Niggas in Paris FOR REAL part 3- “If we can’t use it, you can’t either.”
***disclaimer!!! This post was supposed to have ALREADY BEEN POSTED! I admitted to being late but not more than 2 days late. The cause is most likely my internet connection. I believe it was firefox and I am now using CHROME.
Goodevening Gumbo readers. It’s always nice to validate racial stereotypes while analyzing racial slurs, ey? I know I’m an entire day late and being black doesn’t help but I’ve been sleeping 10hrs a day from 4am-2pm. Part of that is because I’m sick and part of that is because my sleeping schedule is all out of control. That’s my excuse, now let’s get with it.
This is PART 3 to the NIGGAS IN PARIS FOR REAL series. If you missed part 2 or part 3, click on the respective links. If you don’t know what this series is about, it’s about a tweet that Gwyneth Paltrow tweeted while on stage with Jay Z and Kanye during the Watch the Throne tour. Though I feel Gywnie’s tweet had no ill intention or wrong doing, the responses that have come up in her defense point out serious issues with the word nigga, its cultural relevance, and its history. Direct from Wikipedia, here’s a summary of the origin of the word nigger.
- The variants neger and negar, derive from the Spanish and Portuguese word negro (black), and from the now-pejorative French nègre (nigger).
- In the Colonial America of 1619, John Rolfe used negars in describing the African slaves shipped to the Virginia colony. Later American English spellings, neger and neggar, prevailed in a northern colony. An alternative word for African Americans was the English word, “Black”, used by Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia. Among Anglophones, the word nigger was not always considered derogatory, because it then denoted “black-skinned”, In the United Kingdom and the Anglophone world, nigger denoted the dark-skinned (non-white) African and Asian (i.e., from India or nearby) peoples colonized into the British Empire, and “dark-skinned foreigners” — in general.
- By the 1900s, nigger had become a pejorative word. In its stead, the term colored became the mainstream alternative to negro and its derived terms. Abolitionists in Boston, Massachusetts, posted warnings to the Colored People of Boston and vicinity. Writing in 1904, journalist Clifton Johnson documented the “opprobrious” character of the word nigger, emphasizing that it was chosen in the South precisely because it was more offensive than “colored.” Established as mainstream American English usage, the word colored features in the organizational title of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, reflecting the members’ racial identity preference at the 1909 foundation. Linguistically, in developing American English, in the early editions of A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806), lexicographer Noah Webster suggested the neger new spelling in place of negro.
- By the late 1960s, the social progress achieved by groups in the United States such as the Black Civil Rights Movement (1955–68), had legitimized the racial identity word black as mainstream American English usage to denote black-skinned Americans of African ancestry. In the 90’s, “Black” was later displaced in favor of the compound blanket term African American. Currently, some black Americans continue to use the word nigger, often spelled as nigga and niggah, without irony, to either neutral effect or as a sign of solidarity.
The main things to take away from this information is that
1. The origin of the word nigger was neutral and was mainly descriptive but not negative or offensive.
2. In the 1900s, it became a pejorative (belittling or offensive term) because of whites from the south intentionally made it so.
3. Throughout the entire time, blacks stated what they wanted to be called but it seems society decided to use the terms colored and nigger more often than the term negro or black.
The main reason I bring up these points, especially the 3rd point, is that white society has chosen what blacks have been called in society more than blacks ever have. Even after the more modern title of black or African American was accepted by society, the societal and stereotypical image of blacks is still largely controlled and manipulated by whites. I don’t say all this to start a racial divide or a racial finger pointing session but to me, my statements are facts. At the very least, what I say is based in facts.
So how does this relate in anyway to Gwyneth Paltrow? The facts I’ve mentioned don’t relate directly to Paltrow but to the general comments defending her usage of the title of the song “ni**as in paris” in a tweet. These are the comments that seem to express the general opinions of the users.
I agree with the opinion of @Amen Fashion when it comes to the first sentence. After that, I disagree. The rest of that comment only repeats the opinion that, “If we can’t use it, then yall can’t use it.” I believe the most disturbing thing about this opinion is that people who feel this way, feel how they feel not because it’s a right or wrong issue, but because they feel like “if I, as a white American can’t use the word “nigga” then you, as an African American shouldn’t and can’t use it too. If you do use it, then it’s okay for me to use as well.” The comments above prove this point because some feel that they can use the word “nigga” because they have been called an ethnic slur by blacks or bc we, as black people, can’t have exclusive use of the word. These people are not against the use of the word “nugga” because it is traced to the word “nigger” which has a derogatory, slavery related history. They just want black people to stop using “the black card” to tell them what they can and cannot do. This idea might seem far fetched to some but then I came across a comment that simplified exactly what majority of the users felt.
Some comments even claim that calling out white people who use the word “nigga” is a double standard.
If this isn’t a joke then why is it so crazily funny? A true double standard is men being able to have lots of sex and being congratulated while women who are having just as much sex are considered whores and sluts. To suggest that whites using the word “nigga” is a double standard would imply that whites actually want to use the word. Why would whites even want to use the word “nigga” so freely? When would they even have occasions to use the word appropriately?? The most ironic thing is that white Americans from the south made the use of the word “nigger” popular and derogatory. Now that we’ve made a derivative of the word controversial but popular and positive, it’s a problem? Isn’t it funny that when black rappers made the derivative “nigga” and turned it into a positive term that a large number of white Americans and even some black Americans were and still are against the use of the word? The general opinion on the word “nigga” seems very similar to the time when it was common, okay, and expected to use the word nigger to address a black person. The difference is that the word “nigga” was invented by blacks, has a positive use and is mainly used among blacks. Instead of whites being told by other white people what they should say, they are being told what they can’t say by blacks.
Maybe that’s what it’s really about, that “power factor.” Every time I see a racial issue from the Travyon Martin case to the Rodney King and OJ trials to all the other cases we never hear about, I imagine this scoreboard. One team is white Americans and the other team is black people. Even though the white Americans outscore us, the broken racial relationship makes white Americans want more points while black people just want to get close enough to be equal or surpass in points. The desire to keep scoring 2+ points for every 1 point a black person gets doesn’t fade with time but stays constant on a general level for white America. This is strictly an opinion.
Personally, I don’t hate or have this revenge nature against white people. I do feel there are issues on both sides that need to be addressed that heavily involve historical relationships. One example is the dismissal of slavery and its effects that have lasted even to today. It makes me wonder about things like why a show like the Cosby’s was so well received. Is it because it showed a black family that resembled a “white family’s” financial status, educational values and moral code while giving blacks something to look up to? Was it also well received because it showed a generally docile, successful, black2 two parent home? Maybe it was just a really good show but there’s always something deeper. When you look at how Bill Cosby rallies against the black youth and black parents with more criticism than support and is beloved by white America, you know there are always deeper issues.
I feel it’s easy for either side to be opposed to the other strictly on race. I don’t hate white people but it’s not always easy to relate financially, emotionally, and culturally to them. Those differences can bring about similarities that create a good relationship or it can expose the racial issues that still exist to this day. I wonder what Jay Z, Kayne, and Beyonce’ have to say?
To put an end to the controversy of Paltrow’s tweet, I’ll use one last comment from a yahoo user and then drown myself in Netflix and social networks.