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!