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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can I call you a nigga now?

NIGGA WHAT?

Out of pure disdain for closed minded individuals, I have devoted a substantial amount of time – perhaps way more than I should have - to explaining the use of the word “Nigga” by members of the Hip Hop community. I have had countless conversations that often turned into arguments or heated debates because of, what I felt to be ignorance toward the issue. When I mention the word “ignorance” in reference to those who stand in opposition to my position on the matter, I know many people may assume I side with those that are adverse to the use of the word “Nigga” I can assume this because these are the individuals who deem those that advocate the use of the word “Nigga” to be ignorant. Such assumptions as “Nigga” being used by members of the Hip hop community as a result of their lacking knowledge of its history, and the belief that “Nigga” derives from the word nigger, are things I view as ignorance for the following reasons; We use fire in many different ways than the cavemen who created it does that make us ignorant to the fact that cavemen created fire? In American history “nigger” is a word that was used to express racism, demean, and degrade individuals of African descent. The Ethiopian word “Negus” is defined as being a title of Ethiopian royalty. Who’s to determine from which the word “Nigga” owes its origin? Contemporary black music often gets connected to ancient African rhythms rooted in our subconscious, is it completely impossible for this occurrence to also take place with words?

ne·gus1 /ˈnigəs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[nee-guhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -gus·es. 1. a title of Ethiopian royalty.
2. (initial capital letter) the Emperor of Ethiopia.
www.dictionary.com look it up

The laws of physics state that energy cannot be destroyed only transformed from one state to another. Words carry energy, the word nigger carries energy, a negative energy that has done nothing but spread hurt and hate throughout American society. The word nigger is a weapon, a gun that has been handed to an American public who have been taught to aim it at Blacks in America as well as around the world and fire at will. They fire that gun because they know it has the ability to kill and do harm because otherwise it would be futile to use it. If the Hip hop community decides to take that gun, melt down the metal, and use it to make spoons, why fight against them to have the word remain as a gun that can be used against us?

If the word “Nigga” is a manifestation of the word nigger, what’s wrong with the transformation of energy going from negative to positive through the process of that manifestation? If we're to say that because something has a negative history it can't be used in a positive manner, then why wear crosses when – according to popular belief - they were once used to kill Jesus Christ and others, why worship Christianity when it was once used as a tool to enslave and as a cause for mass murder during the crusades? Why even refer to ourselves as Black, a color that throughout American history has been associated with everything wrong and is defined as meaning evil, wicked, and sullen? Let’s not forget that there was a time when Africans in America resented being referred to as Black. James Brown came around and coined the phrase “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud” After that the word Black wasn’t greeted with as much hostility and today it’s considered a none offensive manner of referencing people of African American decent.

You don’t get pass the pain by burying it, you get pass the pain by healing the wound. The Black politicians and churches are rallying the Black community to attack Hip hop for attempting to heal a wound and at the same time, asking that we forgive and live side by side, peacefully, with those we hold responsible for causing the wound. They show me images of Black bodies swinging from trees and say “Don’t say nigga” the word nigger didn’t do that, some racist White man did, the word “Nigga” doesn’t discriminate against me when I’m applying for jobs, the word “Nigga” didn’t shoot at Shawn Bell 50 times, the word “Nigga” didn’t shoot Amadu Diallo 19 times, the word “Nigga” didn’t kill Robert Stansberry, White people filled with prejudice, racism, and hatred did those things.

For us to say that by eliminating the use of the, now notorious, “N word” as my White friends like to call it, we're coming closer to eliminating the racist sentiments that are expressed through its use is absurd to me. I doubt if all the names I mentioned above heard “Die nigga, die!” before bullets were dumped into their bodies. The officer responsible for murdering Robert Stansberry received no criminal conviction and is still employed by the NYPD to this date, The officers responsible for murdering Amadou Diallo were found not guilty, and the officers who are accused of murdering Sean Bell are still awaiting trail almost a year later. Why are we not still protesting for justice for the families of these victims? Oprah Winfrey toured radio stations trying to persuade radio personalities to sign contracts stating they would discontinue their use of the word “Nigga” A Black couple decided to start up a website called “AbolishtheNword.com” calling for the abolishment of the word “Nigger” Why aren’t these same people attacking issues like the public school systems in Black neighborhoods, the incarceration of Black men in America, the aids crisis amongst Blacks in America, and etc. with the same intensity? Besides the idea that the energy they’re spending on banding a word could be put towards a more constructive cause, it also shows a total disregard for our constitutional right to free speech.

People want to just hold to their beliefs without ever questioning whether what they believe in truly makes any sense or brings any positive influence. The word nigga is more so used in the same manner as a pronoun amongst members of the hip hop community/"Hood" and belongs to a dialect spoken by the social group that makes up the Hip hop community. With in that community no one is offended by its use because the intent is well noted to not be derogatory or racist. Since its beginning hip hop has been used to heal and has turned negatives into positives. This was seen with brake dancing where kids would battle in dance rather than gang fights. It provided kids with an alternative means of venting their frustration by providing an artistic channel for venting that frustration and preventing the youth from lashing out violently. This is no different, let us heal.

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything" - George Bernard Shaw

Related readings Hip hop slang; Dialect or just bad English?
Look for part 2 coming soon.

Digg!

Written by: S.F

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you i have a point but u also missed the point. People want the word abolished because of the hate and disgust that it was used to describe black people. The word nigger was said right before a slave was hanged, so that was the last word he heard. They are just trying to make the point that we are degrading ourselves by saying it. i bet that you are of the younger generation because you are very close minded to the whole situation at hand. Do you really think that your ancestors would approve of you calling your brother a "nigga". If you think about it it has nothing to do with us, we just have to show respect for the people who struggled with the word before us.

iamthegif said...

I don't see how you drew that conclusion. I haven't said anything about anyone being wrong for not accepting or liking us using the word. I'm speaking out against people violating my freedome of speech by trying to force me to not say a word because of their personal preference. You my friend are being closed minded. To my ancesters the word nigga would probably be mistaken for the word negus which means king of kings in Africa. If you don't believe me look the word up.

Kala Nation said...

Man you are an ignoramus.I will tell you this if someone comes up to to and says that word nigger or nigga to me or any of my family I will bust the in the jaw.That word is a sgn of disrespect even among friends.You only use it with people you have known for years.

iamthegif said...

Who's to say that nigga comes from niger? Have you researched it? Has anyone else researched it to know for a fact that, that's the case? Even if it is, why can't we accept the definition of it meaning king if we know such a definition of if exist in Africa? Who's to say White people didn't go into Africa, hear the way they were using the word and flip it, from meaning highest of high to lowest of low as a slap in the face to the idea of us being such a thing? Look what they did in Egypt, they still refused to admit that Egypt is a part of Africa and that Africans were Egyptians. Everything we do gets demonized, we don't dress like they want us to dress, the way we dress gets profiled as criminal, we don't act the way they want us to act, the way we act gets profiled as criminal, we don't talk the way they want us to talk, the way we talk gets profiled as criminal and ignorant. This is bigger than just a word to me. People have to realize what's being done. They're trying to make everything we do in Hip hop seem like ignorance and criminal. The stereotypes they have about us eating watermelon and chicken haven't stopped anyone from eating that. I resent that victim shit, you know what slavery shows me, it shows me that we were weak enough to be conquered and the promotion of it, is one of the biggest reasons why White people and people in general grow up thinking they're better than we are. White people look at us and see a charity case, the poor negro whipped and enslaved, hated and called nigger, fuck that. We don't have to be in that position. People talk about the negative connotations associated with nigger but look at the negative connotations associated with Black! They run around here feeling that they're intellectually superior to us because we're controlled by emotion and can't allow ourselves to think rationally. I'm not trying to change your mind on the issue. Far as I'm concerned we can agree to disagree. I'm just saying don't try to make it seem like there's something wrong with what I'm trying to say.
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Anonymous said...

Kala Nation, what are you saying for real.

Too much energy is put into this word that can be used in another arena.

White people can't say nigger, for no reason. They know it's wrong, just how guys know the word bitch is wrong.

Malik Diamond said...

Man, I think you're stretching the boundaries of credulity by trying to link "nigga" with "negus." I don't think "research" is a word to be thrown around casually either, and looking something up on wikipedia is about the LEAST you could do and still dare to call it "research."

And who exactly are you referring to when you say "the hip hop community"? Blacks? Latins? If you're referring to artists AND fans, then point of fact, most of the "hip hop community" is white.

Songs filled with the word "nigga" are putting that word in the mouths of whites much more effectively than conditioned racism.

Blacks use the word "nigga" for the same reason they use any particular slang or speech inflection; because that's how their friends and family speak. It's cultural.

I've heard blacks use the word as a term of endearment, and I've heard them use it with the utmost contempt, the kind of bile that only blacks can generate for other blacks. I've heard chicanos use it with each other. I've heard asian frat boys use it with each other. Hip hop has that much power, that much mystique.

Ultimately, I think focusing on it is a smokescreen. There's so much pathology in our society and in the black community, so much that's fucked up... I have no motivation for getting worked up about what dudes call each other out on the block.

But once you step into the realm of mass media... well, let me put it this way: as a hip hop artist, I purposely don't use the word. I don't do "bitches, hoes," or "fags" either. It's a personal choice, consciously made.

I think most hip hop artists are barely conscious of such words, thrown about so casually, and certainly don't make a conscious choice one way or the other regarding their use. They're just feeding back their social programming, like everyone else.

As far as being called "nigger, nigga" or whatever... If it's positive, I take it in. If it's negative, I let it slide off my teflon aura.

It's all good.

Anonymous said...

Yeah man, you are definitely stretching the connection between "nigga" and "negus"

As someone who speaks Amharic, the proper pronunciation is "ne-goose"


Also, I think while you make some interesting points, you completely miss the point. You do get if a white person calls you a nigger or nigga or any of its derivatives. So it hasn't left its so called "negative energy" You have to understand that the use of nigga in hip hop has made it prevalent in every people's home who listen to it which includes white people. So, when you use it, we are directly being responsible for its use by white people.

So if you use it, don't get mad if lil stacey or josh uses it.