UnSpeaking the N-Word (Conclusion… for now)

Once Again Disclaimer: This post may or may not contain uncomfortable language as you may infer from the title or the series of preceding entries . READER DISCRETION ADVISED.

While I do think the meme, rather alteration of “Keep Calm and Carry On” is over played; the picture below is suitable for my feelings and actions concerning the word(s) “nigger”, “nigga”, and “niggah!”

Image

Over this series of blog entries I have explored my own experiences with listening, saying, reading, and discussing the N-Word. I have now read countless articles, watched a few hours of youtube clips, read responses and heated debates amongst my friends, and listened to some of my favorite musical artists.

Here is my conclusion for the N-Word, for now:

“I have decided to stop using any variation of the word nigger no matter the intent behind my use of the word” 2/13/2014 @ 12:58am.

While this process has been complex and deep, the reason is simple: I DO NOT NEED THE WORD. PERIOD.

Think about it my brothas and sistahs:

1) My use of the N-Word as a sense of endearment is truly a cop-out. I mean, if I truly want to use a term to uplift or show relation to my Black people, I will stick with two terms that have, in my opinion, clearer intents and connotations of my desire to express my closeness to them… (refer to above) ‘brotha’ and ‘sistah’.

2) If I was to be honest with myself, my ratio of using the N-Word to indicated togetherness or satirical admiration is drastically low compared to when I use it in anger or to express complex emotions that are not SOLELY for the purpose of bridging or solidifying a bond.

Now let me be clear and set some shyt straight! Do not for a second think that I am taking a soft-ass approach to my reasoning or encouraging distance from uncomfortable contexts because of my privileged higher educational experience and constant movement within the dominant “white” culture. FUCK THAT! I am not about soft speech nor trying to drink my poison down with wine. My conclusion is from truly being honest with myself and asking “Do I really need to use this word?”

T.J. Holmes, who was a CNN anchor-turned BET host said when discussing his feelings about the N-Word, “… My problem has been that no one ever held me accountable for my, at times, gratuitous use of the n-word… There are plenty of black people who don’t want to hear fellow blacks use the n-word, but we give each other a pass. Stop.” I FULLY understand where T.J. is coming from. I mean, as an educated Black male, I live in a culture that is vastly white in it’s power dynamics. However, when I am around all my Black co-workers and it’s only us; and we like GO OUT! There’s a feeling, a sense of comfort that allows me to just be me. This is when I let N-Bombs fly. I know I am better than that and I know I can do a better job self-regulating.

So… Why? Why give up a word? I mean, isn’t it truly considered to be ‘taken-back’ within the community that it affects the most? Like how the Gay community ‘took-back’ Faggot? Like how the Little Person community ‘took-back’ midget? Like how the Native American community took back Redskin?

Simply put: NO WORD CAN EVER BE TAKEN-BACK IN A SENSE TO PERFORM A POLARITY SHIFT. We tried that already in the Black community! We took ‘bad’ and made it ‘good’. However, we, just like any word, can not re-define an established word. Bad still means bad! We can only add another definition after the ones that are well-established. The original definition for nigger is too damn strong and backed by hundreds of years to be redefined. We (as in Black people) have only added another definition below the primary one.

A real question to ask would be: Do we need to take-back this word? No Native American is trying to embrace the Washington Redskins in an attempt to ‘take-back’ a team that is a clear slap in the face of a rich and under-represented/discussed culture.

Watch this is you need further clarification: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR-tbOxlhvE

Why not simply come together as a larger community and say…. “Hey, you know what. Let’s stop using this word and commit ourselves to use other methods to show unity and love. KINDA like we did in the 70’s!” Just a thought

Futhermore, taking a page from my ‘Critical Theorist’ book, why support the further profits of white record executes like Lucien Grainge, Roger Faxon, and Edgar Bronfman, who further and pigeon-hole artists to … well… be ‘ratchet’ and full of ‘coonery’ which then get portrayed throughout the world and lets a store in Taiwan name itself “Nigger King.”

I made a few jumps in my logic, but it is quite frustrating that the N-Word has become used as a speech tick in most popular hip hop and rap than with intention. It is the Black culture’s version of ‘like’ and ‘umm’. Except ours conveys a stronger message of pain, residual-engrained negativity, and institutionalized racism.

 

***exhales

My decision is just that. My decision. I have decided on something that works for me and will not tell or judge others for any decision they make for their use of the N-Word. However, I do challenge you. I challenge you to honestly think about your feelings about the word and to give yourself a true supportive reason to keep the word in your lexicon. While you do so, I wish you good ‘morrow my brothas and sistahs.

 

PS: Again, I was not intending for this entry to become racial in the sense I was directly talking to anyone reading this who is Black. I intended for this to be as open, honest, and direct as possible. This is not solely a Black and White thing, but EVERYONE KNOWS, this is STEMMED from a BLACK and WHITE thing.

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3 thoughts on “UnSpeaking the N-Word (Conclusion… for now)

  1. Loved your point on how a word’s original definition can’t be changed, but rather another definition can be added on beneath it. But yeah, you’re absolutely right! It’s not a matter of, ‘SHOULD we use this word?’. It’s the simple matter of, ‘Do we NEED this word?’. Answer: Not likely. Because to an educated and thoughtful person, there are no scenarios where no other word would do to serve the purpose of communicating an idea of some sort.

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