Friday, December 01, 2006

"Sucka N*gga, N*gga-N*gga.." My commentary on Racism and the N-Word.(no, not necrophilia)

"Sucka n*gga, n*gga n*gga
I throw the sucka in the front for the ones that front
"-A Tribe Called Quest

If you think that I'm the one that would put on a very expensive sweater, surround myself with a lifetime supply of Jello-O pudding, and condemn the use of the N-Word with all the elderly angst a guy named Bill Cosby could muster, then you my friend would be mistaken. Sure the word is one of the worst in the English language, and I don't feel that people should make it a regular part of their personal lexicon, but it is pretty hard for me to get on my high horse and demand the abolishing of a word that I myself have used many times before. I feel like that junkie who is trying to turn his life around because he sees that he's slowly losing his family, career, and years off of his life, ridding my vocabulary of the N-Word can be nothing but beneficial. Listen, I'm losing the battle with my sex addiction, just ask this Jamaican stripper that I routinely put my pediatric penis on the business end of, as she rolls her eyes mid-coitus with me screaming "I shot the sheriff!!" just to make her feel closer to home, with me ejaculating all over her Rastafarian flag moments later.. I'm losing the battle with my violent outbursts, just ask the guy I throat-chopped a few weeks ago just because he told me that he voted for George Allen, or the ass-clown that tried to convince me that "Hip Hop wasn't dead" by using Lil Wayne as an example. But I'm glad to say that I'm winning my battle against using the N-Word, with the exception of a few relapses when some random African American individual thats related to me said something that I found to be utterly unbelievable.(Necrophiliac Please!)

By now, unless you have been living under a rock, or are a member of the Amish community(what is your ass doing on-line, don't you have some fucking butter to churn you Laura Ingles dress wearing motherfucker??), you have heard the racists rants coming out of the unfunny mandible of Michael Richards. Even though people are outraged, and I supposed they should be by his usage of the N-Word and him invoking the painful memory of lynching, I was neither shocked nor outraged. Sure what he said was fucked up, there's no getting around that, but it didn't shock me in the least because, well, I'm from Virginia.. Let me explain: I have spent the past 3+ decades in a state as backwards to me as a lesbian wanting to be with a woman who has more facial hair than I do, I have heard so many overt and no so overt examples of racism I've become shocked when someone isn't racist. Virginia is like that slutty cousin that you invite to your wedding, sure she looks like a million bucks when she's in a formal gown, but sure enough she can be found later giving guys blow-jobs in the parking lot for 5 bucks a pop. Virginia likes to think that its more progressive than ever, but based on the racist things that I have heard come out of people mouths over the years, I seriously think that banjo riff in the movie "Deliverance" should be our state's song.

Don't get it twisted, I'm not one of these "all white people are evil" guys, I mean, could a guy with such a generalizing stance about white folks show his love for Janeane Garofalo by routinely masturbating to "The Truth about Cats and Dogs"??(I don't think so) I feel that people in general, black and white, are like the diapers of a toddler who has been grunting for the past half hour, if its not completely full of shit I'm pleasantly surprised. But I have heard so many horrible racist rants from people in my day that I have become unfazed by it, like that funeral home owner who has seen so many stiffs during the tenure of his job that he doesn't think twice when the local bum is found dead in his neighborhood. I know I should be outraged, I need to be outraged.. (walked away from the computer to watch "Roots" and "Mississippi Burning") Ok, now I'm outraged like a motherfucker! But seriously, here are a few things that some people might find harmless, but I find racist, or at least racially insensitive.

People who tell me how "articulate" I am: Watching the rise of senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama, it becomes amazingly clear to any black person with an I.Q above room temperature that the media is as racist as ever. No, they haven't asked him silly questions like "Does your hair get wet??", and they don't play African drums in the background while he is being interviewed, its never that overt. What I am talking about is how commentators, news men that you would figure knew better, say things like "He is so well spoken!!", "He is so intelligent!!", and "Barack Obama is such a bright guy!!" What in the fuck is that about?? Barack Obama has to be the only guy in history who graduated magnum cum laude and was the president of the Harvard Law Review, where people seem openly shocked at how intelligent he is.

Gay people who tell me they know what it feels like to be black:
Because I feel comfortable in my own skin, knowing for certain that my lifelong sexual preference would be to disappoint women the world over, I've always been open to people from all walks of life. I mean, I can't say that I have much in common with the gay community, except for the fact that I'm probably the only straight male that has uttered the words "A little to the left doc!" while getting my prostate checked out. That being said, I know that gay people the world over catch more shit than a colostomy bag because of their sexual orientation, I get that. But gay people, please, don't come to me saying that you know what its like to be black because its pretty insulting. Hell, most of the time I can't tell a guy is gay unless he's in a gay pride parade, or married to Star Jones, you can tell I'm black regardless of what I wear or what pay-less spokeswoman I decide to tie the knot with.

People who say they're "republicans" when they are actually "racist": I live in a pretty conservative town, so you can imagine how many times people try to mask their racism for a republican agenda. Usually when you hear some blow-hard flapping his gums about welfare reform he tries to act like he's concerned with the economy, but he's talking about black folks. Whenever a bloated Rush Limbaugh type is going on and on about "Immigration" they aren't talking about the toll it takes on the economy, he's talking about, well, brown folks. The funniest thing about these individuals is that while they constantly talk about personal responsibility and "pulling yourself up by your boot-straps", these are the same motherfuckers that bitch about how Affirmative Action cost him his job.

White people who say that they use the N-word to characterize "stupid people"
: I have actually had people tell me, with a straight face, that they use the word but not as a racial epithet but to characterize "all stupid people". This is the first time that I realized that some white people want to use the N-Word in the worst way. I always ask them, "With all the words in the dictionary that you could find to accurate describe a stupid person, you use that one??"

White people who ask, "If you can say it, why can't I say it?": You would be surprised how many white people I've encountered who are outraged that they can't say the N-word. I guess when they hear songs with the word in it, or hear people calling themselves that as a term of endearment, they feel that they should also say it and not be left out of the racial epithet shin-dig. My question is always, "Why in the fuck would you want to say it??" Not for nothing, but I don't stay up at night wondering why I can't call women out of their name, or why I can't make any holocaust jokes to my jewish friends. Its gotten to the point, when I'm asked by a white person why they aren't allowed to say the word, that I give them complete cart blanc to say the word as liberally as they like. Granted, they mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth, but I digress.


Stu said...

What I don't get is that it's fine for a black person to use the N-word for describing themselves, or another black person. It's also fine for a black person to call a white person a cracker, or a wigga, or whatever. Yet it's not fine for white people to call black people anything at all, and any white person who calls themselves a cracker or a wigga gets a stupid look (because they are stupid).

Racism, along with sexism, seems to be very one-sided. We can't call a bl**kboard a blackboard because that uses the word black. We have to call it a chalkboard. Forget of course that the colour of the board is black! You can still call a board that you draw on with pens a whiteboard though, because, after all, it's fricking white!

If black people can call themselves, or other black people, necrophiliacs ( ;) ) and they can call white people crackers then surely equality/free speech would suggest that white people can call black people the same. Or nobody should be able to... Failing all of those we should at least be able to restore Baa Baa Woolly Sheep to its former glory: Of course the sheep has some wool, you literally just referred to it as a woolly fucking sheep!

Peach said...

The whole N word thing is silly. Sometimes the battle is just not worth fighting (pick and choose your battles) are we all so petty as to fight over the use of one damn word?? Let the shit go..(white people) okay boo fuckin hoo you cant say the N word. "whud up folk, whud up cuzo, what up G" plenty of other shit to say without having to use the N word. Just get over it already.

Anonymous said...

'White people who ask, "If you can say it, why can't I say it?"'

Let me suggest another perspective, which is that no-one should use the word "nigger". From this point of view, the question of double standards becomes not "Why can't white people say 'nigger'?", but "Why would black people say 'nigger'?"

The Humanity Critic said...

But that other "perspective" is sort of a straw-man argument, since no where in my post did I condone black people saying it.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the other anonymous post (sorry, I don't have a blog and I'm too damn lazy to create an ID).

The word is not a "term of endearment". It is an acceptance of our status as second class citizens and an embracement of ghetto-life - therefore giving up on the struggle to become more as a people.

Just using the word in everyday conversation gets ingrained into your subconscious and is self-defeating. "Yes, I'm a nigga. Therefore, I should be happy with this middle management position and shouldn't strive for more." "Yes, I am a nigga and I should be satisfied that I obtained this bachelor's degree from a second rate school." "No, I'm not going to network with the powers that be because, well, I'm a nigga and doing so would show that I'm a sellout."

Stop using the word, people. We cannot advance if we don't rise up above this and accept that no matter how you try to sanitize it, "Nigga" does not equal nationalism.

Nigga = stupid
Nigga = second class
Nigga = self hate

George said...

(I think both anonymous' are the same person) Damn HC, it seems that most of the people who commented here didn't read your post and just want to react in a knee-jerk kind of way. No where did HC condone the usage of the word, so if you aren't going to fucking read his post and just spew reactionary bullshit out of your ass, don't bother commenting you non-reading comprehension motherfuckers!! Jesus Christ..

Anonymous said...

Great post HC!! Yeah, I didn't get that you were condoning the word at all, it seems that some of the commentors here have their own agenda, or the simply didn't read your post.

Nigga=self hate
Retarded=people who didn't even read HC's post.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a dollar for every white person who asked my why I can say N---- and they can't.

I always tell them...when youve been CALLED a N-----, then you get to use the word.

Leon said...

Great post. If it makes you feel better about your backward state of the Old Dominion/Ole Virginny, I currently live in Georgia where without a doubt, George Allen would have won. I have also previously lived in Florida (don't let the palm trees and beaches fool you, it's still redneck as hell), and Mississippi.

I see where you are coming from about the "N-word" I'll admit that I've used it quite a bit myself, but I am a lot more careful about using the word, because I'm only defeating myself as a black person. I know, I'm trying to get better.

Stu said...

If black people are ok to say it and white people are not then that's racist to white people. No other way to look at it really.

It's something you either can or cannot do or say dependent upon your skin colour.

Anonymous said...

I am the first "anonymous" poster (no we are not the same person).

My message was not an attack on you. I was not saying that you, HC, condoned the use of the word "nigger" by anyone. You were complaining about white people who didn't like the double standard. My point was just that some white people who perceive a double standard don't want to use the word, they would just like to see it gone.

Sorry for the confusion.

Clarence said...

BTW, you can hit Other instead of Anonymous, and you don't even have to create an ID!

On the real though, Black/White folks have been through this progression on the use of the word for a long time now, haven't we?

I'd like to get up on my soapbox and claim, "we're takin' the word back!", but it doesn't make sense. We've all said it, thought it, or wanted to scream that joint out because no matter how you cut it, it's still an attempt to break something down.

Naturally, I can't understand why anyone white would want to get down with it, given the negative hustle that surrounds them and the word in the first place -- yeah, free speech is solid and all that, I feel you; free speech to use a word for the sake of? No one has really been able to nail that down with any clarity. Can there be any solid reasoning behind that?

Black people, unlearn that BET/MTV format where it's fashionable to drop nigga like a sugar sandwich with koolaid. I know it's hard to do, but, nobody really wants to be a nigga do they? Probably not. Most Black people are too silly to even realize they probably are keepin' that negative mode alive!

Now, if I could only get people to stop askin' me if they can touch my hair, i'll be straight :) HC, nice posit, bruh. I'll holla!

Bk_red said...

damn, it seems like people really get what they want from something rather than just reading (or hearing) what is actually written. nowhere in the posts did either anonymous specially direct his/her comments to something hc wrote. i think these people were just giving their opinions.

that said, stu... seems like you have some issues. why are you so concerned about being able to say/do things that only black people can do? you do realize that things are still not fair & equal in this society, right? give it up.. there are much bigger issues to worry about in our society. however, i have had to tell a few of my black friends not to refer to other white people as crackers around me unless it's a joke. that i can take. cracka ass cracka...

and by the way, being from south florida i have to say - all of florida is not the same. south florida is a whole different world from the rest of the state. it damn sure is not full of rednecks. it's a big melting pot of mostly northern transplants and caribbean people, and no native south floridians even have a southern accent.

Amy said...

I thought this was a terrific, albiet upsetting, analysis. As a Jewish woman, I have heard "You don't look Jewish" and "That table just jewed me" (fellow waitress). And the list goes on. It's amazing that Michael Richards and Mel Gibson blame stress on their rants, as if stress can cause a complete departure from the essence of ones being.

Stu said...

Bk_red, I suppose you're right, I should just give up on equality because that's not how things are right now. I'll look for some other good causes to give up on while I'm at it.

If your view was shared by some other key people then not very much would have changed over the last 1000 years.

Dana C. James said...

I am the second anonymous. And I read HC's post - loved it as usual. My "knee-jerk reaction" was directed at "stu", the first poster with his "Cracker vs. Nigger" argument. My comment was to say we should *all* try to abolish the word and stop trying to embrace the word.

Bk_red said...

stu - relax, buddy. don't twist my words. when i said give up, i meant give up on stressing about why black people can say this word and white people can't. i didn't mean give up on equality. equality is so much more than just what words certain people can and can't use. i agree with the idea that all people should try to stop using offensive words, even if it's used as a term of endearment. however, what's more important is that people start treating all people fair & equal.

Leon said...

@ Bk_red:

I didn't mean to catagorize all of Florida. I lived in the Tampa Bay area, and there is a HUGE difference between Central and South Florida. South Florida is very cosmopolitan and urbane. I'm sorry if I offended you. I guess my experiences living in Tampa clouded my judgement.

Although Tampa is more cosmopolitan than say, Jacksonville or Pensacola, it's redneck/country roots aren't too far off if you go to certain places. Miami it is not, believe that. (SHit, even O-Town has more urban swagger than Tampa)

Bk_red said...

i appreciate your comment, leon, but i wasn't really offended by what you said. i was just trying to clarify. i think some people have an idea of what fl is like in their minds, but like ny or california it's a huge state with lots of variations in culture and people. but again, i do appreciate the explanation. and yes, i know tampa has some pretty country-ass, ignorant people. then again, such people can be found almost anywhere.

Justin said...

Hip-hop's not dead, Cadence Weapon being my example.

Stu said...

My point was never that white people should be able to say it too, it was just that while-ever black people call themselves it they should expect no more of a white person.

I think it's a stupid word, all derogatory words along the same lines are just as dumb and nobody should use them. General swear words still have a place in language, even if it's only for shock/impact value... They should be used sparingly to retain their value though.

The whole thing's retarded. We're all the same and life's too short to mess about with prejudice.

Rose said...

This is a great post. I think we should stop using the word period. It is not a term of endearment for me or anyone else. I think rap music has a lot to do with this word coming back to life but that's my opiniion. People need to stop using it blacks and white-the word conjures up too much pain and if you or your ancestors experienced the pain, beatings. etc., yuou would never want to utter that word.

Anonymous said...

I try to eliminate the word from my vocab. I am not perfect but I believe I do a decent job.

I do hate when White people ssk why they cannot use the word. I think it is blatantly clear. The history behind the word runs strong and deep. You would have to be stupid to ask that question.

Wesley said...

And how does that word still survive anyways? I mean cracker and honkey are seen as silly and outdated but the word "nigger" is still going strong. I mean its sad over 150 years. The end of slavery, Martin Luther King, Malcom X and the whole civil rights movement and somehow that word slips through.

Luke Cage said...

HC, the whole "N" word spewing venomous rant from Richards didn't bother me as much as the lynching rant he followed the ignorant words with. I've heard ni##er come out of white folks mouths, just like I've heard it from blacks too..

After awhile, I reached a point where the word bothers me regardless of who uses it. Maybe not equally, but yeah it bothers me either way. The lynching part set me off though.. There's no place for that nonsense and it cut deep to the core of blacks everywhere.

While I won't knock people who are focusing more on that part first of the name calling, somehow the other part got strangely forgotten, and that in itself is a crime man. Lets see what happens now...

The OE said...

An articulate gay Republican. That sounds so corrupt.

Cocoa Goddess said...

HC, I'm sorry I haven't visited in a while, but a sista's been busy. I still love ya though.

The whole "why can't we say the N word" argument is absurd. What I find is even more absurd is the whole "nobody should say it because everyone can't say it" argument. I don't know how you can get rid of a word, but I do think it's funny that there is a "If I can't say it, nobody should say it" mentality. How self-serving! Of all the double-standards that exist in the world, you'd think this one was keeping people from living their lives or something. There are more, truly unjust double standards to be addressed rather than the freedom to call black people the N word. Get over it.

If you don't like it, then don't say it. If you feel like your rights have been infringed upon because you can't say it, by all means fight for your right to say the N word! (And fighting will pretty much be what you'd be doing.) But hey, nothing worth having is easy.

Brother OMi said...

1. been to all parts of florida... from top to bottom.. all of it is redneck EXCEPT a few parts of the major cities. then again Miami/ Ft Lauderdale is virtually a police state. I live in Virginia too, so i feel you HC.

2. cracker and Nigger... both words have different histories. it is NOT the same to call a white person a cracker and a black person a Nigger. very different histories. the latter was created to degrade a race of people, bottom line. to be honest, cracker ain't that bad. it still places the white person in the position of authority (cracker = cracking the whip; slave owner).

3. Mike did not get heckled. he got upset because NO one was laughing at his jokes so he jumped on the black guy ordering a drink THEN the black guy said something to him.

4. what bothered me about Mike (and Goerge Allen's tirade a few months ago) is not that Mike used the N word. its the fact that homie got specific . he said "50 years ago...blah blah" meanind he went out of his way to degrade the guy in the crowd. if he just said the N word, then i can see him just slipping.

billie said...

They didn't call him a N*gga. But now some in the media are calling Barack Obama a "Halfrican". Always somethin'.

Lola Gets said...

I love the format of this piece as well as some of the things you said. I, too, have heard white, and even Latino people say they mean nigger as a "stupid person."

I had a very bourgeois upbringing, and I didnt use the word nigger, or nigga, very frequently. However, I find myself using the word more often as I get older. Usually, its only when Im really REALLY pissed off, but sometimes it slips out when Im joking. I need to stop that.

Please stop by my blog to see my view of the word. Thanks!

Lola Gets said...

ALSO! I dont find myself upset at the fact that I cant use phrases like: spic, wop, dago, dyke, faggie, et cetera, just because I aint them! LOL Please! Move on and get over it! You cant belong to everything!

Innocent By-Googler said...

For those so out-of-sorts about the double standard, grow up please?

The real double standard is that you want to say "nigger" but then not be tagged as a racist. Sorry, no sale. But don't feel bad; we for years weren't allowed to look a white person in the eyes let alone address them by whatever term of endearment was the style at the time.

Also, there are all kinds of instances where people have special pet names for each other in select circles (family, close friends, frats/sorors, etc.) that would be frowned upon if used by outsiders.

But having said all that, let me turn on my own. This idea of "nigger" as a term of affection is nonsense or pure ignorance. I don't hear Jews calling themselves "judenschwein" as a show of unity, that's ridiculous! And spare me the dissertation on "nigger" vs "nigga" it's no different for "sister/sista" or "shoe/choo," so get off it.

And of all the words in the English language to express love and unity we've gotta pick the one that people heard from the lynch mobs while noose was put around their necks??? Give me a break.

And maybe I'm too old but I've always heard the term as derogatory even when used by us: "man, that nigga ain't got no sense" I've never heard Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, etc. as "great niggas we need to look up to."

Like judenschwein, kaffir, bitch, spic, nip and other terms, nigger is an easily avoidable word, if folks want it to be.

anansi3 said...

This has always bugged the shit outta me. I personally don't think any of us should say it. There's too much history with that word. Let's just retire it to the played out words hall of fame along with jiggy, 23 skiddoo, and spats. I live in Brooklyn, and every kid under 20 calls his friends nigga. "What's up, nigga? What's that nigga doin'? These niggas is crazy." I've seen Indian kids call Chinese kids nigga. It's insane. I've decided to go on a personal crusade. Every person of another ethnicity who says it in my presence will be responded to in like manner. Chinese and other Asian people will be either My Jap or My Chink, randomly; all hispanics will be My spics, Whites will be Vanilla Face, thanks to Borat or White Devil. I just can't figure out what to call South Asians. Towel head is too obvious.