Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bring 'Em Out

Bring who out? All you white people that say nigga when you’re singing along to your favorite hip hop artist. And by favorite artist I mean you can recognize the song when you hear it and know the chorus.

Let’s make this clear right now. It’s not okay for white people to say the word nigga. Will I try to fight you if I hear you say it while you’re attempting to rap along with the song? No. Mostly because I would rather not sully my record over some dummy’s ignorance. So when TI comes and performs on campus I’m sure I will hear nigga slip from a few belligerent white mouths. And though I may give you the evil eye, I will most likely not address you nor let your dumbass ruin my experience. Singing along and saying the word nigga does not make you a racist. It just means you lack common sense.

There is no white colloquialism that compares to the way black people, myself included, use the word nigga. But for the sake of argument let’s say black people up and decide to enslave, demean, deny political power to, and rape white people for a few hundred years. You know…all that stuff that would in no way affect your cultural identity or hinder a race for years to come. And in the midst of this favor…because that’s what slavery was…a favor. Oh, this wouldn’t be a favor? Oh…it’s only a favor if you’re taken from a derelict continent like Africa…because Africa was in no way running things. It wasn’t like Africans were providing Europeans with a bunch of stuff they needed in exchange for clothes and what not to make them look fly. And that is in no way somewhat parallel to black people today. Point being black people started calling white people crackers during this hypothetical slavery period. Leading to this:


If this happened, I would not call white people crackas. Even if it was in a song I absolutely loved to sing because it’s by this really really hot white guy. Like, oh my God. So do us all a favor and self censor. I don't buy that whole I was drunk, I didn't know bull. If you're drinking to a point that you can't control yourself then I'm going to go with something way out on a limb here...way out there...something no one could ever imagine doing...I mean insane. Stop drinking so damn much stupid.

I am not interested in arguing with anyone about the appropriateness of this word, its uses, or any of that. I say nigga. White people can’t. Period.

And I’m talking about nigga. Not nigger. Don’t get it twisted.


Naima said...

brittani, while i disagree with your analysis of the appropriateness of the word and the assertion that "singing along and saying" the n-word does not necessarily make one racist...

we don't have to just give the evil eye at spring fling when T.I. comes to perform. we have time to organize and if we want to have some sort of action + response, we can.

if people are down we can find a fair way to address what T.I.'s presence here at yale reveals about our campus and national culture (both good and bad).

i'm glad you posted about this. ideas?

Anonymous said...

Brittani, I would never say (and have never before written) the word "nigga." I'm white. You say you're not interested in talking about why you find it acceptable for black people to sing along, using the word, but not white people. I wish you were interested, because I'm interested in trying to understand why. I've always followed what seemed to me to be perfectly acceptable instructions -not- to use any form of the n-word, since I'm white. But I would like to understand why you find an acceptable word to use, given the history of that word.

Brittani said...

I know what it means. In the words of Paul Mooney, "Everybody wanna be a nigga but don't nobody wanna be a nigga."
It's not that I'm not interested. More that I don't have the time to build an argument at this point. To put it simply (this in no way even begins to delve into the issue) the ability to take such a demeaning and hate filled term and develop it into what in most cases is used as a term of endearment (a better word escapes me) is an accomplishment that should not be blemished by the descendents of the originators.

Anonymous said...

I agree that if you are not black you can never say any variant of that word. It is straightforward. As for "being a racist" I think that phrase can sometimes preclude a deeper understanding of racism. I think of racism as a psychological and sociological disease to which noone is immune. I don't think there are a group of people in the world who are racists and a seperate group who are not. Racism is insidious and pervasive. There is no real litmus test that will tell the racists from the non-racists. Every thinking, mentally liberated, person has to diligently purge themselves of racist ideas transmitted (both discretely and bluntly) by American society. Of course you should call someone a racist when they act racist. That's language. But I wonder what people think of this conception of things and whether it has any value in the discourse, or whether it's just obvious or purely semantic.

Anonymous said...

Why not drop usage of the word altogether? I've always thought that it was unfair for black people to use the word (especially in hip hop culture) so flippantly and not expect white people to use it at all. That's hypocrisy - end of story. You can't just rant that you'll be offended when people use it at Spring Fling without giving justification for it. They like the same music, and some come from the same background and culture that would provide insight in to the meaning of hip hop and the race struggles that exist today. It's simply arbitrary to say who can or can't use the word but not say who can or can't listen to hip hop music. As far as the difference between "nigga" and "nigger" - I've always thought that they were the same and should be treated as such. I've always thought it stupid to try and make a distinction between the two when there really is not one. "Nigga" is better because it dropped the "r" and is a more slang derivation of "nigger"? I think not. It still has the same connotations, and in fact, may be even worse when black people use it because it perpetuates a self-hatred and expectancy of poverty and subservience in life. I understand that there is some cultural value to the use of the word in some art forms for expressive and prose purposes, but that does not dismiss the arbitrary distinctions made or account for the widespread usage in the black community. Black people have worked hard enough to make it culturally unacceptable for people to use the word "nigger" in the public sphere, so they should (practically) eradicate it from their own vocabularies as well.

Brittani said...

I know why I don't want you to say it. But do you know why you want so badly to say it?

Anonymous said...

Nigger nigger my nigger nigger.

A word is a word.

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