N***a This! N***a That!

kanye bx

Warning: I use obscenities in this piece. If you are faint of heart leave this discussion to the big boys and girls.

Isn’t it funny how we let words direct our lives and behaviours? Isn’t it funny how we tiptoe around some word made up by some person decades ago and make it so significant that we can get really upset about it or even get arrested for it if enough pressure is drummed up, usually these days via social media?

This ‘nigga’ ‘nigger’ thing has been doing the rounds for decades and we have been dancing the hot floor dance around it for just as long. Kanye West’s mother in law tweeted about him celebrating his song ‘Niggas In Paris’ but couldn’t quite bring herself to use the actual title of the song. That’s okay. There’s no finger pointing. I’m just highlighting the discomfort that it’s usage still brings and that people are still either divided on it or are unsure of how to, or if they are allowed to use it.

I wondered if we are any closer to seeing it as just another word yet?

In the 1955 black and white war film The Dam Busters we met Nigger the dog. I snickered every time they called or spoke to Nigger because of the complete innocence and casualness of it’s usage. This was of course way before our pc times and many black dogs in the UK were called Nigger in those days with a sort of coy, slightly disingenuous ignorance about how the name came to be.

Kanye West questions that if his fellow hip hoppers have transmuted the ‘nigger’ word into a softer meaning via ‘nigga’ and it’s all fine and good to use now, could they accept their fathers being called ‘nigga’ or why the sensitivity still when white people use it?

The power of words is always an interesting conversation but when you add a bit of race to it there is always more frisson and adjusting of suddenly tight neck ties.

SO SCHOOL ME

What say you?

1. It’s just a motherfucking word? (As are obscenities). Why are people so bloody uptight? 😯

2. The struggle is still there, so shut your pie hole The Ed! You cannot use the word unless you are black and even then, just…no!

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74 comments

  1. Hey Ed, I’ve been away for a couple months, and how refreshing to come back to your wonderful, insightful (whatchmacallits) (word for don’t know what to call it LOL)

    OK, love the Nigga debate! It’s so stupid and so pathetic I could laugh and cry at the same time, hear me home boi? Nigga gets used in the ghetto all the time. It’s practically the only word they use next to ‘fuck’. People need to stop being so up their own asses, PC, and trying to ‘please an unpleasable’ population.

    I was born in South Africa during Apartheid days. Nigga is an American term for a black person, oh, oooops, a person of colour! but in South Africa, they called them ‘Kaffas’. Not nice at all. I was too small to use that term and besides, these wonderful people of colour were my friends!

    If Americans in da hood, are still using the word ‘Nigga’, then I believe it’s perfectly acceptable for anyone to use it. In South Africa, NO one uses the word ‘Kaffa’, as it’s seen as highly derogatory, and I think it’s actually illegal.

    So, if the Nigga finds it fine to use that term on a person of colour, who’s to stop ’em? and in turn, who picks out the few that ‘are allowed’, like ‘the Nigga club’, and if you’re invited, you can use the term. I personally have never used the term, as it’s foreign to me.

    Which reminds me. In South Africa, when little, I used to get sweets at the shop every Sunday, and they had round liquorice balls that were known as ‘Nigga balls’. It was a term that no one even gave a second thought to!! There was no connotation, no laughing, and if someone had to tell a child that it was wrong to call them that, the child would completely not understand. Just as ‘suckers’ are suckers. No connotation, just a word! How strange people are.

    1. ‘How strange people are’ – you said it! And yes I have missed you! I have a memory like a….thingy….(can’t remember the word) and said ‘I must check up on Lady D’ and still forgot, so I didn’t even know you were away.

      Yes, for me this debate is most interesting in the way this word means so many different things and feelings to different people. Some are deeply offended, putting hordes of significance onto the word and others shrug and couldn’t give a toss about it.

      I also find it interesting how this changes as you travel the world and find that historically blacks were insulted with local words like ‘kaffa’ or ‘schwartz’ so ‘nigger’ had less importance attached to it.

      ‘The Nigga Club’ lol. I don’t know who has the keys to that particular joint, but you’ll see that some claim ownership of them in this debate.

      Your correction of ‘a black person’ is an example of what I’m saying also (sarcastic or not 😉 ). Folks in the UK find ‘coloured people’ (yes they used to say that!) an offensive term and prefer ‘black’ on the whole, whilst in some places , ‘black’ is a no no transmuted to ‘African American’ or whatever. Your summation is as ever the best. People are strange creatures. Welcome back!

      1. Hey Ed! I missed you too! All the crappy magazines are no match for you my love. (seriously). Thanks for your kindness to me as usual. It’s good to be back, and able to participate with these whatchmacallits again. LOL…..

        One serious question….I’m busy writing a book. Do you know of any publisher, or the process I should go through when I’m finished the manuscript? I would really like it published, and think I’m a good writer uh hum….x x

    2. “It’s so stupid and so pathetic”
      “hear me home boi?”
      “It’s practically the only word they use next to ‘fuck’”
      “Nigga gets used in the ghetto all the time”
      “trying to ‘please an unpleasable’ population”

      Are you serious?? How is this, in any way, acceptable/appropriate??

      I am not even sure where to begin. perhaps you can answer a few questions for me.

      1. What makes “the nigga” debate, in your eyes, “so stupid and so pathetic”?

      2. “Home boi”?? Is this what you consider a sense of humor? or is it your way to generalize an entire race of people?

      3. “It’s practically the only word they use next to ‘fuck’” more stereotyping perhaps?

      4. Do tell, what else do you know about “the ghetto”?

      5. “Unpleasable population”? Are you referring to black people…oops people of color?

      6. “these wonderful people of colour were my friends” relevance?

      7. “So, if ‘the Nigga’ finds it fine to use that term on a person of colour…” the nigga?

      8. “Americans in the hood”?

      9. Do you even know the history of the word nigga/nigger?

      10. Do you know that people of this “unpleasable” population, …oops blacks…oops people of color, have gone/are still going through? In regards to the justice system? environmental racism? systematic racism? job opportunities? etc…

      1. Thanks Janeice! Hope D (TradeRoutz) gets back to you…very interesting points and slant on the debate.
        5. I took ‘unpleasable population’ to be everyone in general, but let’s see.

      2. oops, I see I’ve hit a raw button. Let me explain…

        First off, the ‘racism’ debate, has been going on for so long, it IS pathetic,bordering on ‘purposely trying to make a problem out of what could be nothing at all’.
        I see all the colours that walk past me, and they are all beautiful, but unfortunately, there ARE gangsters, who do call each others ‘nigga’ (sp?) now you tell me, WHY is it ok, for a person of colour, to refer to his or her Brother as a ‘nigga’, but if a person who is European says that, all hell breaks loose? why? It’s either a good or bad word. You didn’t answer that, instead you asked me the question again. Are you confused by my very straight forward question? I don’t mean any disrespect here, I’m repeating what IS happening out there.
        All I know about the ghetto is what I’ve read. It’s poor, people are hungry, and obviously they will turn to crime as a means of getting money for food and/or housing rent. I totally understand that. I too grew up in poverty, and know exactly what it feels like to go hungry and cold. So I’m not talking down at anyone, I’m realaying the realities of what is already happening.
        If people of colour, beautiful colour, want to use the word ‘nigga’ (which I find offensive as it goes back to the slave trade, although when the Europeans were captured as slaves way back in the 1600’s by the people of colour, I don’t know what they called them, but that, never gets mentioned) then, they have deemed it OKAY for anyone to use it. They are demeaning themselves, and perhaps they don’t even know it?
        I know that there are more gangs consisting of people of colour than any other gangs, hence the justice system being so harsh, but take a country like Africa.
        There, a person of colour can rape a 6 month old baby, and get away with it! So who’s to say what ‘justice’ is and in what country? I don’t think we can pin this justice thing down to just one or two countries, it goes right across the globe and it is NOT only people of colour who suffer. Do some homework, you’ll be shocked at what other Countries do to ‘slaves’ they capture to work for them under false pretences. People who are desperate and who’s families are starving. This is a global problem, not just ‘this country’…….

    3. Raw button? Don’t be fooled. I am amazed by the fact that you have so much to say about a topic you clearly know so little about and am still trying to understand why you feel that any of this,
      “hear me home boi?”
      “It’s practically the only word they use next to ‘fuck’”
      “Nigga gets used in the ghetto all the time”
      “trying to ‘please an unpleasable’ population”
      was appropriate or acceptable?
      I am still unsure who you are referring to when you say “unpleasable population.”
      Okay so now you’re saying that not just “the nigga” debate is stupid, but the whole talk about RACISM debate is pathetic?? I am FLOORED! That has to be one of the craziest things I’ve read in a while.
      I am not sure why, but whenever it comes to discussing race and racism, many whites, feel the same way you do. Who are so ready to dismiss “talks about racism” as pathetic or stupid. Who have this “omg, people of color need to get over it” attitude. “Purposely trying to make a problem out of what could be nothing at all” when racism is a REAL problem. If I am still being followed around stores because the person working there is scared I might steal something solely based off the color of my skin; racism is a REAL problem. If I have to fear for my life every time I get pulled over by a police officer, racism is a REAL problem. If I can’t wear my hair out (natural) because it’s deemed “unprofessional”…then guess what? Just because you don’t have to deal with it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!!!
      Racism (no matter how LONG it has been talked about, no matter how you, as a white woman, may think it makes something out of nothing) is a very real thing and is a real problem and it NEEDS to be addressed. It isn’t just some myth that people of color make up to get sympathy votes. It’s funny because you’re saying you are so tired of talking about race and racism…how do you think people of color feel? This has been an ongoing struggle that did not, I repeat DID NOT end with slavery. Perhaps if you did some homework you would know that. Google ‘Sharecropping’, Google ‘jim crow laws’, Google ‘environmental racism’, the list goes on and on and on and on and on…
      I can’t speak for Europe, but here in America (The U.S.A to be specific) the justice system systematically puts black people in jail (meaning blacks are purposefully targeted). Fact: Blacks are incarcerated nearly 6 times the whites. Fact: 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as Blacks, yet Blacks are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites. Fact: Blacks serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). There was actually a Baltimore Cop, Michael A. Wood, who spoke about policing in the ghetto of Baltimore (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndg-JGmYryA) you don’t have to watch more than 10 minutes to understand that there is a serious problem with racism here in the U.S. Here’s some HOMEWORK for you, Breaking Rank by Norm Stamper. An ex-cop who mentions (in this book) that often times when a cop would make a call regarding a person of color, they would call it a “NHI” meaning no human involved. We aren’t even seen as HUMANS, maybe that is why so many UNARMED black men and women are being killed at alarming rates by law enforcement. Here is a good read about that (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men)
      Honestly, I can go on for days about racism in America, job opportunities (Fact: whites with a criminal record are more likely to be hired than a black person with NO record at all…now, before you say some b.s. like “maybe they were better qualified” there was a study conducted by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan (http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html) in which they sent out over 1,300 resumes. IDENTICAL RESUMES. The only difference was that half had typically “white sounding names” and the other half had typically “black sounding names.” Can you guess who employers were more likely to call back DESPITE the two resumes being the same?? Ding ding ding!! Resumes with white sounding names were 50% more likely to get a call back. This study has been since duplicated a number of times, and the results are the same). in the medical world, etc. Speaking of the medical world, another good read about that is Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington, she’s not talking about the Tuskegee experiments, she’s talking about in the world TODAY and how being a person of color affects how you are treated. So please spare me the speech about how it makes something out of nothing when people are affected by racism every day.
      But I digress. As a person who is amazed by the fact that you have so much to say about a topic you clearly know so little about, the word niggA and the word niggER, have two completely different connotations. You would know that if you did research, but instead you chose to wallow in ignorance. The fact that you have to put “(sp?)” after the word nigga clearly shows that you don’t know that there is a difference. Being a “gangsta” has nothing to do with using the word “nigga.” Being in the ghetto has nothing to do with the use of the word “nigga.” “Nigga” is often times a term of endearment meaning “brother” or “friend”. “Nigga” was not a term used during the slave trade, “nigger” was. “Nigger” was used to dehumanize an entire population of people.
      Now, before you write off the “nigga debate” as stupid and pathetic, how is the fact that people of color are demeaning themselves for turning the word into a “positive” and different than how the donkey came to represent the democratic party in the 1828 election? Don’t know what I am talking about? Here you go http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/how-did-the-republican-and-democratic-parties-get-their-animal-symbols or you can do some research of your own.
      I would respond to your last paragraph but I stopped reading after you stated that Africa was a country. “I know that there are more gangs consisting of people of colour than any other gangs, hence the justice system being so harsh, but take a country like Africa.”

      1. Janiecemuir, First of all, I had NO idea you lived in the States, a Country renowned for it’s disgusting racism. Yes, I am aware of all that you say to me about the justice system in America. There is NO justice for people of colour there and in fact, the police, randomly shoot black people just because they can. I completely agree with you.

        I had no idea that you are from America, and thought you were talking about the UK. You see, I’m from South Africa, and before you start on me about ‘apartheid’, another atrocity visited upon people of colour, I was never part of that, being too young at the time to vote or know any different.

        I grew up on a farm, and my ONLY friends were black kids and I had a black Mother, so I don’t get into racist debates, for that reason only. I know very well what it felt like, to start school, and wonder why my little back friends couldn’t come with? I could never ever understand, and as a result hated school, and couldn’t wait to get home to my BLACK family.

        I now raise money for the underprivileged who are largely people of ALL colours, including Whites, who are severely preyed upon by the blacks in South Africa (which is a Country)), sorry I know Africa is a continent, I didn’t make myself clear.

        Do I think it’s fair? NO!! the young generation in South Africa now, have no idea what apartheid was, (over 25 years ago now that it was disbanded) and that’s why I say ‘stop, get over it, as I had to) . I lost my Mother and my friends due to apartheid, and I was destroyed by that, only due to the colour of their skin. The police moved in and told them to move, and I wasn’t allowed to join them. I was left.

        It is my honest feeling, that to continue a legacy, which is so horrible, that it blows the mind, is just harmful (South Africa). However, in America, different story, as I know you have to contend with the ‘powers’ bullshit every day. You are victimised constantly, I know. I’ve read up on your situation a lot, and it makes me sick, as I grew up with people like you.

        When I emigrated to the UK from SA due to the crime, my best friend, who is BLACK, came with. She’s now gotten her UK passport, earns good money, and is not victimised, as it doesn’t happen in this country. Funnily enough, she calls ME Mommy. Ha! when I had a Black Mommy. It’s so funny and endearing. I love her to bits. So I’m sorry I came across as being racist or unfeeling. I know how you feel, and the country you live in, perpetuates your situation 1000 times over, every day, and I truly feel for you.

        I just hope that we can put a positive spin on the black/white thing, as the issue continues all the time, and our kids inherit this and it’s just so sad.

        Perhaps my attitude comes, from losing my own Mother and siblings who were ALL black Africans, and whom I adored, and who took such good care of me, even though we were poor, it didn’t matter. Love always saw us through, That and constant laughter.

        Don’t worry about what people say about you. I’m sure you are a beautiful human being, and that’s all that counts. What’s in your heart, and stuff them all. Sorry I hurt you. xx

  2. “Words can be medicines; they can also be poisons. Words can heal; they can also kill… It all depends on how, when and where they are use and against whom! Let us not abuse our words. It’s a misuse of the tongue!”
    ― Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes

  3. They are all just words – and yet… See, I can get pretty mad at people who use words that seem to be used because of their power to hurt. But the problem isn’t in the words themselves, it is in the intentions of the people who use them. A black person using the word ‘nigger’ to another black person can’t be using the word to put himself above the other. I call myself ‘crippled,’ or even ‘gimpy.’ Another disabled friend prefers ‘gimpy,’ I prefer ‘crippled.’ However an able-bodied person had better being careful using either word. Why? What I choose to call myself is different from what you call me, especially if there is any lack of respect. The bottom line is, it’s not about the words, but about what the words represent. I’m not black, but I am disabled. And if you are talking to or about me, that is the word you’d better use. I don’t like it that much either, but it is the best of bad options, imo. And I, as someone who is not a person of colour, will not use the ‘n’ word; simply because I am not someone who can use it without sounding like I lack respect for those who it could be used to describe.

    1. Oh now, very nicely put. I agree totally. Whilst I couldn’t care less what I’m called (as far as I know) I wouldn’t use potentially derogatory terms on anyone else because I don’t know their journey or their sensitivity to it.
      One man’s meat and all that. I have known disabled people to take deep offense at some words used to categorize or describe them whilst others wonder what the fuss is about. Each to his own with the key word being respect I guess.

  4. I feel the fear is, if someone outside of the race is so comfortable with saying nigger, what else racial insensitivity are they so comfortable with? It is assumed they are saying it to establish their racial superiority. When saying nigger stops working for them, what’s their next step? How far will they go then? If nigger comes so easily, what’s stopping them from pushing a nigger in traffic when their having a really bad day and they felt that person was in their way? Or using any and all connections to get their unjust due in a minor court dispute? Far fetched but reasonable.

    I personally just feel it has an ugly history and we should address our Brothers and Sister with greater decency because we deserve it,

    1. Oooogh very nice last sentence. Very nice indeed.
      However, even if someone does not use the word openly what is to stop them being and doing all those things you have mentioned?
      Also, doesn’t their open use of the word show you exactly what you are dealing with? Isn’t it more honest? Often subtle, quiet racism is so hard to prove or do anything about.

  5. Interesting blog! I’ve been called a ‘bubble’ a lot in my life, amongst other things. It doesn’t bother me really. It’s just a word. I guess words don’t affect me unless they are said in anger…you know, when someone is ‘speaking daggers’ at you. Purposefully to hurt you. In those instances even ‘shut up’ feels like they’re calling me a cunt. I don’t use that word because I wouldn’t want to make it so easy for people to think ill of me. But I use cunt and queer quite a lot, probably because I am both. Who knows. I enjoyed your thoughts either way though, thanks for blogging them. 🙂

      1. Okay, wow really re Kanye West?! You become more fascinating with every sentence.

        The ‘k’ word. You’re right – a query I forgot to make to the commenter…could be ‘koon’ although isn’t that spelt with a ‘c’? Must brush up on my abuse!
        Lol. I’ll ask her.

      2. It’s rhyming slang for Greek. As in, ‘bubble and squeak’. But it’s generally meant as a racial slur…or at least it was by the little shits I went to school with who used to call me it. Now I look at the word and sorta think it’s cute….or witchy…I can’t decide. Are you guys from the USA? Maybe bubble is a UK thing.

  6. A student of mine put it me that he and his friend called each other ‘nigga’ because they were ‘claiming the word back’ and turning it into something that was theirs. When I asked them then why their white friends couldn’t call them that they said because history didn’t allow it!! He said if in history white people had used the word ‘nigger’ as a friendly greeting then fine but they hadn’t. So now they could’t use it at all. It may not be what I believe but I could see the logic for a group for 16 year old black boys trying to find their place in a predominantly white area of South East London.

  7. Hey guys,
    the “N” word is one of the words that you can’t use unless you’re a member of the group of people that it refers to.

    There are many words like this:
    the “B” word (women),
    the “F” word (homosexuals)
    the “P” word (people from Pakistan)

    I could go on, but here’s Tim Minchin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVN_0qvuhhw

    Anyway, this post feels a bit like “lowest common denominator click-bait”, not what I’ve come to expect from this excellent blog.

    1. Yomi, why would the ‘N’ word be meekly accepted by some (and you) as referring to anyone in particular? Is there a law that says you have to accept that because you are black you are a nigger and if you are gay you are a fag, if you are a woman you are a bitch? Sorry but is that how you see yourself? Diminished to being ‘a member of the group it refers to?’

      So if I shouted ‘Hey Nigger!’ out loud in the street, would you turn around and say ‘Yes?’ Or perhaps if I said ‘Hey Bitch!’ You would automatically claim that title too?

      Are you suggesting that minority groups must automatically protect the usage of daft names given to them by bullies thereby assigning significance to them as some sort of unwritten law?

      Also, I’m truly baffled and fascinated… why is a discussion about the words ‘nigger / nigga’ click-bait more than any other discussion I have had on sex, nudity, religion, politics, death or any other topic concerning the human condition?
      Are there some things we are permitted to discuss and others we are not? Do tell.

      Is it alright if I have a different opinion and experience to Tim Minchin? Or is he the boss of me suddenly?

      Your first paragraph is delivered like a law written in stone. Do I have to obey it because Tim Minchin says so, or am I permitted to discuss it and obtain other people’s opinions on the matter?

      I hope I don’t sound sarcastic, that is not my intention, or to be rude, but I’m honestly truly baffled. Unless I’ve mixed you up with someone else, (it’s possible!) I’m up for you disagreeing all you like, but I would have expected something more intellectual or well thought out from you.

      1. “Yomi, why would the ‘N’ word be meekly accepted by some (and you) as referring to anyone in particular?”

        Because of the history of the word(?)

        “Is there a law that says you have to accept that because you are black you are a nigger and if you are gay you are a fag, if you are a woman you are a bitch? Sorry but is that how you see yourself? Diminished to being ‘a member of the group it refers to?’”

        That’s not the way I look at it. It’s more a case of specific words being reclaimed by the people that the words were historically used to opress / insult.

        “So if I shouted ‘Hey Nigger!’ out loud in the street, would you turn around and say ‘Yes?’ Or perhaps if I said ‘Hey Bitch!’ You would automatically claim that title too?”

        Not really what I wanted to say. It’s more about reclaiming / repurposing these words.

        “Are you suggesting that minority groups must automatically protect the usage of daft names given to them by bullies thereby assigning significance to them as some sort of unwritten law?”

        No, I’m suggesting that the daft names are often reclaimed by the people that they oppress / attack. And that part of the relaiming is a ban on the use of the word unless you are part of the attacked / oppressed group.

        “Your first paragraph is delivered like a law written in stone. Do I have to obey it because Tim Minchin says so, or am I permitted to discuss it and obtain other people’s opinions on the matter?”

        A bit of a dramatic question. Of course you can discuss it, and I’m sorry if I sounded pompous … not my intention, perhaps I should’ve worked a bit more on the phrasing before I clicked the “post”button …

        “..I would have expected something more intellectual or well thought out from you.”

        That kind of sums up my feelings about the OP.
        The can we/ can’t we use the “N” word question. It feels a bit “been there, done that”, and I feel that you haven’t really shed any new light on the debate either. Or maybe the Dambuster’s dog and Ma Kardashian examples are lost on me(?) Genuine question.

      2. I SAY: “Yomi, why would the ‘N’ word be meekly accepted by some (and you) as referring to anyone in particular?”

        YOU SAY: Because of the history of the word(?)

        I SAY: – Is this a law I’ve missed? You don’t have to simply accept history as your present or future do you? Because a person was raped in your building a year ago does that mean you have to live with that as YOUR future, YOUR story?

        Because some blacks were called niggers in the past that means you have to accept the word today if you are black and somehow act as a personal bodyguard to protect / reclaim / re-purpose the word from all who might use it? Is that even do-able?

        If you choose to then God bless you, by all means run with it. My overall point being that the way one chooses to utilize history and words as tools is surely up to each individual – not just Yomi.

        …And before you say ‘I’m not telling people what to do.’ Re-read the language and tone of your first answer. Indeed it was pompous as you admit, which would suggest that as I said before, your comment was not ‘well thought out.’

        Of course I get the whole reclaiming of the word argument – but there ARE other opinions out there that disagree with reclaiming the word. I for one would like to hear them, hence this…um… ‘click bait’ ‘been there, done that’ post.

        _______________________________

        I SAY: “Your first paragraph is delivered like a law written in stone. Do I have to obey it because Tim Minchin says so, or am I permitted to discuss it and obtain other people’s opinions on the matter?”

        YOU SAY: A bit of a dramatic question.

        I SAY: – You got me! But I thought the way you wrote your answer was rather, ‘Hey guys, it’s my way or the highway. There is nothing else to consider. I am the fountain of all knowledge and I have spoken. Move along.’

        _______________________________

        I SAY: “..I would have expected something more intellectual or well thought out from you.”

        YOU SAY: That kind of sums up my feelings about the OP.
        The can we/ can’t we use the “N” word question. It feels a bit “been there, done that”, and I feel that you haven’t really shed any new light on the debate either. Or maybe the Dambuster’s dog and Ma Kardashian examples are lost on me(?) Genuine question.’

        I SAY: Yes, they are lost on you apparently, to be blunt. In a busy enjoyable debate you seem to be the only one confused, but sure, I’ll explain.

        This post was simply to explore ANY UPDATES on how people are CURRENTLY dealing with the words ‘nigga’ and ‘nigger.’

        Why? Because I did not have CURRENT answers to that question and wanted them.

        The Dambusters and Ma Kardashian were CURRENT experiences I had encountered that inspired me to write the post.

        The fact that people have discussed something before does not preclude updating / revisiting the discussion to see if there are FRESH answers on an old topic…although it seems to preclude it in your opinion as you say, ‘It feels a bit “been there, done that”’

        If you don’t revisit a subject or re-ask questions how can you tell if there are NEW, FRESH, INTELLIGENT opinions and solutions out there?

        This post SCREAMS that I’m looking for CURRENT, FRESH viewpoints! e.g.:

        ‘I’m just highlighting the discomfort that it’s usage STILL brings …
        I wondered if we are any closer to seeing it as just another word yet?’

        I mean, am I really having to explain this?

        _______________________________

        YOU SAY: “…I feel that you haven’t really shed any new light on the debate either.”

        I SAY: Clearly my expectations of this post and yours are different. Where do I say that my job is to shed new light on the issues I discuss? That is YOUR incorrect assumption projected on to me.

        But as a critic of MY post, have you done that yourself Yomi?
        Have you shed new light on an age-old, longterm social issue in one of your own posts lately and has it worked for you?

        Has it been populated by lots of people admiring or commenting upon your new light shedding?

        I’m just wondering why you have this huge expectation of me if you have not achieved it for yourself?

        Have you reaped the rewards from your chosen light-shedding style, especially considering MY style of writing has been the same since I started blogging and also since you first visited here.

        Isn’t that (and I hate to say it) a bit arrogant / pompous…again? Do as I say, but not as I do?
        Let’s even for a minute say you have done all those things…wtf?

        First you tell me the post I worked on is basically click bait, (which is just plain rude no? Very dismissive of my work) and then you critique it as if you are a knowledgable, high traffic blogging expert or a Pulitzer prize winning journalist – huh?

        _______________________________

        YOU SAY: ” It feels a bit “been there, done that…”

        I SAY: This is a shared planet Yomi…Other people’s experiences and opinions count! Not just your own! Clearly ‘been there done that’ for YOU is not ‘been there done that’ for me and the number of people who have offered their much appreciated opinions on this post.

        Since I started blogging this is the first time I have addressed this subject. Clearly I have not ‘been there done that.’

        You sound like the folks that go on comment boards all the time and say ‘Pah! This is boring, I knew all about this last month!’ – Yeah? Well good for you, but is it alright if everyone else catches up THIS month O Great One? (<—Purposely dramatic btw).

        I am merely the blog host – when have I EVER suggested I know all the answers or have new light to shed on anything?

        This is a discussion blog. My writing style to date is to state a premise backed up with the LITTLE I know and then ask OTHER people's opinions. The 'WHAT SAY YOU?' / 'SO SCHOOL ME' bit at the end of EVERY SINGLE debate post is the somewhat massive clue in that regard.

        _______________________________

        In conclusion…

        I'm sorry, but where a spanking is needed – if I can be 'arsed' – I'm here to deliver it.

        Again, apologies if I sound rude. It's absolutely not my intention and the internet can often mask one's true demeanour – It's not rudeness or dislike leaking into my words, it's bafflement.

        What you might be sensing from this answer is a puzzled expression of WTF?
        I'm just at a loss and as I'm writing I keep shaking my head saying WTF?…Huh?!…Hallo?

        Folks like you truly baffle me Yomi. You really do.

        I feel like I'm missing something??!!!…Hallo???!!! Anyone???!!!

        By all means reply, but if you come back at me with something dumb I'm moving on. So bring it sharp, well dressed, intelligent and well thought out this time and I'll continue to participate.

        I love a debate, but this is just nonsense. Stop giving me ammunition. Peep down the comments, you are a lone (apparently pissed at something?) wolf; very much in the minority.
        It doesn't mean you are necessarily wrong, but you are alone with your misgivings and this is not a good use of our lives. Time is money. Come correct or leave it.

      3. Well, what an adventure this is turning out to be!
        Thanks for taking the time to write your last reply (hope you didn’t break your caps lock key), I’ll hang onto this line – as it resonates with me:

        “‘I’m just highlighting the discomfort that it’s usage STILL brings …
        I wondered if we are any closer to seeing it as just another word yet?’”

        I wasn’t looking at the debate from this perspective… the “has it changed over time” perspective.
        Apologies for taking three comments to get the right perspective.

        In my defence: I’ll say that one of your examples was from “Dambusters”, which probably pre-dates Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of blood” speech (fact-checking required), so, maybe there was a bit of scope for me to get confused.

        Also I did try to suggest that there are many other words that have the same “powers”, and that the groups oppressed by those words often reclaim them, this sentiment was echoed in a post by a lady with disabilities (a bit further up this page), so am I really that wide of the mark?

        Anyway, I had to chuckle at this one:

        “Have you shed new light on an age-old, longterm social issue in one of your own posts lately and has it worked for you?”

        My wp posts are about writing and testing code. Very few age-old, long term social issue’s there.
        In fact, this (your excellent blog) is pretty much the only place on wp that I comment on, but if you want to check out some other places that I contribute to you can take a look here (www.afropean.com, also on facebook). Shameless plug, but you set it up for me.

        See you on another post sometime.

      4. YOU SAY: In my defence: I’ll say that one of your examples was from “Dambusters”, which probably pre-dates Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of blood” speech (fact-checking required), so, maybe there was a bit of scope for me to get confused.

        I SAY: Yeah but I just watched the film recently. This blog is not an official recorder of chronological historical events! Just what is in my head, on the net, in my small circle of awareness or in the news at any time! Neither the blog or I am that clever.

        YOU SAY: Also I did try to suggest that there are many other words that have the same “powers”, and that the groups oppressed by those words often reclaim them, this sentiment was echoed in a post by a lady with disabilities (a bit further up this page), so am I really that wide of the mark?

        I SAY: Nope. Never said you were. I am having a go at your delivery i.e from your ‘my way or the highway’ approach to coming to wee on my blog basically.

        YOU SAY: Anyway, I had to chuckle at this one:
        “Have you shed new light on an age-old, longterm social issue in one of your own posts lately and has it worked for you?”
        My wp posts are about writing and testing code….

        I SAY: I know all about your blog dear Yomi. The people that visit me are very much valued so (schedule permitting) I always take the time to know who I am addressing. To me that is standard good blogging practice and good manners.
        I don’t ‘jester’, I do my homework. I knew when I wrote that line that you had a tech blog, but that does not mean you might not have another blog elsewhere.

        Of course I will check out your shameless plug, (great name btw) – it’s just what we click baiting, repetitive, derivative old bores do. 😉

  8. The N word isn’t like using a sexist word like “bitch” or “hoe” to describe women. It isn’t like using a homophobic word like “faggot” or “poof” to describe a homosexual. It is a word that goes beyond innapropriate teasing or bullying but is steeped in the historical oppression of black people. The N word is about generations of sustained abuse against a whole race of people. And it’s painful because it deny’s a person’s past, present and future. It deny’s his mother, brother, sister, maybe even wife and children. It does not just insult one person but the very fabric of who that person is and where he comes from.

    To black people, the N word means “rape”, it means “murder”, it means “kidnap”, it means the denial of rights and of education, it means psychological abuse, it means “oppression”, it means “slavery”. It means so much more then you could ever possibly understand unless the word is meant to describe YOU. Unless your family went through the horror of some of the most despicable acts to have ever been committed by human beings and survived it.

    The N word was not created by black people. It was created by white people to make them feel superior to black people who they wanted to feel inferior, and who they wanted to be subservient to them.

    The “ignorance” (because that’s what it is), of black people (usually rappers it has to be said), who use this word to describe themselves and others cannot be compared to white people, who historically used it to inflict pain and suffering on a people for hundreds of years. It does not compare. And anyone who continues to use this reasoning as an excuse to use this deeply offensive and painful word needs to ask themselves why they are using it in the firstplace?

    If you are not black, then you may never be able to understand. I can accept that. But I would expect, if you are a human being who has love and respect for all human beings as your equal, to accept and respect that we never want to be described in this way.

    In this day and age, I would only expect racists, who know full well what that word means to use this word, and they don’t want to know no better so I expect no better.

    I also don’t expect better from ignorant rappers, and neither should you, however I think you know how ridiculous it sounds to compare the two.

    And just to introduce myself quickly: I am a black woman from the UK. I have always felt proud to be black, I wouldn’t change it for the world, BUT to be black anywhere in this world is bloody hard. If you have never been oppressed or discriminated against (i.e if you are white), then I’m sure things appear pretty rosy to you, and of course they have improved somewhat, but I can tell you now: it ain’t easy, and it ain’t all rosy – as a black person you have to rise above almost everyday, you get hurt everyday, insulted everyday, and it’s tiresome. It becomes tiresome.

    As for me, I just want everyone to live in peace and harmony. I think racism, homophobia, sexism, the lot is completely pathetic and they ALL need to be left in the dark ages.

    Silk La Fox

    1. Silk, I once heard a performance from The Last Poets – I don’t know if you heard of it…or them. (Forgive me I’ve yet to check out your blog and bio so I don’t have an inkling about who you might be aware of…I’ll get there soon hopefully).

      If you DON’T know, you could say they were the fore-fathers of (conscious) rap music basically.

      They were at a gig talking to their audience and suddenly they started using the word ‘nigger’. The were ‘niggering’ this and ‘niggering’ that all over the shop. The (African American) audience started to get really annoyed and by the end were bristling with anger almost ready for a fight. Then one of the poets said, ‘What are you all getting angry for? I’m not talking about you! I’m talking about niggers! Are you a nigger?…Then why are you claiming the name?’

      Secondly, yes the word has EXTREMELY dark history, but the level of impact and importance assigned to it TODAY is surely down to the individual? All those things you aligned with the word are what YOU continue to align to the word. You and many others of course.
      But I’m saying (and the last poets are saying) that is a choice. Of course I don’t know what happens to you daily but in my experience I have found that people who have been through the most hideous things personally, rape, kidnap, whole family killed, genocide etc and have chosen to give precedence to the minute they are living in as opposed to the past, seem to carry less weight on their shoulders.

      I’d also say that people of all colours have faced varying degrees of discrimination. Your line, ‘If you have never been oppressed or discriminated against (i.e if you are white)’ seems to suggest that only black people have been discriminated against and oppressed.

      As well as the black holocaust we’ve had a Jewish holocaust, which included gypsys, gays, blacks and the disabled. We’ve had genocides that cross race and religion and even same race genocides by whites AND blacks against their own colour in our lifetime.
      Poor people of all colours have been enslaved and put upon historically by their richer counterparts. Disabled people have never had an easy time of it. So without taking anything away from the enormity of the African slave trade I just don’t think historical and current suffering is something that applies to solely black people, or perhaps you just phrased it wrong. What say you…on both points?

      1. I can assure you, most black people have a deep compassion for all groups of oppressed people because we have been, and still are in many cases discriminated against or oppressed. And black people have been discriminated against by almost all groups of people throughout history, not just by whites.

        I have a very acute understanding of what it means to be excluded or made to feel inferior, but I personally choose to live my life with love and compassion. I do not choose to live with hate or fear because I love all human beings and I know the only way to peace is freedom for all. What hurts me though is when I see that the same equality is not necessarily afforded to us all.

        No matter how some people may choose to use the N word, it is steeped in the blood and pain of millions of people and it always will be. It was derogatory label used and created by racists. Why would anyone wish to be associated with such an atrocity?

        I have never and would never use any derogatory words to describe any group of people and it makes my blood boil when I hear others doing so.

        When you have such a traumatic history, this pain and sense of displacement is passed down through the generations and it takes an immensely strong person to not feel deeply offended by the use of such a word. It doesn’t matter what some “rappers” may attribute the use of it to. This is real life.

        Sometimes, one has to accept that you may never truly understand the way another person feels, but it doesn’t stop you from respecting or accepting it.

        I personally may never know the struggles of homosexuals, disabled people or specific religious groups, but I do know the struggle of being a woman and I can assure you it is nowhere close to the struggle of being black in this world.

        Nontheless, I like being me 🙂

      2. Very nicely put!

        I’m interested, you said that your struggle is a daily one, ‘as a black person you have to rise above almost everyday, you get hurt everyday, insulted everyday,’. Is it a sense of how you feel you are being treated or can you and are you willing to state actual daily events and experiences?

  9. I do object when people try to dictate what words you can and can’t use. I cannot conceive of a situation when I might use the word “nigger” (or indeed “nigga”) so I never use it. I mean, why would I want to use what is the equivalent of a loaded gun? I wouldn’t, so I don’t. I just don’t.

    But that’s MY choice to make.

    And if I were to make the ill-advised choice of using it then I’d better be prepared for the abuse that follows. There’s a mix of consciences and consequences at play here, and we all have to navigate those things every day for the rest of our lives. Banning certain words would only be like banning certain movies or books anyway. Nothing positive would be achieved. If anything, proscriptive measures would only be fanning the fire and we still won’t be addressing the root problem… which is racism.

    1. Lol, you’re so right. You can get caught up in the word and forget what the root issue is. And come to think of it I’ve never really found a need to use the word either, but I also don’t like being told what words I can and can’t use.

  10. If you ask me, the word “negro” has taken quite a beating since it was introduced onto the American landscape. The first derivative, “nigra” I’ve always thought was the most hateful and despicable you know, conjuring up images of hanged men and raped women all in the shadow of a burning cross. This followed by “nigger”, the later year Jim-Crow derivative, no less vile. In that, I see and hear voter suppression, freedom riders and all the things that part of the South and our history entails, a burning cross there too. And then we have “nigga”, this new age substitute supposedly without the teeth of its historically vicious cousins. It’s the offshoot that supposedly holds no sway over us as Black people yet you drop the damn ‘a’ and add an ‘er’, you got a problem because somebody wants to whip your ass. So much for taking the power out of the word. It’s impossible to do that yet we lived that lie for years as a community some of us. I’m just saying that no matter how much gap is made, how much influence you have on pop culture, the power still exists in the word nigger and all of its children. We hear it and our minds take off traveling through history, gathering recollections; it can’t be helped. So, like I said in my earlier comment, it becomes a matter of vocabulary-it was and is always a matter of vocabulary fro some artists-don’t call a man a nigger, just call him a motherfucker. it works just as well.

    1. Nicely written. I see we have a writer on our hands here. I haven’t checked out your blog yet (forgive me if I have and I’m nuts as I read so many) but you know a good turn of phrase.

      Anyhoo yes it’s interesting. Living in the States I could feel the bristling of discomfort amongst black friends regarding anything to do with race. And yet anywhere else in the world, not so much. Even less so in Africa surprisingly enough – in my experience they were / are incredibly laid back about African history compared to African Americans considering that is where the (majority of) slaves originated from.
      When I did some work with Tania Maria the Brazilian singer, she had a track called ‘Negra’ which was used positively, poetically and beautifully. None of us saw it remotely as a negative because we didn’t attach the same significance to the word as (some) African Americans might.

  11. Ooo, you love a mine field don’t you?

    I think the confusion with this particular word (nigger/nigga) is that it’s apparently okay for black people to use the word but not okay for white people to use the word. Does that mean that word is offensive or is it the cultural background that’s offensive? Is appropriating a previously offensive word empowering? Or is it divisive?

    I, personally, would never call someone a nigger (or a wog, a gook, a nip, an abo or a ching). Nor would I call someone a negro. I don’t refer to my gay friends as fags but I’ve heard to them refer to themselves as fags – another word that falls in with nigger as being appropriate for some but not others.

    I think all these words are distasteful and offensive. All words (including obscenities) are just words but equally they all have a deep cultural meaning and there is no escaping that.

    1. Yes to answer your first question! 😉

      Re your last line, isn’t that up to the individual? For example, my chums have mocked me based on race – and other things. I found it funny. Equally I know that if I wanted to I could mock them on THEIR race or any number of subjects. So I CHOSE not to take offense at words.

      Okay so that’s a friend. What if someone who was NOT a friend was rude to me based on race or any other thing they choose to use? Well, it’s a choice to give their opinion value or as you say cultural meaning.
      As long as it doesn’t affect my earnings, work, peace, safety, home life I could not give a rats ass. Everyone is entitled to be a knob. Easily Offendeditis is a tiresome affliction of modern life and doesn’t seem to help anyone.
      But of course each to their own. I can’t tell someone else how to react to name calling that’s just me.
      I’m actually now trying to think of what words WOULD make me offended…I’ll get back to you if I come up with something!

      ‘Does that mean that word is offensive or is it the cultural background that’s offensive?’ – Ooogh! Good question! I think both. People find the word offensive because of the cultural background.

      ‘Is appropriating a previously offensive word empowering? Or is it divisive?’ – I think I’d lean more to empowering because now when I hear the word ‘nigger’ it’s been totally weakened by the word ‘nigga.’

      1. Some excellent points. And an awesome word – offendeditits! I love it. It is a tiresome condition and one that seems to be terribly contagious. I find it funny when someone says something is offensive to women/brunettes/mothers/people with crooked teeth (you get the gist) and I, as a women/brunette/mother/person with crooked teeth, am not the least bit offended.

  12. Not only black people struggle, but our culture loves promoting certain types of victims while ignoring other types. The debate about the word is a time waster and gets no one any closer to nirvana. So now we can’t say that word. Okay. Now what? Have we gotten any closer to world peace? Not sure why anyone really listens to Kanye anyway.

    1. I listen to Kanye occasionally because in amongst all the show boating, hype, bells and whistles he speaks a lot of sense. However, it is missed because of the aforementioned show boating, hype, bells and whistles.

      I’ve heard debates about the homeless and the disabled. I’ve heard debates from middle class white men who feel society is failing them. None of which brought anyone close to world peace or nirvana either. I’m not sure that is the point of any debate.

      1. I guess my point was that as a culture we spend more time worrying about the “n” word than the children killed in bad neighborhoods and the women being raped in Europe.

        The PC thing acts as a bread and circus distraction from tings that really matter. (That’s not to say I don’t enjoy some of the distractions!).

      2. Do we really though? I see more about people being killed in bad neighborhoods than about the ‘n’ word. That is reported as a daily occurrence as is rape. The ‘n’ word, not so much. It comes up every now and then as an issue from what I see, unless you can direct me to evidence to the contrary.
        This however is the first time I have even tackled race since I started this blog.

        If you said the ‘pc thing’ was overly addressed I would agree as someone seems to take offense to some trivial nonsense everyday according to social networks and newspapers. However ‘the pc thing’ addresses a lot more other subjects than race or specifically the ‘n’ word.

        Plus is there some sort of limit on what we should discuss? I don’t get that. Should we only discuss what is considered as ‘things that matter?’ Plus things that don’t matter to you matter to other people no? You only have to read the comments to see that.
        Lastly I have never heard of ‘bread and circus’ – Lord have mercy I have to look that one up!

      3. Maybe what it comes down to is that it’s easier to make rules about words than it is to solve problems involving life and death. It makes us feel like we’re controlling something.

        I’m taking part in this discussion so obviously I don’t mind jumping into things and don’t feel that discussion should ever be limited. having said that I take very seriously the right of free speech and will defend anyone’s right to say even offensive things. As soon as we make rules saying only some people can use certain words or have the right to speak certain ideas we are on the slippery road to censorship and totalitarianism.

        Not sure why you seem aggressive, dear Editor. I’m just expressing my personal opinion. I don’t really care what other people do unless it restricts my freedom. I’ve never used the “n” word, but I think making rules for certain people is stupid and hypocritical. Like the silly people in England who wanted to ban Donald Trump from visiting because he wanted to stop immigration for a period of time. So one kind of border control is fine but not another. Silly, indeed.

        Do I think we should only discuss things that matter? Of course not, but when a society is only capable and willing to discuss how someone hurt someone’s feelings I think we avoid tackling bigger issues like forgiveness and the lack of historical perspective.

      4. I can only conclude that your perception is skewed….OR the way I’m typing / expressing myself has changed??!!! Perhaps you are projecting your own state of mind on to me? I’m tapping away here enjoying the banter and opinions (as ever) and I’m accused of seeming aggressive. Nope.
        I thought we always get into one every now and then (a to and fro debate that is) – what’s so different now?

        Of course it is because you cannot see my face and demeanour while I’m writing, but trust me you’d know if I wanted to convey that I was pissed off or aggressive. I don’t. It’s just debate and I’m simply answering the points you have put forward which seem at odds from one submission to the next in my humble, non-aggressive opinion, so I’m trying to understand you.

        Example: ‘…but when a society is only capable and willing to discuss how someone hurt someone’s feelings…’ – since when for the love of chips?!! Where is this view coming from? Perhaps it’s YOUR choice of reading/viewing matter rather than society? Seriously? Society is only willing to discuss hurt feelings? So if I challenge you on that baffling statement am I being aggressive?

        I’ll reiterate what I alluded to in my previous comments. I disagree. I find that society is capable of discussing everything. I find blogs, news outlets etc all the time that cater for a myriad of topics. Society does not avoid tackling bigger issues. I can show you resources that talk about bigger issues and resources that waffle on about glittery eye make-up.
        I have no idea where you are getting this premise from and again I welcome you showing me all these resources that constantly chat about the ‘n’ word and hurt feelings in favour of more important issues. Maybe what you are sensing from me is bafflement.
        I’m all for The Donald coming over btw.

      5. Maybe I was projecting. LOL. I’ve slept on it.

        So you’re right. There are plenty of people in real life who talk and write about important issues. Many others get involved in politics, religious movements etc, but in America at least it’s so easy to get distracted by “controversies” like who can use the n word. The mainstream media tends to hold on to celebrity news much longer and report more in depth about a celebrity than going into deeper stuff like Hillary’s involvement in gun running or the Bush family’s ties to nefarious going’s on.

        I think my annoyance on this side of the pond comes from watching the election cycle play out. The way the journalists fawn over certain candidates or seek to destroy them in order to elevate themselves is embarrassing and shallow.

        Real journalists are marginalized (in the mainstream) for asking tough questions.

        I could go on about our education system and how it produces students who know little history and are unable to practice critical thinking (not all students). When I see students whining about “micro-aggressions” or saying Martin Luther King just wasn’t inclusive enough on elite college campuses I have to laugh.

        And back to the n word it goes. The celebrities who celebrate the n word and use it in their songs I have no problem with but I remember a few years back when J-Lo (see I enjoy my pop stars) used the word and had to apologize it just annoyed me. If I was her I would have been like: “Okay, I’ll stop saying nigga when you stop singing about bitches and whores (or hoes-whatever)” 🙂

      6. Ah, mine eyes have seen the light Lord! Lol! Okay I get it.
        ‘but in America at least it’s so easy to get distracted by “controversies” like who can use the n word.’ – Yup, yup I get it.

        ‘deeper stuff like Hillary’s involvement in gun running or the Bush family’s ties to nefarious going’s on….’ – Really? Fascinating! Now that I’d like to read!

        Your point about journalists, they are certainly a different bunch these days aren’t they? I remember that movie with Dustin Hoffman and the blond bloke…(it’ll come to me – the ‘Barefoot In The Park’ dude) who played journalists who sussed out Watergate and pursued it to the ends.

        Where are these investigative journalists today? I’m sure some are lurking somewhere but I’m not finding them (easily) on the whole because as you say the landscape is dominated by celebrity stuff coupled with the fact that quite a few current day journos simply can’t spell, have no magic with words, speak as if they are 14 years old (with the lols and BAE’s and (nice) nonsense about cats) and are equipped with scant knowledge of grammar and syntax.

        And ha ha with the MLK thing. I hadn’t heard of this. The J Lo thing – again, news to me and I agree with you on that one, although I understand the pressure she must have been put under to back down!

  13. Honestly, this is a much bigger issue in America, and I do not believe people are being simply “PC” when avoiding the use of that word. And the issue of non-blacks not being able to say it is not a pesky, PC double standard, but rather, representative of the disturbing past of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and ongoing racial issues today. Not all words are just a word.

    1. Yep. I’d go along with that. I do wonder though if there is a time limit on this issue. 100 years? 200 years? Or will it sustain as long as policemen keep emptying their guns on unarmed black men for example, keeping the disparity of the races ever fresh.

  14. The power still exists in the word so it becomes a matter of vocabulary, doesn’t it? Instead of calling a man a nigger, or nigga, call him a motherfucker. It works just as well. Just saying…

  15. I am about to produce a theatre piece in which 1/3 of the pages of script drop at least one “F” bomb. wish me luck! (It’s a great script, Pulitzer prize winner. It’s just a word to me….but then, it’s not the “N” word or the “K” or “C” word…so there’s that.

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