17
   

Is Nigger an OK Word to Use?

 
 
FBM
 
  3  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 06:28 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

Try teaching Of Mice And Men or To Kill A Mocking Bird, without using it.


In university, I had a part-time gig tutoring foreign and disabled students. Once I was reading Richard Wright's Black Boy to a blind black guy.

Me: "...that ni...ehh..mmm..." *cough*
Him: Heh heh. It's alright. You can read it.
Me: Do I have to? I mean, since you already know. Uhm.
Him: You ain't from around here, are you?
Me: Yeah, I am. That's kinda my point.

I was sweating bullets. He just laughed his ass off. I probably had a point when I started that story, but I forget what it was. Nvm.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 09:36 am
@FBM,
You can't be embarrassed like that, it's important to examine the word, the context it's used in, and what it actually means. If Steinbeck hadn't used it, one could easily get the impression that Crooks didn't really suffer from any prejudice at all.
FBM
 
  5  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 10:20 am
@izzythepush,
Yeah, I know that now, but I was maybe 19 or 20 at the time and racism never clicked with me, nor being a douchebag to people in general. That experience was an education of sorts.
0 Replies
 
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InfraBlue
 
  7  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 02:48 pm
It's incredible that this has to be explained to hawkeye as if he was a middle school student.

For what it's worth, at least it may be helpful to middle school students.
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:02 pm
@InfraBlue,
Quote:
It's incredible that this has to be explained to hawkeye as if he was a middle school student.


It is incredible that it has to be explained by me that in this universe things change, and just because one or a couple of generations generally agreed about this or that does not mean the those currently being forged and those who come after will agree and will follow the instructions from the elders. "In the olden days we did X and you must too" does not go very far as an argument. Do you have another one?
Frank Apisa
 
  4  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:06 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
It's incredible that this has to be explained to hawkeye as if he was a middle school student.


It is incredible that it has to be explained by me that in this universe things change, and just because one or a couple of generations generally agreed about this or that does not mean the those currently being forged and those who come after will agree and will follow the instructions from the elders. "In the olden days we did X and you must too" does not go very far as an argument. Do you have another one?


If you have any balls at all, Hawk...you would seek out Mike Tyson or Ray Lewis...and ask your question of one of them.

hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:13 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
If you have any balls at all, Hawk...you would seek out Mike Tyson or Ray Lewis...and ask your question of one of them.

I neither approve of violence to settle disagreements nor do I let threats of violence silence me.

I see that you and Beth swing the other way. You two are greatly out of step with modern society standards on that front, so maybe you are also out of step on the use of the word nigger.
Frank Apisa
 
  4  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:19 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
If you have any balls at all, Hawk...you would seek out Mike Tyson or Ray Lewis...and ask your question of one of them.

I neither approve of violence to settle disagreements nor do I let threats of violence silence me.

I see that you and Beth swing the other way. You two are greatly out of step with modern society standards on that front, so maybe you are also out of step on the use of the word nigger.


I was just suggesting that you seem entirely honest in your interest about the use of that word...and asking someone like Mike Tyson or Ray Lewis might answer it quite concisely.

Certainly something you should consider.

Or, if you do not want to go to the trouble of seeking either of those gentlemen out...go into any inner city bar with a large black patronage...and ask your question.

I think you will get your answer.

Asking it here is kinda punky.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  4  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:20 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
You two are greatly out of step with modern society standards on that front


I don't let the collective rule my thinking.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:26 pm
From 2002 but still on the mark:

NIGGER
The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

BY RANDALL KENNEDY

NEW YORK: PANTHEON BOOKS, 2002. 226 PP. $22.00.

Quote:
Kennedy ends his third chapter with a proclamation that current Black comedians are liberally and appropriately "eschew[ing] boring conventions . . . that nigger can mean only one thing" (p. 171). Kennedy’s briefest and final chapter, "How Are We Doing with Nigger?" suggests that "public opinion has effectively stigmatized nigger-as-insult," regardless of the context in which people use the term, and predicts that "as nigger is more widely disseminated and its complexity is more widely appreciated, censuring its use — even its use as an insult — will become more difficult" (p. 175).

With so many accounts of the use of nigger in various contexts, Kennedy appropriately concludes that "for bad and for good, nigger is . . . destined to remain with us for many years to come — a reminder of the ironies and dilemma, the tragedies and glories, of the American experience" (p. 176). Kennedy’s provocative piece is a powerful illustration of how one term can have an array of meanings for those who use it, for those who interpret it, and in the specific situations in which the word is spoken and heard, written and read.


http://hepg.org/her-home/issues/harvard-educational-review-volume-73-issue-4/herbooknote/nigger_82

I do think this knee jerk " you cant say that!" is out of date.
Frank Apisa
 
  5  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:43 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

From 2002 but still on the mark:

NIGGER
The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

BY RANDALL KENNEDY

NEW YORK: PANTHEON BOOKS, 2002. 226 PP. $22.00.

Quote:
Kennedy ends his third chapter with a proclamation that current Black comedians are liberally and appropriately "eschew[ing] boring conventions . . . that nigger can mean only one thing" (p. 171). Kennedy’s briefest and final chapter, "How Are We Doing with Nigger?" suggests that "public opinion has effectively stigmatized nigger-as-insult," regardless of the context in which people use the term, and predicts that "as nigger is more widely disseminated and its complexity is more widely appreciated, censuring its use — even its use as an insult — will become more difficult" (p. 175).

With so many accounts of the use of nigger in various contexts, Kennedy appropriately concludes that "for bad and for good, nigger is . . . destined to remain with us for many years to come — a reminder of the ironies and dilemma, the tragedies and glories, of the American experience" (p. 176). Kennedy’s provocative piece is a powerful illustration of how one term can have an array of meanings for those who use it, for those who interpret it, and in the specific situations in which the word is spoken and heard, written and read.


http://hepg.org/her-home/issues/harvard-educational-review-volume-73-issue-4/herbooknote/nigger_82

I do think this knee jerk " you cant say that!" is out of date.


You may be right, Hawk.

I am not saying you are wrong.

Just as you are honestly interested in the issue...I am honestly interesting in helping you get a reasonable answer. After all, what are cyber friends for?

So...do you think you have a better chance of getting a reasonable answer here in A2K...or in a predominantly black establishment like a restaurant or bar?

I think the latter.

Give it a shot...and let us know how things go.
Frank Apisa
 
  5  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:44 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Maybe you could get Kennedy to come along.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 03:54 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
So...do you think you have a better chance of getting a reasonable answer here in A2K...or in a predominantly black establishment like a restaurant or bar?


Keeping in mind that blacks make up 13% of the population and so get 13% of the vote on waht we do and also that blacks use the word often and by use of the word they show that they are not in favor of banning the word that would be a good thing to do. I would of course also touch base with the other 87% because I believe in democracy and inclusion.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  5  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 04:12 pm
@hawkeye10,
You post a few lines from a NYT article, an article without a link, and an article you've never read...

The article was a comment on whether organizations, like the NFL, should ban the use of the n-word, by black players.

Here's the article, that says nothing about generally banning that word, and it supports none of what you are saying about your alleged right, as a white man, to reclaim and use the n-word--it says quite the opposite.
Quote:
November 23, 2013
In Defense of a Loaded Word
By TA-NEHISI COATES

MY father’s name is William Paul Coates. I, like my six brothers and sisters, have always addressed him as Dad. Strangers often call him Mr. Coates. His friends call him Paul. If a stranger or one of my father’s friends called him Dad, my father might have a conversation. When I was a child, relatives of my paternal grandmother would call my father Billy. Were I to ever call my father Billy, we would probably have a different conversation.

I have never called my father Billy. I understand, like most people, that words take on meaning within a context. It might be true that you refer to your spouse as Baby. But were I to take this as license to do the same, you would most likely protest. Right names depend on right relationships, a fact so basic to human speech that without it, human language might well collapse. But as with so much of what we take as human, we seem to be in need of an African-American exception.

Three weeks ago the Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, who is white, was reported to have addressed his fellow Dolphin as a “half-nigger.” About a week later, after being ejected from a game, the Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes, who is black, tweeted that he was “done standing up for these niggas” after being ejected for defending his teammate. This came after the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who is white, angrily called a black security guard a “nigger” in July.

What followed was a fairly regular ritual debate over who gets to say “nigger” and who does not. On his popular show “Pardon the Interruption,” Tony Kornheiser called on the commissioners of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball to ban their players from publicly using the word. The ESPN host Skip Bayless went further, calling “nigger” “the most despicable word in the English language — verbal evil” and wishing that it could “die the death it deserves.”

Mr. Bayless and Mr. Kornheiser are white, but many African-Americans have reached the same conclusion. On Thursday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, a group promoting diversity in coaching and in the front offices of the N.F.L., called on players to stop using “the worst and most derogatory word ever spoken in our country” in the locker rooms. In 2007 the N.A.A.C.P. organized a “funeral” in Detroit for the word “nigger.” “Good riddance. Die, n-word,” said Kwame Kilpatrick, then the mayor. “We don’t want to see you around here no more.”

But “nigger” endures — in our most popular music, in our most provocative films and on the lips of more black people (like me) than would like to admit it. Black critics, not unjustly, note the specific trauma that accompanies the word. For some the mere mention of “nigger“ conjures up memories of lynchings and bombings. But there’s more here — a deep fear of what our use of the word “nigger” communicates to white people. “If you call yourself the n-word,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, “you can’t get mad when someone treats you like that.”

This is the politics of respectability — an attempt to raise black people to a superhuman standard. In this case it means exempting black people from a basic rule of communication — that words take on meaning from context and relationship. But as in all cases of respectability politics, what we are really saying to black people is, “Be less human.” This is not a fight over civil rights; it’s an attempt to raise a double standard. It is no different from charging “ladies” with being ornamental and prim while allowing for the great wisdom of boys being boys. To prevent enabling oppression, we demand that black people be twice as good. To prevent verifying stereotypes, we pledge to never eat a slice a watermelon in front of white people.

But white racism needs no verification from black people. And a scientific poll of right-thinking humans will always conclude that watermelon is awesome. That is because its taste and texture appeal to certain attributes that humans tend to find pleasurable. Humans also tend to find community to be pleasurable, and within the boundaries of community relationships, words — often ironic and self-deprecating — are always spoken that take on other meanings when uttered by others.

A few summers ago one of my best friends invited me up to what he affectionately called his “white-trash cabin” in the Adirondacks. This was not how I described the outing to my family. Two of my Jewish acquaintances once joked that I’d “make a good Jew.” My retort was not, “Yeah, I certainly am good with money.” Gay men sometimes laughingly refer to one another as “faggots.” My wife and her friends sometimes, when having a good time, will refer to one another with the word “bitch.” I am certain that should I decide to join in, I would invite the same hard conversation that would greet me, should I ever call my father Billy.

A separate and unequal standard for black people is always wrong. And the desire to ban the word “nigger” is not anti-racism, it is finishing school. When Matt Barnes used the word “niggas” he was being inappropriate. When Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper used “nigger,” they were being violent and offensive. That we have trouble distinguishing the two evidences our discomfort with the great chasm between black and white America. If you could choose one word to represent the centuries of bondage, the decades of terrorism, the long days of mass rape, the totality of white violence that birthed the black race in America, it would be “nigger.”

But though we were born in violence, we did not die there. That such a seemingly hateful word should return as a marker of nationhood and community confounds our very notions of power. “Nigger” is different because it is attached to one of the most vibrant cultures in the Western world. And yet the culture is inextricably linked to the violence that birthed us. “Nigger” is the border, the signpost that reminds us that the old crimes don’t disappear. It tells white people that, for all their guns and all their gold, there will always be places they can never go.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic and the author of the memoir “The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/opinion/sunday/coates-in-defense-of-a-loaded-word.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Aw%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A5%22%7D&_r=0


If you, as a white man, want to "reclaim" and use that most highly offensive and derogatory term, you also reclaim the white man's historical legacy of racial hatred, lynchings, bombings, rapes, slavery, segregation, and history of mistreatment, that is associated with how white men have historically used the term to refer to blacks. And each time you use the word, you're conveying you still view blacks with as much contempt as they were viewed during our country's shameful racist past. But, you want to use the word? Go right ahead. It will help to alert everyone to just what an offensive racist and hate monger you are--if they haven't already guessed.

Personally, every time you use the term at A2K, my stomach turns because I find it so offensive.

You throw around all kinds of slurs, about various groups. Maybe this is some kind of misguided attempt on your part to seem more manly by rejecting anything you see as PC, or some lame-brain effort on your part to show what a free thinker you are. Mostly, it all makes you look vulgar, crude and intentionally offensive. And, with your desire to use the n-word, you've shown just how far down to the bottom of the barrel you're willing to go.
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 04:20 pm
After I have had some time to consider it, I think this thread is just meant to jack with our emotions. He already knew the answer, but just wanted to see people get all upset and emotional.
Frank Apisa
 
  3  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 04:23 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

After I have had some time to consider it, I think this thread is just meant to jack with our emotions. He already knew the answer, but just wanted to see people get all upset and emotional.


Ya think?!
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 04:25 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

edgarblythe wrote:

After I have had some time to consider it, I think this thread is just meant to jack with our emotions. He already knew the answer, but just wanted to see people get all upset and emotional.


Ya think?!


Was the NYT's article written to jack with your emotions too? My, you have such powers that the world revolves around your emotional state .

AMAZING!
firefly
 
  3  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 04:34 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
, I think this thread is just meant to jack with our emotions. He already knew the answer, but just wanted to see people get all upset and emotional

I think he really can't understand why it's all right for blacks to use the term, but not for him, as a white man, to do so--he really is that dense.

No one is suggesting the word be generally banned, and he's used it in the past at A2K, so it really is a non-issue, and you may be right.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Mon 10 Nov, 2014 04:36 pm
@firefly,
Quote:
Mostly, it all makes you look vulgar, crude and intentionally offensive. And, with your desire to use the n-word, you've shown just how far down to the bottom of the barrel you're willing to go.


Your lecture will not change my opinion anymore than lectures from old black leaders have stopped black youth from using it. Words are defined by the people who use them, and the choice of what words are used are decided by the person who owns the mouth.

I know this is hard for you, but Hawkeye is not the subject of this thread. THe word nigger is the subject.
0 Replies
 
 

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