Friday, November 23, 2007

Why I Am Not Your Nigga

Why I am not your Nigga ....... What is interesting about the whole phenomenon of the usage of the word "Nigga" in dialogue is that as People of Color (specifically African-Americans, not excluding Americanized Caribbean and Africans) use the word and consider it as a "term of endearment". It’s meaning in the new millennium transformed into a word of love, respect and unity. Blacks not accepting to be referred to as Nigga is, in a growing movement, being considered 'Uppity' or not a part of the 'Accepted Community' or even as low as to be considered ‘Acting White’. Regardless of their reasons for not wanting to be addressed as such, Black people's validation for self-identity is negated by the numbers that feel the N word’s past association is over and its new association should now be embraced.

What is understood, regardless of one's intelligence or ignorance is that Whites, when speaking, say what they mean. Irrefutable, if Whites are naive and or in absolute understanding of their immediate environment, in the choice of their words, Whites are very exacting in their meaning. Whites socially either like or dislike you, it is expressed not only in action, but also in their choice of words. So when Whites use the word "Nigger" or "Nigga", it is understood by history that it is a word that was, is, and will forever be an American word used to epitomize the "disenfranchisement of Africa", the dismemberment of the infrastructure of Africa, the experiences of the Middle Passage, the barter and selling of African slaves on the auction block, slavery within the Americas, the erasure of Black identity, the fight for civil liberties in the Americas, lynchings, church fires, bombings, and the assassination of Black leaders just to name a few atrocities. So when People of Color use the word "Nigga" or "Nigger", we interject that which we want to use it for. A unifying sub-culture of disenfranchised peoples. There is an association difference when Whites use the word Nigger, and Blacks. When Whites use it, they want it for its historical connotation and social merits where as Blacks use the word for its social experience and inclusion. Last examined, Whites were never included in the attrucities of the Black American experience and yet they all were benefactors of it active or passive.

With the logic that social perception is a representation of social reality, Whites will interpret African-American’s use of the word Nigger (Nigga) as Black people on a people, not to be taken seriously for their philosophy of the Nigger usage isn’t genuine and an obvious double standard. This meaning that Blacks can refer to each other as Nigger (Nigga) but Whites can not. Whites then see this inconsistency as African-Americans not being able to say what we mean and as such should not be taken seriously which is the one thing African-Americans have fought for since the auction block. The communicating of this concept has now become part of the Black political, cultural, and social frustration for validity in solidifying existence in America. The African-American fight for injustice and double standards in society, in regards to the word Nigger (Nigga), is a self imposed social prison where the walls of cultural and historical respect is regulated to non-existence. Ultimately, Blacks place upon themselves the double standard of respect vs. disrespect in communicating ‘endearment’ through the word Nigger.

Contemporary leaders of the modern generation argue that “Nigger” is just a word. It has no power, no sting, nor a place in current social standards. Still others say that by embracing the word “Nigger”, it becomes transformed into something that people will understand as endearment and or social frustration. The reality is, the word and its history can not be re-invented because it makes some people feel good, or sell records and films, or it makes Black Men more masculine or loved. Peoples' support of the word "Nigger" such as Whoopie Goldberg, Michael Eric Dyson, Nelly, Isiah Thompson, Eddie Griffin, just to name a few would argue the later and feel that to embrace the New-Nigger is only to move away from the pain and into a future of true acceptance. But acceptance by whom? Closely examining the “N” word, it would seem that Blacks are the only culture that allows for the World to be comfortable to use Nigger as a social norm when referring to BLACKS as well as other non-Blacks.

The word "Nigger” is a word of historical and ethnic disrespect for more than 400 years or more. Anyone knowing basic World, American, or Black history can not refute that fact. It's a reality. It doesn't matter if you colorize it as "Jigga" or "Nikka" or "Nicca", it’s still the same disrespect that people were dying for to over-come in America’s dark past. It’s as obvious as the color of skin that labels it a Black word. A word not to do or re-define, but to keep from the lips from every individual that wants to use it as a label for anyone regardless of Color or Creed, National Origin and Religion as a catch phrase for cool. This thus becomes a cultural responsibility. A Black Legacy. Black Responsibility.

It simply amazes advocates against the usage of the word “Nigger” that African-Americans feel more disrespect when Americans resist to accept Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday as a National Holiday yet not acknowledge that millions of dollars in Rap, R&B, and Hip Hop music has entrenched the word "Nigga" as a label of Blackness on a Global level. Jay-Z, an award winning rapper and business-man, in an interview stated it surprised him that he had gone to Japan, where no one spoke English, yet knew all the words to his songs. As amazing as it was for him, it never occurred to him, that even though the people didn’t speak English, they did know how to say “Nigger” and the fact that he taught it to them. Jay-Z, a Black man, from America, whom had no history behind the words to his lyrics, is now seen as a messiah for new language and social teachings for a people no more attached to Black history and the African-American experience than Whites.

This responsibility isn't just an African-American issue alone. Jews, Asians, Indigenous People to the Americas and others share in the responsibility of keeping their harmful and hateful words from entering America's daily vernacular. African-Americans, unfortunately allowed “Nigger” to flourish and take root for all to see systematically, the levels of disrespect that has historically been fought against yet negated for each and ever individual Black person. Now African-Americans can only now react with apathy because the problem is now on a global level where all of Black culture is inundated with its effects. No other ethnic group allows this to happen to their communities accept African-Americans.

A word cannot be re-invented to give specific people its own special meaning. That defeats the whole concept of language and communication. Granted words do evolve such as the word “silly”. Once considered a word meaning holy, now it's closely referred to as immature or one without focus; childlike. This evolution did not take place within one or two generations but hundreds of years. Slang however does have the same lines of historical evolution as most language and far inbetween as a word of negative connotation been transformed unilateraly into a word of acceptence, love and or spiritual meaning. truth of the matter, the word,, how ever used in the American lexicon, “Nigger” isn’t slang, a fad nor a recent cultural phenomenon. Nigger is a word as significant to the English language as grammatical structure is important to comprehension. The "Us" feel better about ourselves notion does not and cannot work when using the “N” word because millions of Blacks have died because of the intent and meaning of it. Ultimately it’s a lie, a deception, and pure fantasy to think that Nigger can be used as a word of endearment. Even more so, if it is/was possible, we dismiss the very history, the very nature of who Blacks were, are and will evolve into being.

The word "Nigga" is not a European concept or an African word, nor is it an American word but it is a conception disrespect. Whites do not use or even try to re-invent vulgar words demeaning themselves as words of Power or Endearment. This can also be said for other ethnic groups. Why is this so? Because other ethnic groups recognize and respect words that exist to remove people of their power.

Recently, the word "Nigger" has become one great privilege some desire to use again without retribution since the 1960's. To legitimize calling someone Black a "Nigger" has been dancing the tightrope of vicious slang to proper English since its "artistic" non-constraints of the 60's until now. Today, by right, Nigger is a proper word with significant meaning. So now we are faced with Nigger (Nigga) and having the stigma of "intent" behind it duel or singular, bias or impartial how does one poll the true desire to speak the N-World as endearment? At its core Blacks have to intellectualize the definition and then psycho analyze the person saying "Nigger" (that is if you are Non-Black because if you are Black, you get a pass). By the way, did anyone ever poll the African, the Caribbean or the South American on his or her desire to be included in this fraternity of disrespect? Do African-Americans even care?

Being part of the English (a standard language spoke internationally) as a word recognized within the legal text of our American language, it isnow a free-for-all for whomever wants to direct it’s many meanings. Whites now have that right, at any time and any place, to have it freely flow from their lips and not hide behind the legal "shield of intent" backed by The Freedom of Speech thus bypassing any speculation of a Hate Crime. So until a court case is brought before the public where a corporate executive refers to one of its (Black) employees as a 'Nigga' and the case is dropped because the word is not considered offense by definition, then and only then will the real debate begin?

Why I Am Not Your Nigga by Shazza NakimCopyright © by Peace of Mind Publishings and with permission by Shazza Nakim



nig·ger - The term nigger is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War. Definitions 1a, 1b, and 2 represent meanings that are deeply disparaging and are used when the speaker deliberately wishes to cause great offense. Definition 1a, however, is sometimes used among African-Americans in a neutral or familiar way. Definition 3 is not normally considered disparaging—as in “The Irish are the niggers of Europe” from Roddy Doyle's The Commitments—but the other uses are considered contemptuous and hostile.

–noun


1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
a. black person.
b. a member of any dark-skinned people.

2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.

3. A victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.

2 comments:

Chimaobi said...

Greetings Elder Brother Shazza.

If possible, I would like to get in touch with you regarding this article.

I would be much obliged if you could e-mail me to let me know you are still present on the net.

One.

- Chi

Shazza Nakim said...

I am still online. Where would you like me to contact you?