damage or you don’t. And, you will either be responsible or you won’t. Our internalization of and employment of the word has little effect on the outside view of us. and, trying to make a distinction between the traditional Nigger, and the slang pronunciation, Nigga, makes ignorant self-hating Coons look and sound even sillier.


Remember, some racists pronounce it Nigga, too, stupid. Potato, potahto, Nigger, Nigga—they hate you and still want to kill your Black ass.


Should the brother who was dragged behind a truck in Texas have turned to his murderers and ask if they meant Nigger or Nigga? Should the older brother in New Orleans have asked the cops who were beating the stew out of him if the meant Nigger or Nigga? And, when your boss fires you because he hates your race, should you ask him if he means Nigger or Nigga?

If people are serious about desensitizing the word, simply overusing it amongst the target group is not enough. The only thing that could effect a real degradation of the word would be a program to enlighten the racists who are still very powerful within this nation and this world. We would have to take away their power and claiming that they can’t hurt us with the word anymore won’t do it—the word still hurts. Blacks can try to flip the word all day long, but as long as there are violent racists who still use it as a battle cry in the streets, corporate racists who still use it as a hiring guideline and public servant racists who use it while making public policy, the word will never truly be desensitized. From slavery to today, the word still has its nasty meaning, because words are powerful and can sting, bitch. You felt that one, didn’t you?

There can be no revolution without evolution and there is no evolution in trying to change the meaning of a word without concerted efforts connected to trying to change the world.

And there are little or no concerted efforts to eradicate racism, because most of
the potential efforts are displaced. Ignorant Negroes who want to change
the meaning of the word will spend time hating me for writing this as opposed to really attacking racism.


If we place the word in a world historical perspective, anyone would see that no matter what happens, it still comes back as the same ugly slur that it has always been.

Instead of trying to change the meaning of one of the ugliest words in the English language, how about we embrace a few words that are naturally ours? Doesn’t it sound and feel better to greet each other as “Brother,” “Sister,” or “Black Man/Woman?” Wassup Black?

To quote a Spike Lee joint: “We’re not Niggers.”



Oh yes...
Preach it Brotha preach it.!

8 comments:

JenellyBean said...

Announcement:

The four Expressions below by Boaz3577 and NOAM41 were not really Expressed in my blog.

I posted this same blog post in a chat forum and these were their expressions in the forum.

So basically, if you have an expression against them, they will not be here to rebuttal.

My response following their discussion is my actual response to the two of them that I posted in the chat forum. Feel free to Express yourself however you deem necessary.

boaz3577 said...

The word bothers me, but I have accepted the fact that the word does not describe or define who I am.

NOAM41 said...

I dont think Martin or Malcolm had this in mind when they were giving there lives for the cause

"I have accepted the fact that the word does not describe or define who I am."


this was a very ignorant thin to say boaz I wonder if this is what sista Parks had in mind when they were calling her a nigger for not giving up her seat in the front of the bus, This word we couldnt say in my parents house and these young thugs and thugettes use this as a term of endearment.

boaz3577 said...

You know what Noam41 if that is a word that you use to describe yourself or refer to yourself as, then so be it. All I am saying is the word does not, has not, or ever will be a description or definition of who I am. Now if that means that I'm ignorant then so be it. Regardless of the issue I don't believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks or Malcolm ever let that word describe or define them either. In all of the footage or articles written about those three pillars, have you ever heard them refer to themselves as a nigger.

NOAM41 said...

boaz being ignorant and saying something ignorant are two differant things so dont get it twisted and if you go anywhere in the world and somebody says theres a nigger when you turn around you will expect to see what a white person,a hispanic person,an asian person no you will see a black person

JenellyBean said...

Hey Hey Hey no fighting in my thread...

I can see where both of you are coming from (boaz3577 and NOAM41)

Boaz is not saying that the word is okie to use Noam what I belive s/he is saying, is because the usage of the word has never come to a cease and there is nothing else we can do besides abstaining from using the word s/he has decided to not allow the word to define him/her i.e. s/he does not associate him/herself with that word.

And I don't agree with that, but that is his/her belief. Let us not attack him/her for being misguided. We should work to change his/her way of thinking and if we do not suceed. We dust ourselves off and try again.


No Boaz you say the word bothers you, right?
You've decided to not allow it to define who you are, right?
What Noam is getting at is that although you yourself may have decided that the word does not define who you are--MANY others STILL do.
And that is what the problem is.

I don't allow the word to define who I am. That word has NEVER defined who I am.

I dont believe that anyone (in their right mind) would liberate that word.
"I'm a nigger and I'm proud of it!"

Oh please--SIT DOWN!

So when someone uses that word in its original nature with the racism attached to it they are using it to define who we are. They are not singling out few (eventhough they may try to say, I don't mean you though).
The same way Black people say we to include themselves in the group of Black people. When using the word Nigger, we are all included, eventhough you and I exclude ourselves.
Why?
Because that's the historical context of the word. No Black man or Women was excluded.

So we can't just "decide" it doesn't define us.
We can't allow others to use it.

P. Alonzo Harris Jr. said...

i will say that i do not foresee in the immediate or even distant future the decrease in the use of this word by our people...it is troubling...and frankly, i can not think of any remedy that would address this issue in a timely fashion....

T.STROKE,ESQ said...

I've said this before in another post about this

I've been turning this over and over in my mind.

And for me..nigger is just a word.

A nasty, hurtful word. A word usually uttered right before the smack of a whip, the boom of a billy club, or the pull of a rope.

But...it was the smack of that whip, the boom of that billy club, or the pull of that rope which was the real crime.

The word uttered before hand...was merely a word.

Now without the physical menaces, the social injustices, and daily humiliations to accompany it...the word nigger can be placed in the proper context as a word used by those wanting to inflict pain upon a class of people out of fear, hatred, or ignorance.

I can't deny the history of the word. And to many older black americans...the word itself still inflicts pain....simply because the utterance of the word conjures up images of a time when the word usually came with something else.

That something else doesn't exist anymore on a grand scale.

And I refuse to let a word...control me.

If a white man were to say nigger to me...and I were to beat him to within an inch of his life...what does that show??

That an educated black man can be reduced to savagery because someone called him a name.

That isn't liberation.

Nigger is just a word.

And it no longer has any power over me.

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