Monday, February 22, 2010

"What if there was no niggas, only master teachers?" ~Erykah Badu

for some time now i've removed the word "nigga" from my vocabulary. when it was present, i didn't use it in every sentence, it just popped up from time to time. but lately i've been thinking about the individuals that are conscious (meaning that they actively try to end a form or all forms of oppression while criticizing, openly questioning and encouraging others to do the same. that can be politically, racially, environmentally, or socially conscious)that use the word "nigga" and why.

theres not that many people that use it, but i love a good polemic, and i love hearing what those who use the word have to say about it.
in the post about Sunni Patterson-the second video-she uses the word "nigga" and she is one of the most conscious poets i've heard. conscious rappers like Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Dead Prez, and Immortal Technique use the word, and my girl Erykah Badu uses it too. but these are amazingly talented artists that are racially, politically and socially conscious on a level that there has to be some type of reasoning behind continuing to use this word.

the reason i stopped using the word is because it is a word that aided in the degradation of black in America. the term "nigger" actually means idiot or foolish, feebleminded person (although, interestingly enough, basically says its a black person. but older dictionaries will cite what we really know the term to mean). and on top of that, we all know that this term became interchangeable with the term "negro" or "black" by whites. blacks using a term like this just signifies the depth at which brainwashing has gone. not only did whites think we were inferior, but blacks as well and we started calling each other "niggas". why people continue to use this term today, to me, is nothing more than a sign of a sustained inferiority complex.
it doesn't matter whether its spelled with an 'a' at the end, an 'ah', has the 'i' replaced with a 'y', is pronounced "nigra", is used by your best friend, your granny, your favorite rapper or your white friend that grew up in the hood who uses the word "wigga" affectionately as well, has a silent 'p', 'y' or clicking sound at the is STILL the same word that means INFERIOR/DUMB/UNINTELLIGENT/STUPID/UNCIVILIZED/BARBARIC. it is like trying to put sprinkles on a pile of shit and trying to pass it off as ice cream. no. no matter how many sprinkles, glitter, balloons and confetti you put around it, its still shit; no matter how many of your family members use it, no matter how many times you use it interchangeable with "friend", "homie", or "dawg" does not change what the word was, is, and will always be. this is how i felt when i stopped using the word, and how i feel now.

now on the other hand, it has come up in a number of discussions i've had that it is possible that some individuals continue to use the word because they actually do separate a type pf person as a "nigga". this (let them tell it), is the fool. its the black person that eats chicken everyday, does not eat vegetables with the exception of collard greens (cooked with a hamhock to season...? maybe thats just a southern thing?)....spends money on Jordans when their light bill hasn't been paid in 2 months, has 3 kids they cannot support with a 4th one on the way, has 4 children by 3 different men, spends $500 on weave when she's on the verge of getting her car repo-ed, has a name ending in 'isha', 'onda' or 'avious'...i think i can stop there. you understand what i mean, well, what THEY (they being people who term these people "niggas") mean.
everyone in my family uses the word. and my dad, who i would consider the most conscious in my family uses it in instances such as.....a small town (in Alabama) came on the news one day to report that a fight broke out between a hundred or so people in front of a mall that has having a sale on sneakers. the fight broke out while they were waiting to enter the store. some cars were smashed, some windows busted, and some people badly injured. all these people were black. to which my dad say "...nuthin but a bunch of niggas. just niggas...."
i think others, like Sunni and some rappers use the word because they believe that many black people are acting like "niggers", and should be called accordingly. the song 'Yall My Niggas' by Nas is a very interesting on. he says with the video below it-
"a pressure couldn't escape us through the ages/we changes the basis of derogatory phrases/ and i say its quite amazing/ the use of ghetto terms, developed our own language/ no matter where it came from/ its celebrated now people are mad if they ain't one/ .... tryin to erase me from yall memory/ too late i'm engraved in history, i'm here my niggas/ speak my name and breathe life in me/ make sure yall never forget me/ yall give me life"

from the song, it appears that he uses the word because he also believes that we've somehow changed the word into something positive. A Tribe Called Quest had the same sentiments in their song 'Sucka Niggas'.
but if the word has changed, then it should be okay for white people to use it too. and is it? in what circumstances? who can't say the word?....i mean, it gets ridiculous when theres all these rules about who can use it, and when.
what do you think?

i think using the word still stands for a brainwashed black person that uses one of the most degrading words in American history to describe themselves or their friends.
it also possible that some conscious people use the word because they think we need to spend time working on changing these people that they term "niggas" as opposed to changing their vocabulary.
and to an extent, i would agree with that. i'm not militant about its use. most black people use it ALL THE TIME, especially here in Brooklyn. but i'm not going to stop them and give them a speech about how the word has been used to aid in the genocide the United States Government has waged against blacks, nor am i going to eliminate all rappers that use the word in their lyrics from my playlists (MF Doom would be the first to go if i did that...and that ain't happening). there are definitely more important things in life, and in the fight against ending oppression than one's vocabulary.
this is spoken word by Julian Curry on Def Poetry Jam:

comment. think. criticize.

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