Did He Say What I Think He Said?

by Seattle Washington

I hear it all the time from rappers, comedians and, unfortunately, Black kids outside my job.  I’ve almost become accustomed to it.  But when I heard “nigga” uttered by some Jewish guy at a party this past weekend, I almost became one.

 I’m getting ahead of myself, let me set the scene for you.  It was a cool summer night and I’m chillin with some folks from work, their friends and their friends of friends on my co-workers roof deck.  Yeah, new opportunities means new rewards.  The closest I’ve gotten to a roof deck party before working at my job was hanging on top of my boy’s apartment building in Harlem.  Still fun, just a different type.  Nonetheless, I got there a little late (on CP Time) and all the people I knew were already wrecked slightly intoxicated.  By the time I’ve gotten an 1/8th towards catching up to them, they were already passed out or had left for fear of falling off the roof deck.  It’s all good, I make friends easily.  That’s what I do.  After all, who doesn’t love an eloquent Black guy?

After a little while, a group of Black guys and their Jewish friend walk in.  Cool.  No one likes to be the token Black dude.  Of course, I end up talking to the clique because all Black people are born with a gene that makes us huddle together like bums around a trash fire on a winter night.  After some jokes and getting to know where these cats were from, their Jewish friend decided to quote Dave Chappelle.  Cool.  As expected.  Can’t go throughout the night without one Dave reference.  What I didn’t expect was for him to mumble “nigga” underneath his breath.  I paused.  Did he just say what I think he said?  I looked around at his four Black friends and friends of friends and their faces didn’t change so maybe I was mistaken.  

I wasn’t.  I guess he took that as permission to say it freely now, so he quoted another Dave Chappelle joke this time saying “nigga” quite loudly.  Well, thanks for clearing it up for me buddy.  And now I’m pissed.  For three reasons.  One, because he had the audacity to say “nigga” in front of me (yep, audacity.  you know someone’s mad when they say audacity).  Two, because none of the Black guys he rolled with decided to check him and now I have to.  Three, because even though I want to deck this cat and throw him down the stairs so badly, I can’t.  I’m at my co-workers crib.  Where does that leave me?  I put my hand on the man’s back and told him to calm that [expletive] down while staring at him.  His Black friends started to laugh nervously, while the Jewish kid cried out, “Aww, c’mon man.”  After some puffing of the chest, staring down and saying something to the effect of, “I don’t know you.  They might, but I don’t.” he backed off and then I stepped away.  Thinking to myself, if this cat wants to start something, let him come to me.  Then I’ll knock his ass the f*ck out.  Talk to him calmly and explain why he shouldn’t do that, for his own well being.

Realizing a bad situation, the diversity crew walked away. One of the Jewish kid’s friend of a friend did a good job calming me down, apologizing and justifying my frustrations.  After talking to the dude I realized he’s cool.  Nonetheless, the conversation didn’t stop me from wanting to show the dude what a “nigga” really is.  After some time, the Jewish cat apologized.  I nodded, accepted it and kept it moving.  I was hoping he did too because there’s nothing as alluring as a stationary target.  

I realized a couple things that night.  First off, things have changed.  Well, the job has changed things.  And not just what type of roofs I chill on.  Before having one, if I was in the same situation there would have been a lot less talking and a lot more action without an afterthought.  Now, jail time, loss of my gig and more importantly, loss of respect crosses my mind.  Is that for the best?  Is verbally intimidating and belittling some ignorant cat just as good as physical action?  I can tell you, it wasn’t as satisfying.

Secondly, and more importantly, I thought about the usage of the word “nigga”.  As a dude who’s been called both a “nigger” and a “nigga”, I have mixed feelings about it.  Should we really be saying it all the time?  I cringe when I’m walking with co-workers to grab some lunch and I hear some Black kids screaming the word back and forth to each other.  But on the other hand, I still say it when I’m with my boys.  Just not as often as I used to.  It’s not really work appropriate to say “Good morning my nigga” to my boss, so I’ve cut down slightly.  Is “nigga” really just an evolution of a word symbolic of racism, slavery and the inhumane treatment of our ancestors?  Is continuing to use it just perpetuating that history so it can live on through future generations who have no clue what substance it truly holds?  Or is it just our word now and America should deal with it and not try to assimilate it like they have everything else in Black culture?

I’ve got my opinion and I’ll state it later, but in the meantime I would like to hear yours.  

*** Seattle Washington does not condone violence.  I usually have a great temperament, but there are two things set me off and ignorant actions are one of them.  All else is folly.  As a wise man once said, “don’t argue with fools because people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”  

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28 responses to “Did He Say What I Think He Said?

  1. I can’t say I fault you. Having gone to school at a PWI I find that the non-blacks around tend to always want to utter that word. It’s like telling a kid no candy then putting it in front of them. They don’t know how to handle it. I think it’s just a matter of learning how to work the system so to speak.

  2. As a fellow Black man who had the ‘wonderful’ opportunity to be called a nigger in high school by an opposing team’s coach and then subsequently spend weeks in meetings with both school to deal with the issue, I feel your pain. It is so much more satisfying to jump up and start beating away (pause) on the dude than to just talk it out. Pisses me off…

    At the same time, I still find myself chilling with my homies slanging “My nigga” and “What up nigga”. Its the educated Black man’s conundrum. Its true, when you hear the word from a fellow Black male its sounds brotherly and endearing. Unfortunately, it is a word with a strong history of hate and racism associated with it.

    What to do, what to do…for now, I’m gonna let is rock.

  3. “Or is it just our word now and America should deal with it and not try to assimilate it like they have everything else in Black culture?”

    What!?

    How is a non-black “assimilating Black culture” by saying “nigger”?

    From my knowledge of history, WHITE PEOPLE created the word nigger, not black people. And no, nigger was never black people’s word. Any black person who thinks they have “re-claimed” the word nigger comes off as a black person who desires to pick up a pile of feces and press it close to their chest and claim it as a part of them.

    Nigger is not a part of black people’s culture.

    And it never was.

    Do black people think so less of themselves that they have to call each other one of the nastiest words ever created.

    Not to mention a person who gives not a damn about the TRUE history of the word.

    “Nigga” or “Nigger’….changing the spelling does in no way lessen the filth, rape, butcherings, castrations, racial hatred, tortures, lynchings, and race riots that are a part of this word.

    Why any black person would call each other nigger still is beyond me.

    And why should you get angry at this Jewish person? That so many blacks have used such a hated word as a so-called “term of endearment” only tells the whole world:

    “Look what we supposed black people think of each other. It’s bad enough that whites used this word against innocent black people who sought to be treated as humans. Now, you have deluded young blacks using this word, and those same blacks have the “audacity” (yes, I use that word when I am pissed off too.), to get pissed when a non-black uses it in the presence of blacks.”

    So, don’t get mad as hell when some stupid non-black uses the word in your presence; blacks who have used this word for so long have dug their own graves. Not to mention the disrespect that other black people (who DO NOT use the word) have to go through when hearing young blacks saying the word to each other.

    Did you honestly think that constantly saying this word would not have negative repercussions?

    I find that hard to believe.

    Black people who use this word as if it is no better than the word friend, are spitting on the graves of the millions of black people who went through hell to pave the way for today’s blacks.

    NIGGER.

    I used to say that “niggers” were the people whose ancestors invented the word nigger.

    Now, I consider blacks who use the word as worse than racist whites.

    Who needs a white to degrade and insult blacks, when so many of todays blacks already do that to each other…..and to themselves.

    Not to mention the stupid so-called “greeting”: “What’s up dawg.”

    So, I guess those same black men think of themselves as less than a dog?

    What is so damn hard about simply saying, “What’s up, friend? Or, “What’s up, Rodney, Tyrone, etc.?”

    I guess that would be too right and too civilized….and too intelligent.

    So, I guess black women should just call themselves “Nigger bitches”.

    Isn’t that what the white man has called black women for over 400+ years while raping and forcibly impregnating them?

  4. I have plenty of white friends, and even of some them been around us for so long that they have picked up our style. I can honestly say that i have never heard them use that word. They know that at the end of the day even if we call ourselves that so loosely today, it is still no acceptable for them to do so. After reading this i have used that word many a times.

    I’ve been called a “Nigger” by a white girl at the bar a couple months ago. She was drunk and in my face and i think it was just a game for her. Being tipsy was way to say what she really felt.
    That’s the first time in a long time i had to swallow and hold my mouth, i knew the owner of the bar and have done plenty of events there. So out of respect for him i decided to go take a walk outside.

    I still use the word here and there, but honestly i have been slowly getting it out of my system as i get older.

  5. Seattle Washington

    Ann,

    Thanks for writing such a passionate response. I do agree with some points, others not so much. Since you wrote a good amount, I’ll just go bit by bit.

    1.) Whether we like it or not, “nigga” is a part of Black culture now. It took center stage when Richard Pryor was saying “nigga” in his stand up back in the 70s. He even did a whole routine breaking the word down. Black folks have been saying it for awhile, for better or worse, and now it has been propelled to a higher status because it’s heard in every hip hop album. Does that make it right, no, but just saying it is a part of us now. Like that 2nd cousin that no one wants to claim during the family picnics.

    2. I take it from your response that “nigga” and “nigger” are not different to you. And as I’m getting older, I’m realizing the same thing as well. But if it is, then why shouldn’t I be made at a non-Black using it? Which brings me to my next point…

    3. I agree with you, with us using it so often in public, around non-Black people coupled with rappers saying it in their rhymes there was bound to be repercussions. There was a time in which I wouldn’t utter the word because I knew the true meaning origins. After some time, hearing it too often, I was numb to it all. I’ve gone back and forth on the issue, but being called a “nigger” was a wake up call for me.

    Why we can’t take it out of our vocabulary is beyond me, but I liken it to any other addiction. You may not do it, all of a sudden you’re immersed with people who do it, the people you look up to are doing it so all of a sudden it’s coming out of your mouth too. Without remorse.

    4. “Nigger bitches”. We’re actually not too far from that, some women do use the word “bitch” to reference themselves and their friends. But that’s another entry for another time.

    So all-in-all Ann, I agree with you. Using the word “nigga” for me takes away from the intelligence that I know I, and my friends, have. Unfortunately, “nigga” disappearing from our vocabulary isn’t going to stop during my generation, or even the one below me, it’s going to stop with the kids on the come up now.

    Much love,
    Seattle

  6. I agree with all that was said here. I went to a PWI and played football there. There was clearly a separation between the black dudes and the rest of the dudes on the team but there wasnt a real beef. Within our sect we would throw the word around loosely “Good play my nig”, “U saw the play that nigga on Princeton just made?!” and other stuff like that. I see why some white folk think they can use the word, I dont agree but I see why.

    Also, this maybe me just nit picking but the word nigger at its conception was not a racist word. It was racial; meaning that it referred to one’s race but said nothing more. Many people argue that it derived from the word niggardly but it didnt. It wasnt used in racist to connotation til after slavery was abolished. So it has more of a link to the Jim Crow/postbellum time period than to slavery. Just my 2 cents

  7. RightCoastLexSteele

    “I say the word nigga 100 times when I wake up in the morning. It’s keeps my teeth white.” – Paul Mooney.

    As do I, Paul…as do I.

    The word nigger is dark and ugly. Granted. Many of our forefathers fought for and dreamed of a day when that word no longer be used to belittle us. Granted. There were many struggles, battles and wars fought and lives lost because of it. Granted.

    I am guilty of using the word on a daily basis. I am also guilty of smacking the taste out of someone’s mouth that used the word to reference me and my peoples about 3 or months ago. Why? Eh…why not?

    White folks came up with the word, and honestly, even if a rapper never uttered it on a track, or Dave Chapelle didnt say it 250 times in a half hour, or if I didnt greet my friends that way in front of white folks, they’d still say it. Even if they never say the word, they’ll will still think, act and treat us as second class. Shoot, if it wasnt for legislative action, we’d probably still not be able to vote and would have to run for our lives for even looking twice at a white woman. (Thank God that’s over.) We didnt start it and we’re not going to end it. The theory that white folks would respect us more if WE didnt say the word is completely ludicris.
    Bob wont hear me say it, but his grandpappy that fought in Vietnam and Korea and lived in a lilly white neighborhood til that affirmative action bullshit kicked in says nigger in his sleep. In the end, I really dont feel like there is a right or wrong in this situation. People are going to continue saying the word, deal with it. But I still would have smacked the bagel out of Stein’s mouth. (Ok, all Jews dont eat bagels and have the last name Stein. Just the ones I know.)

    And now to a more personal issue…

    Not to mention the stupid so-called “greeting”: “What’s up dawg.”

    So, I guess those same black men think of themselves as less than a dog?

    Ok. So I read a blog that basically blasted the great men of the illustrious Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc for many of their antics, including their particular penchant for and use of the word dog. It’s always real easy to shots at the throne from the outside looking in and I’ve love to sit here and explain to you the whole phenomenon of the word, but at the end of the day just chalk it up to a metaphor. I can assure you that in no way shape or form is the word used to degrade another brother nor do we think of ourselves than less than dogs, nor do we see any negative connotion associated with a dog. It’s a metaphor. One of the most essential tools in the Queen’s english. No more, no less. The same as using friend, brother, (bredren for my island folk), pal, chum, partner, and yes, even my nigga. And for the record, I dont have any friends named Rodney nor Tyrone.

    Back to my daily ritual, I stopped at 57, and I gotta get these pearly whites shiny!

  8. Seattle, thank you for your response.

    I do agree that “Nigger” was launched to prominence by Pryor, and that over time, the word became acceptable and entered into this country’s lexicon. And yes, even ex-slaves called themselves “nigger’. If you read and listen to archival ex-slaves narratives, some use this word to describe themselves and other blacks. Yes, it was a word taught to blacks to label themselves, and I guess, I give the ex-slaves some leeway, because they knew no better then.

    Therefore, I am more harsher on blacks who live in the 21ST Century.

    I also agree that the word will have a tough time dying, and maybe in future generations it may probably come to a demise in its usage among blacks.

    I may have not been clear in my comments that black people’s not using this word will cause whites to cease using it (publicly or privately).

    It will not.

    Blackness in America is despised and denigrated on a constant basis, and the word nigger does not have to enter into the scenario.

    Even if every black person who uses the word nigger ceased using it today, non-blacks would still have racist degrading thoughts aginst us.

    Hell, after almost 500 years of the vilification of blackness, it may take somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 years before this country/world finally starts to acknowledge the humanity of black people.

    (Not waiting with bated breath for that to happen anytime soon in my lifetime.)

    Yes, blacks did not start using the word nigger, and I know that whites (and other non-blacks) will not immediately respect black people if the use of nigger ends tomorrow. It is the worship of whiteness that must have an antithesis in blackness that keeps the binary dichotomy going.

    Not to mention the fact that there are some whites who are just dying to use the word nigger:

    “Hell, those black people use the word, so, why can’t I use it?”

    Hello!

    You are not a balck person, just as I am not an Italian, Mexican or Jew.

    It would not even cross my mind to say: “Dago/Wop”, “Mojado” of “Kike”, because I would open myself up for attack in having the temerity to think that I could use a disparaging pejorative word just because some other racial group may use it among themselves.

    I just hate the word nigger.

    Oh, and you are right on the word “bitch”.

    I have asked both young black men (“My nigga”), and black women (not all of them young!)…please do not sya such words. The request finds an ear from a few, but, then again, its back to the “nigga” and in very rare case “bitch”.

    Thanks for your patient comments.

    On, and on the names “Rodney” and “Tyrone”. . . .

    . . . well.I am a big fan of Erykah Badu 😉

  9. Okay, I have been reading yall’s blog for a while but never commented however, this post forces me to comment. I am a young, educated black woman and I use the word nigga quite freely. I will use the word almost anywhere except work and church. I have even used to the word to refer to non-blacks and in the presence of non-Blacks. It is not because I lack the vocabulary to find another word to use… it is because sometimes that is the best word for the situation. That word embodies the point I am trying to make at that particular time. For instance “nigga please,” or “you know you my nigga.”

    I am not even going to go into the history argument. From my perspective, words are words. They have different meanings which is why there are so many words. Saying I concur is not the same as I feel you, or I agree. Some times only a cuss word is the right word for a situation. Sometimes I don’t want to call a female promiscuous, I’d rather call her a hoe. Sometimes I don’t want to call my girls, my girlfriends, or homegirls, or sisters, I want to call them some bitches. Sometimes I don’t want to refer to a man as a dude, or brother, or dog, I want to call him a nigga. And I will not let anyone make me feel bad for using my ENTIRE vocabulary as I see fit.

    With that said, I have also had conversations with my non-Black friends about why it bothers me if I hear them use that word. In all honesty, as much as I would love to tell a non-Black person they can NEVER use that word, especially not in my presence, I realize the hypocrisy of that statement. When you have the Hip Hop industry throwing the word around it’s a little difficult for me to say Eminem can use it but you can’t. Or Latino’s can use it but not Asians; which is why I think you then have to go to the meaning behind the words.

    The beauty of speaking a language is that you can use words in certain contexts etc. to mean different things. While I would rather not hear a non-Black ever use the word, if my white friend is singing a song, or retelling a joke, or quoting someone and uses the word I may flinch but I don’t want to fight. If that same person is using it to describe someone or their actions, or as a racial slur then the gloves come off and I pray I don’t get a felony so I can at least find a new job.

    Lastly, I’d just like to mention I think Black people need to get off other Black people’s backs. Of all the injustice and issues we have, a word is the least of my worries. Instead of being “more harsher” on Blacks of any era, why not focus those energies to get upset over real problems like public school funding? Just my thoughts….and thank yall again for the workday distraction 🙂

  10. RightCoastLexSteele

    InsomniaPoet…

    MY MUTHA@#$%@$ NIGGA! Well put. I dont know you, but I think I want to marry you.

  11. Seattle, my last comment did not go through.

  12. Seattle Washington

    Mgmt is handling it… be with you in a sec…

  13. ROO to RightCoastLexSteele

  14. He was dead wrong for using the word. You did good for not knockng him the hell out. That was very disrespectful on his part and you can’t tell me he didn’t know he was being disrespectful.

  15. Vanessa aka Miss V

    i don’t like the N-word, so i try not to say (or write) the word at all. so with that said, i agree with Ann, but I also agree with Insomnia Poet. just because i don’t like the word, doesn’t mean that everyone around me must stop using it. yes, i’ll be pissed if i was called the N-word in a negative way, but at the same time, whoever said it has the right to. so essentially it goes back to my fave saying… just do you!

    but yeah Seattle, I would have to let that dude know about himself, too. I’m glad you handled it appropriately in the sense that you told him that you weren’t comfortable with him using it in your presence.

  16. “White folks came up with the word, and honestly, even if a rapper never uttered it on a track, or Dave Chapelle didnt say it 250 times in a half hour, or if I didnt greet my friends that way in front of white folks, they’d still say it.”

    – So true RightCoastLexSteele. We all say dumb shit behind closed doors. White people are no different. It’s the human element…

    Had a situation at very similar at work one time (never spoke on it before now), a white guy felt free enough to drop a “nigga” on me real quick. The guy immediately became the target of one of the worst comedic onslaughts I’ve ever laid on anyone. He’s a cool cat just a lil stupid and I had to let him know it. After he wiped away the tears, I explained to him the significance of thinking before speaking.

    I didn’t bother to explain the meaning of the word because he knew damn well what he was saying. It’s 2008, there’s been enough lessons on this shit on TV and he’s from right outside D.C., so spare me the bullshit. He got a little too “ballsy” and paid for it dearly. I didn’t get upset. First thing I did was laugh and I made him repeat what he said so he could hear himself. He too soon realized he that he sounded like a bozo, and now he’s a better man for it.

    Seattle, it was cool to get upset with the Jewish, guy don’t blame you at all. I personally would’ve blacked out on his fool ass homeboys though. They tolerate it so they perpetuate his bad habit. The thing that gets me is, the guy is Jewish. Of ALL the ethnic backgrounds on Earth, you would assume THAT guy would be sensitive to a word like that… Fuckin’ pricks, him and his friends are.

    Can’t say I don’t use the word. I try my best to curb my usage. Lord knows when I’m upset that word will fly around like nobody’s business. I’m sure there’s going to be a day when I stop all together. At the end of the day there’s a time and place. As long as we have hip hop cats lacin’ their verses with the words and our youth in the streets screamin’ the word without regard to who’s around ’em, there’s always gonna be that one non-white ass wipe to feel free to utter the word…

    We just have to be smarter. We just have to be more disciplined…

  17. This turned into quite the fiery post. Nicely done Seattle. With regard to the word, I use it. 95% of my close (Black) friends use it. I’ve had a white friend get happy and comfortable and use it…and he has not said it since I almost yoked him up. It’s situational to me. When I’m riding to work on the train, and I hear young black kids going nuts with the word in front of a train car full of white folks, I cringe. I’m sitting there in my suit, and people look at me like “that’s your people”. It’s not meant to be used anywhere at any time even if it is a term of endearment. Black folks can be just as ignorance with its usage as those that shouldn’t use it at all.

  18. RightCoastLexSteele

    To quote Bill Cosby from Boondocks: “Black people shouldnt use derogatory words to describe other black people. If you do, you’re a sambo and a coon…”

  19. So this is the type of situation I, as a black man, struggle with. Nigger is a word that elicits emotion. It can be positive emotion or negative emotion, depending on the context with which its said. I’ve trained myself not to react to the word negatively. Why? Cause if someone is trying to get a rise out of me by using the word, and they succeed in pissing me off, then they got what they wanted. Why should I be controlled by someones desire to see a show?

    The other thing that comes to mind is the rule that white people shouldn’t say nigger. Why not? Aren’t times changing? Aren’t we all more than skin color now? The word is often used as a term of endearment (no homo). I’ve been places and chilled with white and asian folk that I’ve called “my niggas”. Whether or not they felt comfortable enough to say the word, the feeling was mutual. ‘Ive seen white, asian and latino folk referring to themselves as niggas – and not in a negative way. Not only that, but I’ve heard black people say the word and felt uncomfortable with it because they had none of the cultural reference (or accent) to be using it. No, I haven’t forgotten that there was 400 years of slavery. I haven’t forgotten that there are white people that would like to string me up for being an educated, reasonably well off black man. I haven’t forgotten fighting kids on the playground back in the day cause they said blacks were inferior. I’ve just let it go. The way I see it, if you want racism to end in this world, you’ve gotta remove it from yourself first. Yeah, it makes me uncomfortable when a white person says nigger, but a kneejerk reaction of threat or offense doesn’t help in my view. All it does is re-enforce stereotypes and further submerge the dialogue on race this country desperately needs. I feel like nigga may have started out as a term of hatred and denegration, but has evolved into a self-referential term for both a black and an urban set of cultures. Telling people that because they don’t have a certain color skin, they shouldn’t identify with a certain culture seems almost as bad to me as when I’m chillin in Cape Cod and people assume I’m hotel staff.

    The last thing I want to consider is context. For this, I blame Dave Chappelle and Comedy Central. By not bleeping out nigger in the Chappelle show or the Boondocks, Comedy Central has re-positioned the term from being taboo to being risky. People hear it on TV, think its funny, and think they can get a laugh by saying it because it’s edgy enough to make Suzie blush, but it’s mainstream enough to not be censored. Sure, it’s been in hip-hop for decades, but you couldn’t get away with saying it on the radio, so people assumed it wasn’t something for mixed company. Times are changing though. Don’t get me wrong. If a white man comes up to me and calls me nigger, I’m going to let him know he’s crossed a line. I’d do it just the same way i do when non-west-indians start talking about yardie this, or bob-sled team that. But if someone is reciting a line from pop-culture, even if it makes me uncomfortable, I think its unfair to tell them they don’t have the right to sing that song or repeat that line. I may have to bite my tongue some times, but I think the cycle needs to get broken somewhere.

  20. RightCoastLexSteele

    “Nuff people cyan believe/JAMAICA HAVE A BOBSLED TEAM!!”

  21. RightCoastLexSteele

    Oh yea..

    ROO right back at ya peyso…but maybe we should keep the barking to minimum considering the topic.

    Or maybe not….ROOOOOO to the bruhz!

  22. Seattle Washington

    Iite. I couldn’t sit here and let things slide. First off, keep that barking stuff for kennel. Y’all can sniff each other butts on your own time.

    Whew. Got that off my chest.

    Ironman – why I agree with your initial premise of controlling your emotions so not to give in to what your antagonist might want, I don’t quite agree with your points thereafter.

    #1. No. The “We Are The World” mentality didn’t live past ’85. Although we are all currently hoping for change, there are still evident racial divides. As long as I can’t catch a cab or I get looks of confusion when I walk into my place of business, I know that we aren’t all the same skin color. I honestly don’t think that will change until we all are actually the same color (please see our interracial dating series).

    #2. I love when non-Blacks admire and don my culture. I can’t hate on that. There’s Asian kids with more swagger than some Black guys I know. That’s peace. But saying “nigga” is taking it too far. It’s a respect issue. If they respect my culture, they should know the weight that a word like “nigga” or “nigger” holds. Which brings me to my next point…

    #3. Yes you can check someone for saying it. If a White man walked up to me and said “nigger” and didn’t run for his life, I’d make sure he thought twice before saying it again (take that how you want). Just like a non-Black person was strolling up saying “What up my nigga” I’d have to let him know that I’m not his nigga and that he’s not a nigga either. Where we go from there is unscripted.

    You’re right, the cycle does need to get broken, but we can do that ourselves by taking an active role in not saying it. We can also break the cycle by making sure other people think more than twice about saying it and realize the weight that the word holds.

    Peace!
    Seattle

  23. RightCoastLexSteele

    Or else what? You gonna peck me to death dove guy? Gimme a break…

    Yes. This is your blog, kind sir. But you must allow me to retort…

    Mr. Washington, act like you know the white man for a second. We didnt come up with the word. They did. They damn near killed us all when we objected to their use of it. Just because we stop saying it is not going to make it drop off the face of the English American lexicon. Maybe we can sway some swing individuals, but what about the people who know exactly what the connotation of that word is and deliberately use it? You could never say the word again and be the most racist person on Earth. I think white people saying something is “ghetto” makes me cringe more than hearing them say nigger. It’s a passive aggressive jab they know they can get away with and simultaneously attaching a stereotype of race to socio-economic status. Is it really just a historical thing? Would you feel better if they picked a new word and rocked with that? (They probably already have and are keeping it away from us this time) Shoot, gay used to mean happy. A fag used to be a bundle of sticks. Why cant nigger mean something new. I’m from a nice little island where the word nigger didnt really fit into the lyaric. (Hold that) But as soon as I set foot on a college campus, I was greeted “What’s good my nigga?” I wasnt wearing any chains at the time and didnt just finish shuckin some cane, so I figured he didnt mean I was HIS nigga, esepecially since it was followed up by “These are my niggas X and Y and my name is Z.” They werent wearing any chains either and seemed relatively jovial, so I figured it was a good thing. I grew up w/ Latin cats whose ancestors faced the same downpression of colonialism as mine did, so I’m inclined to feel the same bond as I do with black folk. Cant they be my niggas? (Wont you be my neighbor…) And my Native American heads: the first people to be jay-jerked by the white man and only have $24, reservations and an open bar to show for it. My niggas, my niggas… If I were to offer an updated definiton of the word, it would suggest that these people persevere through tribulation or are resilient in the face of adversity, of course all this while having impeccable swagger. I already know what they think of me, so I’ll say it right to their face because guess what white man…I can take your job and your woman all in the same day. Yerp.

  24. Seattle Washington

    Mr. RightCoastLexSteele,

    It seems you have misinterpreted my response, so like Hov on “Party Life” I will slow down my flow and break down the content for you.

    Yes, White folks invented the word as we all know. I don’t expect them to stop saying it or thinking it just because we stop. Which brought me to my next point of making them think twice before they said it.

    The point I was trying to make was that, I’m not cool with White people coming to me and saying either “what up my nigga” or “hey nigger”. The original or derivative shouldn’t be coming out of their mouths. Hispanics, I understand where you’re coming from. I have many of friends that deal with same racial ignorance we all have. On the other hand, I know other Hispanics who don’t claim the African blood that runs through their veins. Yet another conundrum…

    And you’re right, a word can transform itself, especially in American culture. However, I doubt that “nigga” will shake it’s original meaning. “Fag” and “Gay” were words that didn’t have such a resounding, cultural effect which is why they could be transformed to their current meanings. But, hey I can’t stop niggas from saying nigga, that’s what niggas do. By the way, put that new definition on Wikipedia today.

    When it comes to America, I know what they think of me. Even if they don’t say it, the curse is still there. I know how I’m perceived and I know how I shatter it every time I open my mouth. Their misconception is part of what motivates me to conquer all and laugh about it, all the way to the bank. Which will only cause them to detest me more.

    Ahh, it’s a great life.

  25. RightCoastLexSteele

    Sir Washington,

    Definitely wasnt disagreeing with you at all, just wanted to throw something out there. Excellent post though. We’ll discuss on the side so management doesnt dock your pay.

  26. Seattle Washington

    Much appreciated b. Please holla @ me.

    And I wasn’t joking about that Wikipedia entry. Or at least Urban Dictionary.

  27. RightCoastLexSteele, I just wanted to say, thanx for the marriage proposal lets talk 😉 but seriosuly I agree with Seattle, I am loving your new definition…my favorite part is your recognizing that us niggas have ” impeccable swagger” even when we are at our worst!

  28. I’m maaaaad late, but in lieu of adding my own thoughts, Ann…if anybody feels u, I feel u ::pause::

    I agree 100%, but its not gonna go away on its own…people gotta want to get rid of it – I’m not so sure people do b/c the excuses made for the “cases when” abound.

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