Thursday, April 15
HAS NOT LEFT THE BUILDING
A plethora of racial slurs are hurled across the cover of this issue of The Paper for a reason. It is an attempt to raise emotion as well as critical analysis in all the people of varying ethnicities who say the words nigga, nigguh, and nigger. Why are all of these slurs so striking, so hurtful, and the potential brunt of responsive anger? I am told nigga is just a word, so why are these words different?
Black people, in using the N-word, remain the only race to embrace a terrible slur thtat disgraces our elders and say "it's not meant like that." Every time I hear a group of people complacently using the term, I get as upset as one who may be looking at the cover of The Paper right now. I shake with rage and violent thoughts cross my mind, which I imagine others feel when they hear slurs against their own people. It is especially disappointing that my Black American peers, who are only getting older, have allowed such a disrespectful term to exist in mainstream culture.
As a peer said to me recently, " the white supremacists are laughing" each time this word is used. I find refuge in quiet rooms an the company of people who just dont speak this way, but why should I have to stay away from public areas, including spaces around this College, just to reduce my chances of being assaulted with this violent word? I find it humiliating that in an institution of learning, so many people are comfortable calling each other this. No matter what the intention, it is a violent word!
Niggardly: meanness, cowardly, stingy
Niggling: petty and annoying
Although these words are etymologically different from nigger, let's remind ourselves of the power of words in reinforcing behavior. I urge my fellow Black Americans to change saying the word nigga to brother, or even better, KING for a week and see if you notice any difference. You may notice how often you actually used the disgraceful word and how interchangeable it has become. You may also notice how using other words --uplifting words --with each other can potentially transform our community.
Humans are so creative yet we are recycling a word historically used by raping, murderous slave catching monsters? We can't come up with anything else?
So what importance does The Paper have addressing the use of racial slurs on our City College campus? Two years earlier, I published my first article here, which was entitled: "Say No to Saying NIGGA!" Then I began a series called Authorized use of The N-Word, which saw its last installment in The Paper last semester. Alarmingly, in September 2009 I received a call from the police commisioner's community liasion, inquiring about a hate crime that occurred on campus specifically directed at African Americans. And now, even more recent news this seemester of abuses and violent behaviors attached to this word has demanded I write something in this issue.
A common response from "pro niggahs" is to say the derogatory word was nigger and what is being said now is nigga. Think analytically when reading history and you will realize the White people of the time who were auctioning, buying, and selling people also had different accents. You would not have simply heard all saying nigger, some would have also said nigguh and nigga.
Antoher response is that I use it "with my friends," yet you can hear the same person describing enemies and even specifing "they want niggas" to mean African Americans! The pain attached to this word is not obsolete. Congressman John Lewis provides an example of one recently assaulted with the term, and knowing how long he has been a Black man in the U.S. it surely was not the first time.
I realize others take permission from African Americans to use it. There is a rich history of immigrant struggles in the U.S. demanding from America the rights we all share. Yet many display disregard for the unique Black American history that allows us all to move freely in this country. They will use the word as often and in front of whomever they please as loudly as possible and then say "I'm not Black" or even "I hate Black people". Do people consider the depths to which these niggas struggled for all of us?
My aim here is to highlight America's history and current conditions that are uniquely prejudicial towards African Americans. Part of that system is represented in all uses of nigga.
Only if I say words like those on the cover do people scorn and attack me. No one cares if I say nigga but somehow these other words remain where they should be: FORBIDDEN.
The Editors at The Paper welcome continued dialogue on the matter.