There was a woman on a television talk show responding to all the racial hysteria associated with black people being referred to as niggers and nappy headed ho’s. Martha Zoller, a talk show host for radio station WDUN in north Georgia, was giving her two cents on the history of the word nigger. Her theory is that the word was not originally meant as a racial slur but as a way to say Negro by country ass white people who must’ve had a speech impediment on top of their southern Georgia accent on top of their racist nature. Over time, with so many racist white people using it, the word became “accidentally” racially charged. But by the same token Ms. Zoller says it would be a mistake to hold people accountable for the inappropriate use of the word in their homes and in private. Holding people accountable for the usage of this word would cause too much fear in the white community and people wouldn’t know what to say.
The next question was why was it okay for black people to refer to each other as niggaz but have difficulty when white people employ the reference. White people pretend not to know the difference but it is as clear as a white man being referred to as boy. A white man might let his father or mother or wife call him boy but might take offense when a strange black man calls him boy. What’s the difference? Wouldn’t the word boy be the same word boy from the black man as it would be from the white man’s family? People who are not moronic idiots will know the difference without it being broken down to its most basic components for spoon feeding. The context of the word has a lot to do with the meaning behind the usage of the word.
White people have used the word nigger to subjugate black people. A white person saying nigger to a black person is a white person doing what they believe will pique feelings of insecurity and inferiority in the black person. And it is not the word that is the problem. The fact that black people use the word as a reference for each other without problem is proof of this. My nigga is a term of endearment for many black people. We don’t use it to separate ourselves from each other. We use it as a collective. The problem is the audacity of white people who want to use this word despite the negative history of the word as a reference to black people by the white community. White people have a history of using the word nigger as a tool to belittle black people and describe them as the lowest denominator of the human species. And for some white people the word nigger was used to describe black people as sub human.
And now white people want to moan, bitch, and complain because black people don’t want white people to go back to being able to call black people niggers. White people want to call black people niggers so badly that they don’t know what to call black people. A lot of people from the mainstream dominant culture have trouble being denied the ability to publicly holler nigger anytime they want by the supposedly subordinate black culture. White people are still shunned from being able to blatantly call a black person a nigger and have it be acceptable. This is not to say that a lot of white people don’t refer to their black neighbors as niggers. They just wouldn’t want to be seen publicly doing it. A lot of people do their racial slurs under the anonymity of the internet. But it would be a real coup if white people could actually convince the black population that it really would be okay to be called nigger by white people.
If black people could tolerate being called nigger from black people then it’s only fair that white people have the opportunity to do the same. It would only be fair. But there is nothing fair about the way our culture operates in America. The dominant culture controls the vast majority of our social structures and aren’t about to relinquish any of it. Why are they so concerned about the public usage of the word nigger? And the more white people use it or are caught using it the more white people will tolerate the usage of it and eventually, some time in the future, some time sooner than later more than likely, the white people will not give a damn if black people care about being called niggers or not. Eventually, one day, white people will relearn to use the word nigger with impunity.
It may sound like a silly thing but right now the word nigger is one of the few things that the black community can still stand up and say no against with a somewhat unified voice. There are a few black people who will say that it is ridiculous for black people to have such a neurosis against a single word. People say that if black people would just not react with such rancor to the word the word would have no power over us. I have to remind that it isn’t the word that’s the problem it is the sentiment behind the word.
Why does the mainstream feel the need to use the word? Yes the word has power. It was used to control us and to subjugate us. Now it is a word that is off limits. It is word that we don’t want to hear white people using. It has connotations that white people don’t want to confront. It shows white people’s racism. If the black community let white people go back to using the word nigger without any complaint from us then the we really have lost any hope of coming together as a people.
To those white people want to use the word nigger, all I can say is you don’t deserve the privilege. The dominant culture’s perpetual denial of their history of racism and how they refuse to recognize their continuing subjugation of the black community is proof positive that the word should be off limits. Black issues and concerns are dismissed and people roll their eyes with an attitude of get over it. It happened so long ago. We didn’t own any slaves so we don’t owe black people anything. Black people should get an education. Black people should get a job. Black people should get a life. Black people should go to hell if they think I’m going to do anything to stop white privilege. Confront the history of white on black racism and then maybe it wouldn’t be so painful to hear white people using the word that hangs like a noose in our collective psyche. Until then, this word is definitely not for you.