Meditations On ‘The N-Word’ And By That I Mean: NIGGER!!

Grown folk – well meaning, compassionate folks – are campaigning to ban a word – which is a complete and utter impossibility.  Why?

Could it be that there is such a sense of futility, and lack of imagination regarding the ‘structural’ and spiritual issues that confront us as a people – that its simpler to prune the roses in the concentration camp?

I acknowledge that the word nigger is incredibly potent and painful; that its been used in association with one of the most vicious, cowardly crimes known to man: lynching; that it is abused by many ignorantly and reflexively. But it is a word, one that I think should be spoken openly, albeit selectively, rather than swept under the rug.  The word Nigger itself means nothing without the historic cargo and current day toxicity beneath it.

Banning the word cannot happen, so the energy expended on this futile, symbolic activity would be far better spent on eliminating our functionally niggerous societal condition.  Or perhaps making sure we cure the nigga in us…

I don’t believe in covering up or repressing ANYTHING.  I say let it out, whether its Michael Richards or rappers being paid by white corporations to pimp themselves out.  It only exposes what’s really going on and when the word is used/misued, information can be gleaned from it.

But one of the diseases rampant in this euphemistic culture is folk’s addiction to cosmetic over substantive change. And preferring sugarcoating to castor oil.  ‘Make it plain,’ Malcolm said and I agree.

If there weren’t niggas in this society and in this world – would anybody be upset by the word?  Probably; but at least there wouldn’t be any people forced to live like and BE – niggers.

You can call a Jew a kike; chances are, when he rolls out in his Benzo, the sting’s just a little muted.

Amerikkka calls us nigga by deed — by DEED!  Amerikka seats us in the kitchen, misues our labor, attempts to keeps its white boot on our black necks. I don’t care what anybody calls me, its what you’re doing to me that matters.

A homeless dude I was working with a couple of weeks ago called me three or four niggas before picking up a rock and busting out the rear window of a vehicle I’d rented.  I didn’t give a damn what he called me; I was concerned about his unstable behavior.

People are so PC brainwashed, their self-estrangement is so complete, that they don’t even realize they hate you, until you heckle them at a comedy club…

The word Nigger only becomes irrelevant when there are no more niggas, when there are no more wars on niggas in the ghetto, in Iraq, in Africa.

I use the word nigga selectively – in my writing to illustrate American hypocrisy; and I use it privately among friends in humorous ways.  The idea of the subversive use of a term makes sense to me.  The idea that people might want to use that word for other reasons that I don’t agree with or couldn’t fathom occurs to me, also.

Do I want to hear white folks (or anybody including me) using the word with impunity?  Hell, no.  But there are a lot of other words that I don’t want to hear: poor, rape, war.  Unfortunatley, they exist, and more importantly the conditions damn sure exist. The descriptors are necessary to describe a reality: why aren’t we banning the reality rather than the words?

If we don’t speak of and on these issues with language imbued with truth, we will default to using lobotomized euphemism to describe hurtful realities.  This process causes communication to become more coded, more vague, more unintelligible and ultimately creates blindfolded, normative behavior.  The loss of meaning and clarity of the terms we use leads to cluelessly.

Let’s not be confused.  The power of the word Nigger is derived from its connection to the toxic waste dump of racism that has been mightily suppressed and denied and its connection to the actual niggerization practices rampant in the culture.  Shooting down symbols over substance will not get us to the Promised Land.

9 Responses to “Meditations On ‘The N-Word’ And By That I Mean: NIGGER!!”

  1. “when he rolls out in his Benzo, the sting’s just a little muted.”

    I don’t know that it is. As demonstrated by antisemitism, negative stereotypes can include perceptions of the Other as wealthy, and still degrade them to the point of being non-human. The stereotype of “bling” allows White Racism to perceive black wealth while at the same time retaining it’s power over, on the basis that this wealth is some how “unnatural.”

    The West has a long history of anthropology of wealth, and that “knowledge” is explicitly racialized. Agricultural wealth is natural, as it comes from cultured, land owning classes. Industrial wealth becomes natural because it represents the capitol holding class. Money lending and trading is unnatural because it’s Jewish. “Bling” is now just a racialized way of understanding unnatural wealth in the black community, and slur against black social advancement (even if it’s unrelated to entertainment, etc…) For another side of it, queer wealth is unnatural because we’re all lawyers in the lavender mafia and don’t have kids.

    America’s a funny place like that, and by funny i mean wrong. The boot on the neck doesn’t happen without the words in the mouth, and the words in the mouth don’t happen…

    The self-referential character of racialized discourses and actions makes it difficult to identify a single starting point. And so i think you’re right that banning the N word isn’t just impossible, it’s unlikely to usher in the Race Apocalypse and the second coming of the Perfectly Beige Jesus. But i guess i see the power of discourse to remove the social privileges of wealth and other advancements by dehumanizing the same. In America today, you can call a Jewish person a terrible name, but the sting is really most assuaged by the wide recognition of Jewishness as White. “All the money in the world” is still sitting in Swiss banks, having not gotten it’s previous owners out of anything…as long as the social discourses of the age regarded that wealth and social placement as unnatural.

  2. Greetings Lubangakene! Interesting post, however I don’t think my wife is in line with the essence of your arguements… but let me go back. I read your post and I decided to use “so-called derogatory” terms to refer to my wife. It’s all about context right? She knows I am madly in love with her and words are just symbols which codify our conceptual references….

    So I’m down in the basement yesterday watching USC vs UCLA. I’m getting all hyped up, yelling at the t.v. at points and I am getting thirsty. I shout up to my wife: “YO HOE! Can you get me a glass of coke please bitch!” Now please have a little patience ‘cause everything I remember after this is a little sketchy. I remember hearing what could be described as a “screech”. Have you heard the term “screaming like a Banshee?” I don’t know what a “Banshee” is and I am sure I have never heard one scream… but that is the thought that came to my mind when I heard that sound…. it was a blood curdling sound…. then there were flashing lights…. like the colours of a rainbow…. then I remember darkness…. no…. more like stillness…. I can only describe it as cold, lifeless stillness…. then I was on a beach…. I was in a haze but the sky was very dark and I saw a light…. and as I was approaching this light I saw a man who I took to be Jesus…. he had this incredulous look on his face as I approached and he was “shaking his head”…. it was like he was saying “nigga, what were you thinking!”.… at this point I think I heard someone yell “HOLD ON BUDDY! WE’RE ALMOST THERE! YOU CAN MAKE IT!!! JUST HOLD ON!!!!”

    The doctors said the operations were mostly successful. They were able to remove my balls from my throat and my tongue from up my ass and re-attach them. They said that after a while I probably won’t notice the limp or lisp and in time, I should be able to lead a normal life again. The police said that they and the Crown Attorney (District Attorney) have decided not to charge my wife as “there would be no reasonable possibility of a conviction.” They are still contemplating charging me though…. but “stupidity” isn’t a statutory offence. Plus I think deep down they feel sorry for me. Oh yeah…. The doctors also said that they will be able to unwire my jaws by December 23rd. I’m happy about that! I want to greet my Mother on December 25th with “MERRY CHRISTMAS CUNT!!” I hope she has a better appreciation for the rationality of your arguments. It’s all about context right!? Anyway my bro’…. I need to take some more meds and go back to sleep.

    Walk Good.
    Asa.

  3. HaHaHA! That was funny, Asa. The only people who should use “The Word” are those with health and life insurance and a vest. And I guess in your case, a caste iron cup!!

  4. I don’t know if I people that read this blog would be interested in reading and participating in a blog that is trying to give solutions that really work for African American families and our issues. It is http://www.concrete-solutions.blogspot.com . Maybe folks will read it.

  5. LOL Asa but: is it really a parallel example, since you’re not a woman … ?

    Cosmetic rather than substantial change, yes, this is a problem.

    But: an abusive term is an abusive term and part of the substance is having to put up with abuse, no?

  6. I get it. If we ban “the word” (whichever word you want to insert here), the attitudes and actions will still remain – perhaps new words will spring up in place of the ones that have been removed.

    But I can’t help thinking some words are harmful, because of the symbolic meaning attached to them. Calling someone a particular word has a cultural meaning, and places that person within the framework of hierarchy. And in order to get out from underneath those words, and that hierarchy, action has to be taken to protect people from the harm inflicted. I don’t know – it’s hard to discuss, because where does the line get drawn? who can say what words are harmful or not? who can say which people have the right to be offended by which words?

    I support limits on hate speech, but I do recognize the difficulties with drawing those limits. I think what is more important than the right to say whatever you want to say is the right not to be spoken about or depicted in harmful and derogatory ways.

    Asa, well put. I hear ya.

  7. What’s up brother! It’s good to see you back. I like the post from Myspace. I pray that one day we can all follow that list. The world would be so much better. So we think?

  8. Some words are harmful, but they are more harmful when they the relationship between word and condition is directly connected. You can call me nigga if I’m living on a hill in LA, have no obstacles, other than those I put in my path. But don’t call me nigga when the game is rigged and boobytrapped, designed for me to lose. Then word and condition are tightly correlated. Most white folks never use the word nigga (to the face of a black person). The overwhelming majority of black folks probably rarely use the word. So what are we really arguing about?

    Is the use or or existence of the word why we are where we are???? Or is it the hate itself, the contempt and the concomitant BEHAVIOR what is at issue?

    I believe in free speech; I want to know who thinks I’m a nigga. The way folks are wired now, everything is underground. You can’t tell a racist from an anarchist.

  9. What up, Bess! Had to get black in the game. I’ll be checking you out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: