EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

By Request: The N Word.

A friend asked if I had ever written up anything specifically addressing 'the N word' and I told her no.  We discussed the whole "-a" versus "-er" topic regarding how Nigg is applied and, seperately, the concept of "claiming" the word through desensitization.  And, of course, let us not forget the Sticks & Stones school of thought.  This is probably going to be one of those things that I write and I end up having second thoughts for days and weeks afterwards but fuck it, let's roll.

Application: One could argue that nigga has taken on the requisite flexibility to become the brown man's equivalent of dude and, in fact, for said brown folk that have infiltrated corporate america, the two have become so interchangeable that the choice of usage often depends primarily on the demographic makeup of present company.  Think about it. 

Perspective: Life can be like going to a stadium to watch a ballgame – there are literally tens of thousands of seats we can sit in to watch the game; and though we all watch the same game from every seat in the house, each seat offers a slightly different view.  I've heard opinions on the N-Word ranging from "the filthiest, dirtiest word in the English language"; to "I say nigger fifty times a day… it makes my teeth white", now that's pretty broad range huh?  I'd say the dirtiest word (or at least one of them) is coward, but that's just me… and that brings me to my next thought.

Getting Personal: I've always been one of those 'deeper meaning' kind of folk – as in, anything said without malicious intent likely won't bother me much.  For example, I'm in my 30s but I can still clearly remember the first time someone called me a nigger: 1981, a kid in my class named Justin called me from his house to tell me him and his buddy were going to whip my ass at school the next day for being a dirty, shit-colored nigger.  The following day, instead of brown-bagging my lunch I plastic bagged it because mom always packed me a can of juice and since a plastic bag is longer I could spin it up and brain him with it if he wanted to try me.  Yes, even at the age of seven I was thorough.  The point being that his use of the word was intended to make me feel bad about who I am and that just won't be tolerated.

Respect: Often when I encounter people from, say, the more beligerent end of the equation, they're either young militants or people actually old enough to remember Jim Crow and fire hoses.  Regardless whether you're from that time or not, if you aren't aware of what has happened, and if you don't respect the struggles those people had to endure to have the freedoms that are enjoyed today then you are doing yourself a disservice.  There are words to describe a person that benefits but does not appreciate and none of those words are compliments.

Evolution: Every generation seems to have a cute little nickname – The Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y…  I often refer to the present crop as 'Generation I Don't Give A Fuck'.  Of course every batch has their distinct flavor of tree-hugging protestors in general anything that isn't on MTV or MySpace.com just ain't that interesting to these little shits.  This is usually the demographic you're dealing with when you get the "I didn't say nigger, I said nigga.  That's a whole different word" argument.  Horseshit.  Plain and simple.  We're talking about the same shit, simply acknowledge that it's a slang word for a slang word and we're done here, let's move on. 

Bliss: Ever just sit and watch kids playing?  Kids that haven't been exposed to racism?  Kids that haven't even seen flinching and dirty looks much less racial slurs?  I have.  It's the reason I haven't given up yet.  Anybody that's ever burned themselves knows that fire is hot and it's got nothing to do with fireism, it's just growing up.  Badness happened and you learned from it and unless you're in some way damaged it's what you're supposed to do.  If all slurs and racism are learned behaviors and unlearning is a supremely difficult task to attempt (even a firefighter would call you crazy for rushing into a burning building without gear!), then, can the best weapon possibly BE ignorance?  As scary as it is to even consider the idea, if I pissed down your shoe twice a day for a week to try and aggravate you and you didn't even budge then not only am I not getting to you at all but I'm also wasting my time trying. 

I guess which side of this fence you find yourself on depends on whether or not you feel that the ends justify the means.  Maybe those little pricks have something of value to contribute after all? 


April 22, 2006 - Posted by | Observations

1 Comment »

  1. First of all, I reall like how you simplify to the readers what most of us already know in da hood(most urban communities) That we do use the word the same why young white american males( and all the other races that try to mimic them) use the word “Dude”.
    However it not a word that should be use in the professional setting, or out of respect around our elders. We need to respect that it is still a sensitive word amongst the kids of “Aquarius” and the genration before.
    To keep it real, The older genration and the newer genration will never see eye to eye. The younger genration is too unsensitive too selffish! and the older genration is to stubborn to open up to change. My personal opinion about the “N” word is away to keep a gap between the old in the new. not saying that there are not other reasons, just wanted to focus or look at a different point of view on the infamous “N” word.
    Great piece my nigga lol..

    Comment by Darcey Omeus aka. Golden Rod | April 25, 2006 | Reply

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