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Chris Hayden

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Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 12:59 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Y'all know what word I'm talking about (though when people say that I say, which one? Nine? Nugatory? Nonagenarian?)

Anyway it's the one that rhymes with trigger. I just got off another site (yes, I do go to other ones) where there is a long debate about it, you know the one about, "The rappers say it and it's okay but it's not okay when Ted Nugent says it isn't that a double standard?'

Anyway, sorry if this was the subject of another post some time ago (this being a black site, I can't imagine it hasn't come up)--but what do y'allthink about it? Should you or shouldn't you (use it?)
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yukio

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Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 04:22 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As long as one participates in the culture, i think they can use it affirmatively. No one should use it to denigrate a black person....i also believe in context--which i think helps provide meaning for coded words, like nigga/er!

I know phenotypically black people who do not participate in folk rural/urban black culture and use the term to sound "down." They sound terrible. I also know puerto ricans in NYC, some phenotypically black and other pale, who use the word incessantly and they're not using it as the slave master or racist white person or even Chris ROCK...they are part of a particular culture in nyc, especially as hip hop has developed in the S. Bronx, though the use of nigga as a term of indearment is much older than hip hop music.

The word part of pop culture and a detotative rendering doesn't account for the multiple expressions of the word.
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Anonymous

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Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 04:50 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is difficult to hear this word come out of the mouth of any other nationality not just white. This is the same as other nationalities do not want us to use words towards them out side of their nationality. Blacks say it to one another but it has different meanings and only blacks know at the time in what manner it is ment. However,we do not know how to take it when it is said by any other race so the demenor changes and the defences go up. Unfortunenatly some of take to the extream.
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Cynique

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Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 05:43 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The "N" word is kinda like a voo-doo hex; it only harms you if you buy into it. Me, I think it carries waaay too much weight because by being a word that can infuriate black folks, it becomes a word that empowers white ones, enabling them to wreak havoc by simply uttering it. Unfortunately, it is also a word with a painful history that will not go away. I think, too, that since the word "nigga" does not contain a hard "r", it is less offensive; "nigga" flows, "nigger" cuts, not to mention that "nigga" is Ebonics and "nigger" is standard English.
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yukio

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Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 07:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

CYnique:

I do think the word has too much power.

Anonymous:
I agree with what you said about other "nationalities" using the word. Still, there is a difference between folk that are part of a culture and those that are not, so that the cultural groups defines the meaning of the word rather than a particular race. This is often determined by region, city, generation, etc...because if you live in black and white region the word has different ramifications than it would in a culturally diverse space(even within a place like NYC, race and ethnicity expresses itself differently in different places; florida is a similar case). These differences account for the different racial beliefs of black people, where their local culture trumps the traditional white/black norm.

Consider the Ja Rule and J-Lo controversey....some black folk were pissed, but many blacks(40 and younger) from the NYC, NJ, PHilly, Boston were like whats the problem? Was it because she was puerto rican or was it because she didn't have hood credibility...this tension is what eventually came out, since BIG PUN, FAT JOE, and others had always used the term....

P.S.
U see CH, i'm not trying to be NYcentric..lmao!
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ABM

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Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 02:56 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am, probably like most Black folks, somewhat ambivalent about whether/when/how the n-word should be used. But whenever I see or hear from my best friend; the godfather to my kids, the truest companion I have had since I was 9 years old; the very first thing we 2 hi-falutin', smart, accomplished, college-educated Black men say to each other is, "What's up my nigga!?"
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Yukio

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Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:39 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM:
right...it is difficult, because for older folk who don't have the same kind of relationship and experience with the word, using Nigga is hurtful. Yet, we don't all share the same relationship to the word, so that i think we need to respect eachother. If we are in the presence of older folk then regardless of the word-topic, etc... they should get the utmost reverence because of their age and wisdom anyways, and especially cuz we don't want to consciously be hurtful, but when we are in our own space we can do the "what up my nigga," etc...and go about out biznes...

I use it, but i do try to be conscious of my intended and unintended audience.
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Beautifulwaterstar

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Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:00 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

*smacking all of you porch monkeys upside 'da head* "SH'UP, NUKKA!" (ducking)lol

Well.. I always like to ask about pplz interpretations of the "origins" (and not so much the latter connotations) of that word. Anyone familiar with "NKR" (MTU NTR by the way)?
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Beautifulwaterstar

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Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:10 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh and also, it might help to understand why this goes on if one looks at the relationships/terms of endearment of our (enslaved) ancestors.
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yukio

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Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:11 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beautiful:
Explain "MTU NKR" and what are your interpretations of the origins of "that" word?

understand y what goes on?

I don't know the origins, and though i can appreciate origins, i think words have a life of their own, which demands an appreciation of the entire life of the word, especially in popular culture. communities.
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Crystal

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Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:31 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I grew up with this word. My early years were spent entirely in a black community with my black family, friends and schoolmates. We spent our time outside in and around the folks in the neighborhood. This word was used as a greeting, term of endearment, sometimes playfully negative, sometimes in anger but never hurtful. How could such a regular word be hurtful? Men used it much more than women but that was rapidly changing. I said all that to say: I donít see what the big deal is. I still use it around my closest friends and relatives. I know a lot of folks find it inappropriate so itís not part of my everyday work and out in the street language. My son has objected to it since he was small so I donít use it at home either Ö much. Iím a try to keep the peace kinda of person and like I said I donít see the big deal.

No, white folks can't use it. That's like I can call my sister a damn fool but nobody else can.

I find itís the younger generations that object the most. And I doubt if any of them have really had to experience it. They donít like it because of what theyíve read/heard about it.
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ABM

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Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:06 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yukio,
I think you understimate the ability of older folks (& how much "older" do you refer 2 anyway?) to understand & appreciate the difference in how/why the n-word is being used. Older black people have used that word similarly to how younger people do - to offend, describe & endear. Only difference may be that our elders are less inclined to use it as freely in "mixed company".
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Yukio

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Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 12:34 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM:

You're right...it often depends on region, culture, and class....many variables. It is so difficult to really characterize folk on such a contested word. To answer your question, when i said older i meant those in their late 70s and 80s. I have relatives who don't use it, and they are of all ages...but generally, i suspect that more traditional, regardless of age, are less likely to use it.....
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Beautifulwaterstar

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Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 06:44 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, Ya'll.

Yukio, a few have given more details about how our peepz used (and continue to use) "Nigger". I agree with most of what has been said,especially about the word having always two meanings to black ppl (since America).

Well dig it. I'm going to paste summin' from a similar topic and understand I hold no typed words or heard words as absolute truth, but I 'do' look to them for a better glimpse of the bigger picture.

*pasting*

Interesting, but have you ever gone back a little further?(Actually much further..) MTU NTR (Metu Neter) predates Latin and is actually the origin of its (the latin) derivative. I won't spend a whole post in attempt to prove/disprove anything, but just consider this..

"NKR" in Metu Neter="Child of The NK" (NK=Ankh)
So..
It went a little something like this
"NKR"/"NAKUR"/"NAKRU"/"NEKRU"/"NEKRO"/"NEGRO"/"NIGRA"/
"NIGER"/"NIGGER"

The origin of the term, "nigger", in itself is far from "negative", it is moreso its modern connotations ...

I guarantee you if a group of ppl were known as a name even like "Royalty"(meaning "of rank/lineage") and were captured and taken away to foreign land to be exploited as worthless wretches, and were called something like "Royalers" everytime something happened, everytime they were being beaten or scorned (oh and keep in mind the price for attempting to remember who they really are/were=death/hangings etc.) that over quite a few generations, they would see the term "Royaler" as something so worthless. The descendants of "Royalty" after they have been "freed"might even be willing to say "WHO YOU CALLIN' A ROYALER!!??" and fight someone over even calling them that "degrading" name..

The point is this.. Like in the analogy I gave, "Royaler" does not have negative origins.. Neither does "Nigger".. If you REALLY want to destroy a people's collective psyche, the most effective thing to do is twist their original names around so much until you make them hate it, therefore themselves... There is so much power in names and if U don't believe it, why do you think that a group of slavers would refuse to call the "slaves" by their names? Name=Identity.. A people without a knowledge of their true name, a people without pride for their name=a lost ppl.. When you look around, who ARE those ppl? Hmm..

Now I ain't sayin' that everybody's supposed to go out in the streets, talkin' bout "WADUP, NIGGA!!!?? NIGGA PRIDEEEEE!NIGGA NIGGA NIGGA FO' LIFEEEEEEE!!!" lol, but at the same time, maybe we should start researching these things a little more in attempt to get to the root of them. That would shed light on ALOT of things that have gone on/have gone on.. We might not have all the answers on a conscious level, but when we stop blindly accepting everything as absolute truth, ESPECIALLY by those who have battled to keep us from knowing our true identity, then we will be on the path to collective resurrection..

Just my two cents..
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Yukio

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Posted on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:23 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beautiful:

Hmmmm...i'm not clear about some of what was written or your points, so let me ask for clarification:

MTU NRT belongs to what group, nation, tribe, etc...(I'm assuming an African)?

Who is "we?" What is "our true identity?" How can knowledge of "our" past put us on a "path to collective resurrection?" what is "collective resurrection?" And finally, we are we now?

Essentially, what does "our" past identity have to do with "us" now?

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ABM

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Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 06:16 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I recently witnessed a rather interesting exchange involving the n-word. I watched a segment of a documentary about gangs where a group of gangstas continually used the n-word in presumably the variety of ways/reasons Black folks often do (Where in one sentence, someone can use the n-word both to rebuke and to embrace.).

Well, what was startling was the gangstas were all HISPANIC - perhaps Mexican or Puerto Rican to be specific - not African American. And they weren't even talking about Black people. They were apparently talking about each other, other friends and/or rivals. I think the omnipresence of hip/hop culture has almost endowed the n-word with an amazing universality that I find to be both emotionally annoying yet intellectually intriguing.


I am not sure that I believe this, but see if you follow my rationale: In a way, you can argue the broadening of the ways in which the n-word is used symbolizes a great triumph for Black people. You might say our taking control of the usage of the word and wielding it as "WE", and not "they", see fit is an incredible assertion of self-esteem and self-determination. What other people are mentally & emotionally strong enuff to turn a word that was used to enslave, rape & kill them into a term to express love?
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Yukio

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Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 10:31 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM:
Right! Thats the point i tried to make earlier.
It is part of hip hop, but it emerged before that, at least in nyc(and i'm sure places like miami, LA have comparable histories, consider how african americans wore zoot suits, which if i remember correctly was something they got from Mexicans). I'm not sure about other cities. I have tried to make this point before, but it is about a local culture that is created and recreated, ie taking control of the word, by particular groups. In NYC, African Americans and Puerto Ricans have been living together since the 1920s. The 1935 riot in Harlem was because a puerto rican youth was beaten. When particular groups emerge together and re-create their indigenous culture, ie puerto rican and black southern, to form an urban northeastern afro-hispanic culture, naturally, the meanings that are attributed from jim crow or even other areas will necessarily be different. Although there aren't many words with the power of the N word, word usage around this country, at least at the folk and street level, are determined by local, such is the case with the N word....it doesn refer to black people, but to a person..that cat...ol' boy, playboy, nephew, etc....consider Bernie Mack's expert usuage of mutha f*#ka in the Kings of Comedy!
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ABM

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Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 11:33 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yukio, why do you suppose the usage of "ni&&er" has endured and "bloomed" above all other epithets (e.g., "darkie", "coon", "spade", "sambo", "mammie", "jungle bunny", etc.) used against Black people?

It is interesting that you mention the special relationship between Black and Puerto Rican NY'ers. 'Nuyorican's' were nearly as involved in the creation of the hip/hop culture as Blacks. Today, however, h/h is perceived to be almost an entirely Black genre, with Whites (as usual) horning in once the fixin's start getttin' good.

Do you agree that the 'Nuyorican's' have been unfairly marginalized in h/h? If so, how/why did that happen?
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Cynique

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Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 11:53 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM, while Yukio is formulating her answer to your question, may I interject my thoughts on this subject, which would be that "nigger" doesn't conjure up a specific visual image the way the metaphors you mentioned do. And the derogatory words you cite have become obsolete in their usage because they hark back another era in the black experience."Nigger" endures because it is an abstract term, one that can mean whatever the user wants it to mean. "Nigga" is a derivative of "nigger", but it is not necessarily interchangeable with it. We are, of course, teetering on the slippery slope of semantics when discussing the entomology of this fascinating word. An interesting aside about Puerto Ricans is that they are a nationality, not a race, something a black Puerto Rican once told me as he reminded me that there are "white" Puerto Ricans, too. Maybe that can account in part for the special relationship between African American's and their Puerto Rican brothers of color.
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Cynique

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Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 11:47 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ooops! I meant to say "etymology" which is the study of word origins, not "entomology" which is the study of bugs. Although, maybe my error was not so incorrect after all, considering that the word in question really has the power to bug people. LOL
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Yukio

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Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM&Cynique:

I don't know y the term has been so omnipresent, but Cynique's response sounds good...very interesting!

Well, Nuyoricans have remained in hip hop, but mostly as dancers and DJs, not as MCs. Remember, hip hop culture is graffiti, MC, DJ, and Dance....and i think there is anotha element that i'm missing.

I do think Puerto Ricans have been marginalized if we are talking about the hip hop culture(BTW, hip hop is african american, west indian, and puerto rican origins. It was popularized and cultivated as a music form by mostly African Americans MCs, though the DJ is responsible for the music...KRS is Jamaican, so is KID of KID&PLAY...caribbeans have always been there...but not in there dance hall or reggae form, as it is now!); if we are talking about the music then, I would have to say no.

Right, Cynique....PR are a nationality, not a race! Right, i think the color shared does have bearing on black & PR relations, but color is only part of the scenario. PRs of all colors have been African Americanized, and vice versa, since we all grew up together, shared institutions like schools, boys and girls club, at least in NYC(and it is generational, class, region, as much as race. For example, now that there is a much larger hispanic population in NYC, the new PR&DR immigrants are not so friendly w/African Americans and vice versa. The relationship is new, and the times do not demand that they share as much as they had to in the past. Similarly, I attended a HBCU and i had PR friend from NYC who also attended, and it took awhile for the southern blacks to realize that he wasn't white and that he wasn't trying to be black. He was being himself, a Nuyorican. There are so many variables...consider the Felix Trindad and Hopkins situation, where Hopkins snatch a PR flag and through it down in PR, and after the fight, he said "i like puerto ricans they got some black in them" If Hopkins grew up with PRs he wouldn't have ever said what he said). As i suggested above, these relationships are primarily local that have been cultivated over time(since the 1920s).


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