Thursday, July 17, 2008

White people please just say no to the "N" word.

So now that we know what the FAKE NEWS people have on Jessie (seems he dropped the "N" word while talking about his "O"ness), I want to talk about this issue for a minute. Not Jessie, he is irrelevant as far as black folks are concerned. So the FAKE NEWS folks can go ahead knock themselves out with their tape of Jessie saying "nigger" while talking to another black man, that is a none issue with moi. ---although I do recall the good Rev. condemning the use of the "N" word.-- So Jessie is a hypocrite, tell us something we don't know.

No, tonight I want to ask my white friends who are regulars to the fields to give me a little insight into the white psyche. Here is my question: Why do some white folks get upset because black folks can use the word "nigger" to each other, and they can't? (At least not in public) Honestly, what's up with that shit? Today on the "View" they almost came to blows because the conservative co-host (Elisabeth Hasselbeck) wanted to know what's up with the double standard? "How are we supposed to move forward if we keep using words that bring back that pain?" She wanted to know. Don't worry Elisabeth, we have moved on from the word. So much so that we call each other the word now. We don't have to do shit. You just try not to use it, and we will be cool. And of course I have to give props to the sisters on the view. They were not pleased. Whoppie and girlfriend had the look didn't they? Sisters you know the one. The one that says I am about to take off these earrings and slip off these pumps, and "commence" to start whooping (no pun intended) on that ass any minute now.

But the shit is frustrating. White folks, I know it seems unfair, but there are just some things some people can say that you can't. Well, you can, but at your own risk; if you know what I mean. I don't care how close you think you are to your black friend, do not fuck up and call him [or her] that word. Look, I have quite a few Italian friends, and I don't for a minute think that I can call them the "G" or the "D" word, I just don't. In fact, the shit never crossed my mind. And contrary to what I have heard people say in the past, other ethnics do use slurs to describe each other, and you don't hear us black folks going around saying; Why is it okay for you people to call each other names but it's wrong if we do it?

Now personally, I have used the word in the past, but it's no longer a part of my vocabulary (unless I am writing something to make a point) . But the word doesn't bother me like it does some people (unless a white person says it), and I laugh my ass off at comedians like Kat Williams when they use it ---So sue me--. I have seen proprietors of some blogs lose their natural minds if someone slips up and uses the word, and I always have to wonder why. Is it because they are afraid that some white folks will say that they read it on their blogs, and now it's open season on the "N" word? Give me a break.

Look, if you don't like the word, or if it offends you, don't use it. But please folks, don't give white folks a pass to use it because other black folks use it to each other. And when certain white folks(present company excluded of course) get mad at black folks for using the word because they can't use it, what does that tell you? I will tell you what it tells me: It tells me that they want to use it on your black ass, but they can't, because it isn't PC. And that's just so frustrating. It's a double standard field, you know it is. No one should be allowed to use the word, black or white. If it's a bad word, it's a bad word when black people use it, and when white people use it, why differentiate. And all that sounds so logical that I almost don't have a come back for it.......almost.

It is a double standard, but folks in the majority created it. They used the word against us for years. Used it to demean belittle, and to humiliate. Now it's not cool for them to use it anymore because society would like to keep such things hidden away. Oh, some of you still say it, but never in public. And now black folks use it too, but to each other. And in most cases as a term of endearment, and for whatever reason, for many black folks, (especially the younger ones) it has become damn near a part of their language. So now you are upset, because you see some of us using it, and you wonder why you can't use it too.

But hey, you can still use the word if you are so inclined. It's a free country. Just be careful, because you never know who might be listening.


icebergslim said...

Good post.

Afrodite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nelson said...

Two primary reasons, Field.

1) Whites do not understand the history of the word. I mean really understand--not read in a book understand. Some whites who have a family history of racism (or, if you prefer, ethnic stereotyping) claim to share the same experience, but it's because the racism against their ethnic group is largely over or superficial now. Skin color is a monumental physical cue, whereas whites are all whites after awhile.

So some whites never knew what it was like, and others think, "see I've been a victim too, but I'm over it (because I can no longer be stereotyped but I don't make that mental connection) and therefore you black people should be over it."

2) The very fact that it is taboo means saying it gives a mild adrenaline rush. It is like saying the F word in a professional setting or watching porn on your ipod at church, etc.

Afrodite said...

It is arrogance. White people are used to being the ones who can do things that others can't. They are extremely frustrated to know that that there is one word we can use and they can't (unless they risk being labled racist). They can't deal with the fact that there is something blacks have that they are not apart of. This is why most white people secretly want to say the word. This is why some white ask their black friends to allow them to say it. They think "How can THEY tell US that WE can't say what we want." They are used to such privileges and cant deal with anything that hinders this privilege.

Afrodite said...

Think about it whites are obsessed with getting darker skin. They're obsessed with afros. I'm in a majority white school. I have a afro and believe me they can't get enough of it. They say "Oh if I could choose any hair it would be yours. Its the same thing to me as using the N word. The few things about us they can't have it they are obsessed with. Things like rap music and style of dress and stuff are attainable but the ability to say the N word and its acceptable? that is something only blacks and openly racist people can do around each other.

I'm not saying all whites are like this but some are and I really believe that this is the way their Psyche works

Christopher said...


When I first visited your blog, I wrote that the use of the word made me crawl because it had been used throughout the decades to rob a people of their humanity.

I don't use it.

My parents didn't use it.

My friends don't use it.

There is no reason for any white person to use it. Period.

Anonymous said...

I think MY personal discomfort with the "N" word, no matter who is saying it, is that I was raised to believe it was one of the worst things you could call a black person; sort of a super cuss word. Every time I hear it, I cringe.

Now, that said, I fully understand that disadvantaged people have historically been known to take a word or phrase that is being used to keep them down and turn it into a position of power. I liken it to the whole bitch scenario. Girlfriends can call each other that and it means one thing, while a man calling a woman that means something completely different.

I stand firmly in the live and let live camp. Having never been a minority, I have no way of knowing the shit that you all have to put up with everyday and no amount of trying to educate myself on the subject will give me those insights. If a black person tells me that it’s ok for them to call another black person the “N” word but that it is offensive if I do it, them I have to accept that as the reality and go with it… choosing to use it or not based on that understanding.

Admiral Komack said...


-It's a zombie word.
It crawled out of the grave.
Jesse was possessed!

Anonymous said...

Man fuck these crackas ass mofos. What they really want to do is use the word with impunity just like the good old days. I get tired of folks particularly white folks acting like black people are some foreigners in this land. We have here since 1619 dammit you should know everything there is to know about us by now. I am sick of placating or allowing them to feign ignorance about this word and its terrible history in this country. You also notice that this bs conservation keeps popping up about every two years now. The only thing is that the word is taboo but white record companies allow these ignorant rappers and sanction that shit like candy for a global market to call black people niggers. Remember a few years back when Oprah walked into Mandela's mansion and his security call her ass nigga. She flipped the fuck out. Fuck Elizabeth AND ANY OTHER MOFO ACTING DUMB BEHIND A SO CALLED DOUBLE STANDARD.

Anonymous said...

Im a white guy, I dont use it and I make a strong point when other whites use it around me (believe me, it doesnt happen that much). I think anybody who uses it, whatever race, is an ignorant dumbass (KAT included).
My father (a british immigrant) taught me it says more about the person using it than the intended target.
Look at who uses it, dumbass whites, dumbass blacks.
Mr. White

Anonymous said...

I wrote about the use of nigger on my blog. I understand the reasoning behind the "take away the power" argument, but I disagree with it. When was the "Let's De-Power Nigger" meeting held? I wasn't invited.

Anyway, my blog post goes into the history of nigger and why it should not be used by anyone - black or white:

Anonymous said...

I'm with Chris. It's dehumanizing to use that word, just like it is when you call a woman the C-word.

I've never used that word before, and even if Nas kept this original album title I still wouldn't use it when I ask to buy his latest release at Barnes & Noble.

Some things are just wrong because they are, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck has to be the most ignorant television host I've ever seen.

Keith said...

Field...As usual you make a very strong argument. However, I do think that we should all bury that word now. It has such a bad history connected to it. I hate it when I hear young people using that word around white people...And I do my part to school themon why they shouldn't use it towards each other. I myself
was guilty of using it with my friends when I was in my teens and twentys. When I turned thirty, I stopped using it,except like you..when I'm trying to make a point.
This was still a great post. I'm in the middle of a three part opus on my site...As soon as I'm finished that..I'm going to go back to posting about subjects that matter like you do.

Anonymous said...

I was going to quote from Afrodite's first comment but then realized I'd wind up quoting the whole thing. Nailed.

If you grow up white you grow up believing people who look like you are the default, the normal. And if you grow up white and being taught that the U.S. used to have a problem with racism, oh, sure, but that's all in the past and now we're all only one race, the human race, then what you go stupidly and maybe sometimes willfully unaware of is how, whenever you hear "human," what you visualize in your mind is another white person. That part's largely unconscious.

So, whee, we're all one human race, yay! Except then a white person hears a black person using the n-word, and that illusion of one big happy (HOMOGENOUS, WHITE) race is shattered for the white person. And then, instead of acknowledging the white privilege that permits that kind of delusional thinking, what happens instead most of the time is that the white person gets resentful and starts going, "Hey, you can say that and I can't; that's special treatment, that's unequal, that's unfair, that's discriminatory. I thought it was BAD to be discriminatory." Which is completely brain-damaged thinking and ought to explode any lingering notions of white supremacy right there, but it almost never does because like Afrodite said, arrogance. It can never be that whites are being stupid, it has to be that we're getting a raw deal somehow.

It's the same as the stupid behind "how come there gets to be BET, but if you tried to have WET"--where what isn't acknowledged is how much of TV already IS White Entertainment Television.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned the thrill of an illicit word and someone else mentioned arrogance, I think both of those theories are part of it.

As a white dude, I'd have to say it's also the reflexive white guilt thing most of all.

Whites are uncomfortable with "the angry black man," and don't like feeling cornered or guilty for the historical mistreatment of blacks. Whites, for the most part, who hear blacks use the word, are being reminded of black greivances and this makes them uncomfortable. It's like we start expecting the 40 acres and a mule speech to come up.

I know it sounds crazy, but you need to understand... for alot of relatively decent white people, lib and conserv alike, there's this fear in the back of their minds that that black guy we work with every day is going to turn around one day, point his finger, and start telling us off about slavery, Jim Crow, take your pick.

The "N" word making whites jittery is right up there with why alot of whites say that racism isn't a problem in America anymore... it's more wishful thinking than anything.... as in; if we don't look at it, the issue will disappear.


Anonymous said...

I'm a young Black woman, and I've made up my mind not to use that word. My friends use that word in everyday conversation, and it disgusts me. It reminds me too much of the slave having to take any old thing the master handed down to him/her. Slaves had to wear the hand me down clothes. Slaves had to eat the hand me down food. Slaves had to follow a hand me down religion. Slavery is supposed to be over, we don't need to use the master's hand me down insults in order to describe ourselves.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Field, you finished off your post saying "you never know who might be listening."

I could care less if white folks are listening. They use their terms all the time. Remember Jeff Foxworthy, the famous comedian who had an HBO special AND a best selling book, "You Might Be A Redneck If..."

There is no sane reason to allow another race the power to dictate what one race says to each other. The first thing they did to African slaves was strip them of their language and culture. Black folks have bent over backwards to assimilate ever since.

Many in the black middle class imitate them as much as possible out of economic necessity, and this includes all classes straightening our hair or cutting it short for jobs.

As I see it, the use of the word nigga was backlash and a determination by the black underclass to create a bonafide black culture.

It included afros, comedy using the word, and naming our kids whatever the hell we wanted.

Meanwhile a significant portion of white America runs around screaming about the value of the Confederate flag and why they're voting for McCain since Hillary didn't win. We are entitled to use our own terms of endearment - one word, ironically, flipped around by us from a negative word to an okay word, just for us, used by us. We need to stop being ashamed of it and tell the NAACP, who has disavowed Rev. Wright's truth telling about most of history, and others like them to get a grip and stop pandering under the guise of assimilation.

Now, lemme sip some coffee and tell ya how I really feel...

Ann Brock said...

@anonymous 12:07 I have never heard it explained that way. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I hate to go all Miss Manner's on you, but it is a matter of civility.

I teach at a Jewish school and I do not permit my kids to use Jewish slurs. When I work my summer gigs I chastize my black and hispanic kids for using slurs about themselves. I am English and Italian; I don;t do those slurs.

I cringe at the coursing of American culture. What society holds pimps, hoes, and gangstas above educuated working people.
Garbage in, garbage out. We need to be working to a more civil society.

My wife says it best "I grew up in a mud hut (she's African), my parents didn't work themselves to death to send me to school so I can sound primitive. When I disrepect the English language I disrespect my education and my parents."

SagaciousHillbilly said...

I grew up in an environment where it was acceptable to use the word when refering to black people. My father used it and most of the other men around used it.
I havn't used it my entire adult life except when I've gotten up in other white trash mother fucker's faces and told them that the use of the word pisses me off almost as much as their assuming it's ok to use it in front of me just because I'm also a white trash crackerass.
I don't think much of it when I hear a black person use the term, but I fucking freak when I hear a white person use it.

Grata said...

I had a close European friend for 3 years. But when she came to America, she picked up afew things and one day the N word slipped from her while we were having dinner in a fancy restaurant when some AA boys entered the restaurant. I was shocked and she tried to apologize but a part of me instantly closed off to her. Our friendship had a slow death thereafter. What is even more profound about this is that I am African and only got exposure to the word when I travelled to the Western world in my adulthood. But I learnt what the word meant and its intent. I should be the least bothered and shrug it off.
But her saying it made me realize that this person in their subconscience saw me as less than them and believes that word to define a black person, the whole experience left a bitter taste.

Field you are right, it is never OK for a white person to use it unless their intent is to get a negative reaction.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I saw this today and wanted to slap the hell out of Elizabitch. I really did. How dare her try to insinuate that the word shouldn't be used in public or private. I can say whatever the hell I want in my f*&king house. I don't really have an opinion on the word use or not, I rarely say it, but have no problems when others do. Every now and then I have to use it as there are times when it is the only word I can use to describe the person or the behavior being witnessed at the time. I thought Whoopi was going to beat that ass though, woulda been good too. Also, if white people wanna use the word, go right ahead, but you betta hope I am not within ear shot of you to hear it.....

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Field, In my view, it's not a matter of double standards, it's a matter of respect, and "respect" means adhering to the expectations of whomever you are interacting with, unless those expectations are illegal, immoral, or fattening.

If you care about or love someone, do you want to rub their noses in your freedom of expression because the 1st Amendment is on your side, or do you want to respect their feelings and observe some considerate rules of interaction?

I don't care if it's alright that blacks/Afro-Americans use the N word. In fact, I'd feel like a phony if I did use it, cuz my family never used it, and nobody I respected (in my white world) did either. It's foreign to my tongue.

Should a black friend use the term...who am I to say? I haven't been there and done that.

I have no problem with what some folks call a "double standard" because it's not a double standard at all. Insistence on the privilege of speech unrestrained by good judgment and respect lacks integrity and humanity.

Glad you brought the topic up, Field. It's something that needs talking about.

Of course, I'll be watching you to see that you don't tell too many stories about Irishmen abusing the fruit of the barley... ;)

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile back in California for example, institutional racism results in 40% drop out rates for African Americans aka blacks from high school. But, heh, it's ok, we are post racial and we are arguing about archaic word usage. And we can all get pissed about a white idiot like me using a stupid word. But who is up in arms about the double standard in education? Fucking no one.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Great post. I don't know what Elizabeth's problem is.

And Yes Jesse "we need to bury this word" Jackson is a hypocrite.

I personally don't used the word. I heard it too many times growing up from white kids who meant it.

In Toronto there is a restaurant called Terroni. The place is owned by folks from Calabria, Italy. From what I understand Northern Italians used it as a very derogatory word (it's means some like Earth People) against those from the South. You best believe I would not call my Sicilian friends that word. There is now one in L.A. The pizza is very good.

Anonymous said...

I can't even get myself to say the word in a neutral, academic sense, like:

"I can't believe Jesse called Barack a N_____"

"The word N_____ is very offensive and should never be used.

I cannot imagine a point at which I could actually direct that word AT a person or to refer to a group of people. If I DO get to that point at any phase in my life, don't worry. My wife will make sure I disappear and that my body is never found.

Bob said...

This was last summer. I'm walking down the street around the corner, & a young black man is front of an apt building & he's holding a beautiful little girl in pink dress, maybe a year old, showing her off to his friend. Nice scene so far. As I pass by, the friend is tickling & poking the little girl as the proud father bounces her in arms, & the friend is saying, "Aren't you my cute little nigger, aren't you my little nigger girl." Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. You can have the word. Use it. Embrace it. Raise little nigger girls. Fill their ears with it. Who am I to bitch?

Anonymous said...

Nigger, Niglet, Nigga, Niggaz..

hmm.. no matter how you spell it, say it, in terms of endearment or not, in your house or out in this the word you're so proud of that its ok? sigh..

instead of using the N word like an honor badge just because of the *history* attached to it.. here a suggestion..learn new words that has more meaning and less deragotary.

Anonymous said...

You ever heard a white person rapping along to a hip-hop song that you knew contained the N-word? They usually skip over it when they're in black company.

But should they have to?

Prohibitting the repetition of the N-word found in rap songs gets hypocritical when you consider all the equally offensive misogynist lyrics you hear white and black people (both men and women) rapping along with all the time.

Why not throw the N-word into general parlance when "bitch," "ho," and "chickenhead" have become relatively prosaic terms? Aren't we "re-empowering" the N-word by claiming the rights to exclusive black use of the term and then blowing up anytime a white person says it?

Let it go; the use of the term is inevitable. Any person--black, white, or other--who utters it is acting equally ignorant.

Rodney said...

I LOVE THIS! Being a house Negro, I'm always interested to know what's going on in the fields.

I actually love the "N" word when used properly and white people just can't use it that way. I understand their confusion at our not wanting them to use it. What is all comes down to is a matter of respect. Respect us enough to understand and honor our request without question.

The problem: white privilege doesn't understand the concept of respecting anyone who doesn't look like them.

Develop your white people!

Anonymous said...

Dang it, field; why ask us white folks a question when you already had put the answer better than we could have? OF COURSE the white folks who complain about the word just want to use it themselves!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, completely. There is power in the word and it is enlightening to read the responses on your blog. Check out my blog when you get an opportunity. All I can say is we are on the same page on this one.
The failed integration/assimilation experiment in this country has caused some to become uncomfortable when they can't exercise their privilege.
Bravo! Keep writing.

From the Field,
Black Rose

field negro said...

I would like to thank the HFN (AKA white people who are regulars here) who helped me to understand this phenomena.

Seriously, you all make some good points. I liked what nelson m. had to say. And the personal experiences (such as the ones grata and bob gave) are always intersting.

Anonymous said...

I just wanna know why little blonde prissy chicks like Elisabeth always resort to there's a stereotype worth discussing. She plays that to a tee.

Jody said...

I grew up in the 60s. As a part of integration, my parents sent me to an all black school Cullen Jr. High!), my father insisted on going to public places where integration was being enforced, and my mother washed my mouth out with soap (age 4) the only time I ever used that word. At the same time, my grandparents used the "n" word and it made me hate them. What I felt about it... that this word caused pain, hurt, and anger, has stayed with me the rest of my life.
In my opinion, too many of my fellow white folks lead segregated lives. They are losing out on a richer life by limiting their world. Thus, when this issue comes up, they are clueless and have no experience, no context, no relationship and therefore no understanding.... A good friend of mine often asks... "How You Livin?" I think we all can agree that its one thing to "know something" but quite another to have a personal stake, to know and FEEL something.
Keeping out distance keeps us from really caring and when you dont care, you dont really know.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Ms Hasselbeck wants a term to use on the help...besides their name.


Anonymous said...

I want to know why it is so hard to understand that you can say things to someone you know, that you would NEVER say to a stranger? Every in-group has terms that they can use among and about themselves that no one outside the group can ever say to them, without fear of repercussion. I can call my best friend a b*tch and she will get that it does not intend harm or misogny. Calling a totally stranger that? That's a completely different situation.

This whole argument about "why can't we say it?" is so disingenuous. First, because no one is stopping anyone from saying it. Feel free. But much like yelling fire in a theater, there are going to be consequences. Second, because it assumes that anyone is naive enough to believe it isn't being said on a daily basis by folks everyday. I entertain no notion that the people who are whining about a double standard, are using that word outside my presence, constantly. The desire to say it to my or about me is their real problem.

Anonymous said...

high drop out rates, single family homes or grandparents rasing babies and let's not forget the high % rate of blk/males w/a criminal record......

and your concerned about a word?

that explains alot.

The Roving Reporter said...

I'm not religious, but Amen, Amen, Amen! From now on, if any white person poses this question to me, I'm going to direct them to this post.

Good one, Field!

Anonymous said...

I'm Jewish.

My favorite line from season 2 of The Wire is when Nico tells White Mike (who is white and works the corner selling drugs and refers to his white runners as "my niggers"), Mike, this may come as a shock to you, but you're not black.

Nan said...

I think Afrodite nailed it. It's arrogance. Some whites, no matter what they may profess in terms of their progressive views, can not handle losing power in any way, shape, or form -- and who gets to say what to whom is a form of power. They don't really care about the word; they care about the fact they're being excluded, told that they're on the outside, not in, and that this is one area where what they think does not matter.

Unknown said...

great post field..
british blacks don't use the word nearly as much... but it is a word whites can never, ever, ever use.. ever..
british people and their decendents all over the globe have words for every ethinicity and culture.. they made them up.. now they cannot use them.. and they in their arrogance think we should not either.. fugg them i say...
i can see the south park episode which dealt with the 'n' word coming to real life real soon...

Anonymous said...

Why do some white folks get upset because black folks can use the word "nigger" to each other, and they can't? (At least not in public) Honestly, what's up with that shit?

Because they are fucking assholes who care only about their own self-aggrandizement. There is a foofaraw going on at ScienceBlogs right now because one of our bloggers used the phrase "you semi-officially declare PLoS to be the nigger of the publishing world". And when some of us called him out on it, the dumbass just dug his heels in with the absurd claim that because he works towards racial justice in his day job, he is allowed to use "nigger" as a rhetorical device.

Anonymous said...

A while back I came across this:

Thursday, December 27, 2007
Racial humiliation as sexual fetish?

Quote: Which brings us to "Mistress V" professional dominatrix. Among the fantasy services she provides are "verbal racial humiliation."

Anonymous said...

Fight against institutional racism. Of course the fight should be about culture, but the institutions are not changing and you have a candidate running around telling people America is post racial, this is the get out of jail card white America has been waiting for. Blaming the victims of this racism, instead of acknowledging the magnitude of the racism/class differences.

It's about power, the word. It was used by whites when they had supreme power. Now blacks took the word and are telling whites, we have the power to not let you use it and to basically ostricize you if you do. Fine, you want that power have it. But, don't stop fighting the other fights. All of America's history of racism and racist history has been boiled down to the N word.

Anonymous said...

I actually do not like the term of the N word. What is the N word, the word is nigger and it should be used in the context in which the speaker is conveying it. First of all, you cannot tell white people that cannot use the word when they created it. There is hypocrisy from all angles. While growing up, I my mother and grandmother never use the word nigger in front of my brothers and me, so do not refer to anyone of black brothers and sisters as a nigger. I do not buy into the argument that the word is a term of endearment because it is not. We have fooled ourselves into believing that. The word is a self-fulfilling of another group that has been calling black people niggers for so long that in some respect we actually believe that is what we are.

I remember when Chris Rock in his routine would say I love black people, but I hate niggers. Now he is referring that the latter is a a low-class group. When Jesse Jackson made the comment of Obama talking down to niggers, he essentially saying that I do not think very highly of my own people and do not mind taking advantage of them.

The word nigger does have a complex history, but the meaning of word has not changed no matter how years go by. I think by not saying the word completely and using politically correct N word gives the word more power. Yet I do not understand the argument how come you can say the word nigger and I cannot is stupid, or symbolically have a funeral for the word is equally stupid because it doesn't work. There is a skit that the Daily Show did over a year ago that is funny and satiric about the N word. Councilman Comrie wanted to ban the word nigger. The had to use that sound effect so you did not have hear word nigger, but you get the idea.

I did not get Elisabeth Hassleback either, why was crying?

Anonymous said...

people are going to say what they wanna say. they just need to be aware of the consequences. personally, i respect folks less when they use the word regardless of their color. and i don't use it. unless i'm trying to make a point. i think that when black folks use it, they're being disrespectful whether or not they mean it that way, because they all know where that word comes from, how it was used on our forebears, and how we react when it comes from non-black people. if all the power is taken out of the word, then why do we react the way we do when white folks use it? the stripping-of-power argument has always been, and will always be, bs.

i think when the white folks use it, they're getting a little adrenaline rush. and when they attempt to talk about its usage, it's more about white privilege and rebellion against the constraints of PC limitations than anythiing else.

joanofalltrades said...

It's all about the power struggle. Go to this blog to read more about the power struggle over the n-word.

Anonymous said...

It tells me that they want to use it on your black ass, but they can't, because it isn't PC. And that's just so frustrating.

Yeah, I'd say that's about it. With the addition that some whites are more, some are less, self-aware that this is why they are so annoyed with blacks about them (whites) not being able to use the n-word. That is, they may truly think, on a conscious level, that what they are all about is being against double standards and so on - because that's the kind of bullshit that neocon wackaloon propagandists feed them daily on places like Fake News - but it isn't really what they are actually feeling. What they are feeling is the pain of the loss of some of their power, no matter how large or small a slice it actually is. In a sense, it's a small loss - just one word you can't say! In another, it's a significant loss - you no longer get a free pass to demean a whole class of people this way, and those people get to decide for themselves how they will be referred to, something previously denied to them.

When I was growing up, in southwestern PA, people in my family/town referred to ourselves as "patch hunkies" meaning we were all from eastern european origins and lived in coal patch towns built by mine operators. Patch hunky was originally a derogatory term applied to us by outsiders; hunky was a perjorative for all eastern europeans regardless of country of origin. Yet, by the time I was a teenager, my dad had a t-shirt with a picture of a coal miner and the words "patch hunky" on it. But if someone who was not a patch hunky had called us that we would have felt it as an insult, as demeaning and belittling. I'm just telling this long story to say, like others, that defining for yourself how you will be addressed is one thing, appropriating previously pejorative terms as terms of endearment amongst yourselves is one thing, but having those terms tossed at you by outsiders is a completely different experience. which is why we white folk should never ever ever use the n-word. Or if we do, be prepared for the resulting shitstorm we so richly deserve.

? said...

You really think most white people are thinking about this? Having grown up in all white neighborhoods, you hardly ever hear a mention of black people. I can't remember having one conversation with a white person about blacks or the black community or anything. Most of these suburban whites were just trying to get away from black people, not call them the N word.

Admiral Komack said...

"I just wanna know why little blonde prissy chicks like Elisabeth always resort to there's a stereotype worth discussing. She plays that to a tee."

-To disarm (of course, if you really want to whup that azz, the tears don't work).

Anonymous said...

Field -- there's a simple explanation for why white folks want to say it.

In case you haven't noticed, we copy everything y'all do.

Baggy pants? We're on it! Rap music! Sweet! The blues? Yeah, let's get us some of that! Complicated handshakes? They're in, baby!

Black people are the arbiters of what is cool. So when black people say "nigger," white people who like being cool want to say "nigger." And when you tell us we can't say "nigger," that just means it's that much cooler. It's like your mom telling you to take off that stupid outfit. You can't do that? Shoot, it must be EXTRA cool.

Y D Shine said...

Look, back in the day when he was running for president, JJ called NYC 'Hymietown' in a slur against Jews, thus creating unnecessary drama in his own campaign. The guy suffers from bitter envy, and he likes using pejoratives, so I'm unsurprised that he used the 'n' word to describe Obama.

I ascribe to this philosophy: If you don't want folk using epithets about you, don't use them, and certainly don't use them to describe yourself or your peeps. Otherwise, i agree with TFN; it is a double standard, but I'll go a step further - it makes crying wolf at best hypocritical.

Racial slurs aren't terms of endearment, and the argument that it's okay for the race being slurred to use it as a term of affection (*rolls eyes*), but no other race can use it, is specious.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8

west coast story said...

I especially appreciated Jimbo and Christopher's comments.

I have tried to purge the word from my vocablulary. I use Negro instead. Nobody black wants to be called a Negro. :-)

As for the double standard, Jon Stewart uses the work "Jew-y" to poke fun at something that he thinks is just a bit too Jewish. It's used for comical relief and I usually laugh. Wouldln't I look like a natural anti semitic fool if that word ever came out of my mouth? I don't use racial/ethnic/religious slurs, never have, to refer to another human being. I was called the n-word by whites for much of my early life and I hated how it made me feel. I can't imagine making someone feel like that, even if I was over the moon pissed off at them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Progressive Woman, and yet to fathom why blacks have an affinity for the word nigger. I really do not hear Puerto Ricans walk down the street saying what's up my spic. It is something that you just do not hear. There is not an argument that would change my mind to the contrary about the word. Why anyone would refer to themselves or another else with such deprecation is beyond my comprehension.

With that, I am not going to tell anyone to stop using the word nigger because it's important that we should face the fact that the word continues to have great significant and part of history does not seem to go away. I am not into the silliness of saying or writing the N word because it just give more credence. I am the person who does use unless with having a discussion about it. Other than, it's not in lexicon. I think it's silly to remove Huckleberry Finn because of the word nigger. I am not with censorship.

Anonymous said...

I personally hate hate hate this word, regardless of the changing of the last two lettes from "er" to "a".

Term of endearment? puh-leeze. Do you think that our ancestors and those who have fought, struggled and died so that we wouldn't be seen as just N_____ would be proud that we have found a new way to use that word or would they lower their heads in shame? There is no getting away from the history of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not with censorship, either. I'm a poet, and words have power. Words like the n-word, especially so. I grew up lovin' black poetry, so I could see writing a poem with the word in it -- but referring to someone else with that word? That is so beyond the bounds of politeness and civil discourse!

If you're quoting Huck Finn, or a rapstar, use the words as written. Then again, that might wake up a few rapstars to their language, just watching a few whiteboys on youtube hamming it up.

Anonymous said...

You really think most white people are thinking about this?

Uh, yeah. Where I grew up, my town was as white as white can be, but that didn't stop the men (it was mostly the men I heard the n-word from, though not exclusively) from complaining about how "those n---s" were ruining this or that or the other thing, or telling jokes that featured the n-word, or just feeling the need to speak their general disgust about black people as an entire group via use of the n-word. When I go back home to visit mom there are certain older men who still feel free to spout off this way; it's a word that definitely makes them feel a bit more powerful in a world in which they are certainly not very powerful at all - it's one of the poorer parts of the state. If you told them they ought not to use that word they'd be incensed. Why don't they get to use it, if the objects of their disgust do? That's what they'd be thinking. This despite the fact that most of them have never encountered a black person in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Like rape isn't about sex, the N word isn't about race. Both are about power. As a white person who listens to a fair amount of hip hop, I find the current dust up over the so-called double standard interesting in that it comes simultaneously with an African American running for Prez.

It is always been about the double standard and the double standard has always been about power. Do you grant cultures or communities the right to make up their own rules or don't you. It's that simple.

Also, I find the use of the N word in hip hop a lot more complex the the double standard folks realize.

Anonymous said...

speaking as a white here, I agree wholeheartedly with everything - no white person should every say that word. The only thing that ever bothered me about black people using it was that, from hearing my black co-workers say it all the time, I almost said it myself once by accident.

Anonymous said...

There are not too many of us in this country that have never referred to blacks in our day to day conversation with one another as "Niggers". As demeaning as the word is, according to the dictionary term, it has been ingrained in the American psyche with an indelible mark that is literally a brand on our foreheads. Those who react to its emotional impact must realize that since the call to stop using this word, more attention has been given to its controversial origin and its applicable usage.

I wonder if Mr. Obama has ever been called a "nigger". If so, how did he react to it? Have you ever been called a "nigger"? How did you react to it? I have been called a "nigger" many of times, by both blacks and whites. As a result, I have been angry and I have laughed and gave the person some "dap" for its descriptive adjective connotation that has taken on a solidarity ritual within the black community since God knows when. Nowadays, white boys are calling each other "nigger". Nigger, please! Nigger please! Nigger please! Everywhere blacks and whites assemble and gather you hear the word! Is it a cuss word? Is it a fuss word? Is it ony an "us" word? What kind of word is it?

With its double standard usage in today's American society and as other races and cultures embraces its slang interpretation while making it their own, I doubt if White America cares a great deal of the Media's divide and conquer exploitatives. The best thing we can do as a people is to move on and quit focusing on how it has diminished the reputation of Mr. Jackson or hurt Mr. Obama! For every finger pointing at anyone, there are multiples pointing back at you. "If God were counting errors, none of us could stand." "He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Get my point? Forgiveness is divine, to remember is only natural, but to let go will heal your mind!

Does the so-called Reverend need to wash his mouth out with soap? Maybe so, but so does the FCC and the airwaves of American Media, Film and Print, then maybe, the word "nigger" will gradually dissapear from our minds. Until then, brother can you spare a dime?

Lola Gets said...

If folks get mad when Jesse called NY "Hymietown", thats the reason folks of different ethnicities cant use the word "Nigger." People who arent "in" the group, dont get to use words that "belong" to the group. I dont go around calling folks spics, wops, kikes, gooks, etc. because I dont belong to those groups. Im an outsider, I dont have the privileges that come with membership.

If you dont like it, kill yourself and perhaps youll be reincarnated as that group who's slurs you like to use! You never know...might could


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Though I think ultimately I agree with KIT who posted way up, she said:

As I see it, the use of the word nigga was backlash and a determination by the black underclass to create a bonafide black culture.

I think this is what continues to fuel the use of this word today. At times when I see Blacks having this discussion around whether or not we sto using this word at times it feels like a class issue.

Anyway good post!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post FN. Thanks for your "Field Negro" insights and comments; and thanks for keeping us informed. About the "N" word...Most of us have indeed moved light years beyond using the word or having a cow when others use it. Whaddaya expect from people who know little about our history and even less about the history of the word? So...a loud NO! to any ban on using the "N" word. Next thing you know "" will be a candidate. Geez, can't we own something for once?

Anonymous said...

About the N-word. I don't use it. I don't fully comprehend the power and nuance of the word although I fully understand the danger of the using the word.

As a German-Canadian I do not call my friends krauts. I heard that word far too much of that as a kid. It is not our word. It does not define my world and my social and cultural relationships.

I haven't read Jabari Asim's book on the N-word. Can anyone comment?

"Niggerology" 101: A Conversation with Jabari Asim

So what am I doing reading posts on the Field Negro's website? Trying to get a better sense of the nuances of the African-American/Canadian world.

Anonymous said...

Nas wanted to name his new album “Ni&&er”, even promoted the album, name and all, during the Grammy’s so you know mad white people saw that..Due to pressures of Def Jam, Al S and Jessie J, Best Buy and whoever else, now his album is title “Untitled”. And I was listening to one of my hip hop/rap websites that are podcasted and the hosts played one of the songs, not sure which one off the the album, but to the tune of the Dr Pepper commercial song, the hook went like this..I’m a ni&&er, he’s a ni&&er, wouldn’t you like to be a ni&&er too?” The young dudes who run the young hip hop show are definitely hip hop heads and fans of Nas but even they were turn off like a mutha as was I. Here’s his track listing of his Album:

• Queens Get The Money - 2:12
• You Can’t Stop Us Now - 3:04
• Breathe - 3:34
• Make The World Go Round - 3:49
• Hero - 4:02
• America - 3:51
• Sly Fox - 4:23
• Testify - 2:45
• N.I.*.*.E.R. (The Slave and the Master) - 4:33
• Untitled - 2:51
• Fried Chicken - 2:50
• Project Roach - 1:48
• Y’all My Ni**as - 4:16
• We’re Not Alone - 5:39
• Black President - 4:28

Anonymous said...

Here's how I attempt to explain it to my fellow citizens of Caucsylvania (Patent Pending).

"Let's say I walk up to you, and say, What the Fuck you looking at Asshole? What would you say?"

"Not much Dick Sucker."

"Why wouldn't you hit me with a baseball bat?"

"Because we've been friends for 25 years."

"Exactly. Now, what would you do if some dude we didn't know walked up, and said, What the fuck you looking at asshole?"

"Hit him in the head with a baseball bat, and say, your skull?"


I think the most confusing moment, in regard to this word, was when one of my black friends came up to me one day, and said, "What's up my nigga?"

I've known the guy for years, and he's never said anything like that to me. I had no fucking idea how to respond.

I think I said, "Hey."

I will confess, I've used the word in a couple of my posts. Not to sound "Down," but to hammer home the word's power, and to illustrate to my naive, Liberal brethren that there are A Lot of people who still think that way.

Liberals, as many of you know, tend to be dense, and condescending.

Woozie said...

Jesse was caught saying nigger on TV? Do you know what this means?



I must be a prophet; I will tell you your future for a nominal fee!

Christopher said...


Who'da thunk it? Two Black men on the same ticket?


As the Presidential candidates ponder potential running mates, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows many voters would be more inclined to vote for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama if he were to select retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell as his running-mate.

If Obama were to choose Powell, 42% of likely voters nationwide said it would make them more likely to support the Democratic candidate - as did 42% of Democrats and 43% of political independents. The Zogby International telephone poll of 1,039 likely voters nationwide was conducted July 9-13, 2008.

In fact, Obama's "bounce" by adding Powell to the ticket is 12% more than he gets from adding the Borg Queen.

Mr. D. said...

hey, long time lurker, first time commenter/white dude...

The people that make this kinda argument are the same people who say sh#t like "why don't black folks stop complaining and just work harder."

Which is to say, they're ignorant. They don't understand the different perspectives. It's like the white folks who say "well I'm not racist, so can't we all just move on." They want to play dumb about the history of racism and the current state of race in america. Either they've lived an isolated life or they're just plain a little racist.

Anonymous said...

Why should Obama choose anyone else but a Black Man for Vice President? White men have had their day and they screwed the world over. It is time for someone other than them to rule. Somewhere I read, that, " the first shall be last and the last shall be first."

If Obama cannot see the forest for the trees, then who will lead us out of this economic bondage? We know that Jehovah's Kingdom is near, but there is time to kill until then! What do we do, put our trust in Obama and hope that he can persuade his IVY LEAGUE COLLEAGUES to open up fair access to capital & credit? Do we ask Obama to visit all of the prisons and give a speech on responsibilty to the brothers incarcerated? Will he chastise the NAZI'S who run America's law enforcement agencies? What can he really do?

I think Obama knows that his limitations on helping us will keep us fully from enjoying the American Dream, so he has to show White America that he is somehow different than your average brother in the soup kitchen or unemployment line. As quiet as it has been kept, many brothers with P.H.D.'s and Master's degrees have found themselves in dire straits from time to time, due to no fault of their own. Come to think of it, did Obama ever earn six or seven figures while working as a lawyer before he engaged himself in the political arena?

America has uplifted the Black Woman after she proved that she was worthy. She has earned more higher degrees in America's Universities and Colleges than any race in the last 15 years. And now the sinister forces are stealing what she has earned with mortgage fraud. Yet, the brothers are left holding a bag of crumbs and many are well educated with knowledge to spare!

Will Obama have the courage and "audacity" to touch this issue with a microscope? Or, will he put his nose in the air and pass us by on the street like the crips do the bloods? His speech at the NAACP included another quip to us poor black men, how we should own up. Ok then, let the cash flow from Congress into our hands if he is elected. Sign the blank check that Martin said was owed to us. And do it "by any means necessary". Otherwise, Obama's yakety yak is exactly that!

Did'nt the slaves bring down Rome?

Whitney B. said...

Hi Mr. Field,

Great blog.

I haven't read any of the comments, which I usually do first, but here's how this fiery little red-headed WASP thinks.

I don't allow anyone who is not of a particular ethnic background to use derogatory racial words around me (whether I am at work, shopping, or at home). And, I am quick to interrupt a conversation and correct folks immediately. I have corrected owners of companies and all kinda other mucky mucks, whether it's the N-S-D-K-words or other derrogatory comments, jokes, etc. I learned early on from my grandmother that this is not tolerated and watched her and mom do what I do now.

The N word, especially here in SW Philly is used a lot by whites and they get pretty tweaked sometimes that I have the gall to correct them and tell them I won't tolerate such language.

It doesn't bother me in the least that black folks use the N word and it never has. Because it was used so long by honkies and crackers (oh oh, MY peeps, but I can call them that) to demean, slur, belittle and slander you folks and it was said with such slimey racial hatred. I think in the scheme of things, it's great that black folks have turned the tables on them folk.

I have one black girlfriend who calls me up and says, "What's up, N*gg*r?" referring to me. I take that as compliment. But, I would never say that back to her.

Whoopie was spot on in what she said and that stoopid white chick made me laugh. Indeed, there are still two worlds out there. And, it is not OK for white folks to use that word in the privacy of their own home. But, they do it.

The evangelical christian wing of my husband's family use it constantly, but not around me because they got that lecture already. 'Course, #1, they are not true Christians and #2, I have little or nothing to do with that part of his family. Only at Christmas or a crawfish boil, and I sit as far away as I can from that poison.

Been packing and preparing for my long trip to work in Mississippi. Ugh! I guess I'll be doing a lot of correcting again.

Leaving Philly next Monday, but I will sure keep reading the Field's blog. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Excellent words Brother Field. I really like your advice to silly Elizabeth of the View. She knows better unless of course she is stupid and frankly I doubt it.

This points to the dishonesty that exists among some of our white brethren. Most folks know that the word when spoken by a white to or toward or in reference to a black person is a perjorative. So why would you want to use it?

And we have sense enough to know when someone white is using it to show how down they are, or were just having real fun. You just know.

Field I always hated that scene in Rush Hour in which Jackie Chan mimmicks Chris Tucker in the pool hall saying "what up my n---r" and the guys in the pool hall jump on him. The scene wasn't funny because I don't believe it was accurate. I suspect the writer was white because most black folks know we wouldn't jump on an Asian man who is clearly new to town and is following what his black friend is doing.

Black folks upon coming to America were referred to by that word and up until maybe 40 years ago it was frequently used and aimed at black folks as a perjorative. It has gone underground a bit these days, but only a fool does not know the power of the word.

However I disagree with my fellow blacks who make a big deal about its use among black folks. I think someone said it earlier, its just the oppressed taking something negative and having fun with it. On the other hand there are some folks who never use that word but are just as embarassing to black folks.

Trust me we have much bigger fish to fry. If we can stop folks from perpetuating the conditions that make some of us feel like n---rs that would be a good start.

rainywalker said...

I really don't have a degree in why white folks use the "N" word. But a short answer would be that they are stupid and ignorant. But I can understand how blacks feel about it. I come from West Virginia and don't like to be called a hillbilly by anyone not from West Virginia. To me thats like using the "N" word. Anyone including you Field can use the "N" word on me, call me a slatterass [my father saved this for lazy white people], whoppie or whatever. I won't really get excited. But don't go calling me a "Hillbilly," unless your from my home state or the whole can of whop ass might come out. I hope this gives you an understanding that some of us whites care and understand that all people have feelings and don't keep the "N" word in reserve for future use.

west coast story said...

rainywalker: My neighbor is from that part of the world and she doesn't think hillbilly is an insult UNLESS you use it as a putdown because she sees the word hillbilly as not a negative. Interesting. Now I have to ask her about it again. She would get annoyed with me when I referred to butt heads in the neighborhoods as hillbillies. I respected her point of view even though it seemed perfectly benign to me. You never know what someone is going to be offended by and if it's someone you like, you have to respect their objection.

ambrose said...

I had a friend in high school who would make this argument all the time. "Hey, if they can use it, so can I," he'd say, then proceed with this N-laced rant.

His nickname was Booger (I have no idea where it came from). If one of his friends called him Booger, he'd laugh it off, think nothing of it. However, if anyone else called him Booger, he'd flip out on them.

He wasn't the sort to see the connection.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those white people you speak of, but I can't answer your question. I've never been jealous of blacks being able to use that word. It's ugly coming from anyone, but it's not my place to tell anyone who's trying to claim the word as his own not to use it.

I won't stop spelling out the whole word when I need to, though, because "the n-word" is just ridiculous and juvenile. It's "nigger" if I'm referring to the word or referring to a quote or title, period.

Very rarely and only when I'm irate and railing about blatant descrimination, I'll refer to someone being treated like a "house nigger" or "field nigger." But that's the only other circumstance in which I'd utter that word.

Once, when I came home to find my door unlocked, my black neighbor walked through my house with a flashlight to make sure nobody had broken in. I have to confess it felt good when he started messing around and shouted "who's that nigger in your bed" from my bedroom.

Still, I know I'm not entitled to use that word and wouldn't ever want to.

Anonymous said...

The power structure shifts whenever Black people do things that white people aren't allowed (or able) to do. Most times it doesn't shift much, but any amount of shifting is too much for a lot of White people in America. They will fight this tooth and nail. We can forget about calling each other "niggas" without them using it. It ain't gonna happen. That alone is reason enough not to use it.

I think we were able to use it for years without getting flack from white people because, on the most part, they didn't hear us use it. Many of them knew we used it, but they weren't sure *how* we used it. They didn't see it on television and film, didn't hear it in our music, they seldom saw it in our literature, and they rarely heard us use it among ourselves. It's almost funny how these things change.

rikyrah said...

I'm one of those folks who doesn't want anyone, Black or White, to use the word.

But, I'm glad you asked the question, because I've been wondering it myself.

I'll just put out the warning to White folks...

A whole lot of us have NOT bought into the ' ownership, thus changing the meaning of the word' crap..


Say it to Black person at your own risk.

On a good day, you'll just get cussed out.

On a bad day, get ready for an ass whoopin'.

Just depends upon which Negro you come across.

PS-I co-sign with those who say that they miss the' good old days' when they could say it without impunity. Now that it might mean a good old-fashioned beatdown, suddenly their inability to say the word is some sort of national crisis.

Kellybelle said...

I was up in Harlem today. The n-word is alive and well and being used with alacrity, LOL

Whitney B. said...

Okay, you wanta know what really pisses me off these days? It's the noisey little uplift of white women's voices. The screeching and the wallering of these skinny little white bitches. I am so glad that all of my girlfriends, both black, white, bi-racial and LGBT, don't have that high pitched "yikes" to their voices. There is nothing I find more irritating in the supposed press, commercials, etc., than that screechy voice, like that dumb beatch Elizabeth has. Yikes-a-rooney! Argh. Drink some whiskey and smoke some cigs!!!

PVW said...

I find this fascinating.

In a way, the tears and arguments are giving her a certain moral authority that the others lack in their support for the n-word's usage among blacks.

She is saying: "the word is bad, blacks should not use it, whites should not use it...," but the others are trying to justify the use of a word which has always been used to disempower.

Who has the real moral authority? Who looks like they are crazy and out of their minds?

Justifying the use of a word which has always been intended to harm you?????

Anonymous said...

Hi Field,

I'm knew to your site. I love it.

That being said, I agree with what you said about white people not wanting us to say Nigger because with no one saying it (in an imaginary world), the history of the word can be safely hidden.

This, of course, is happening. How many young black people know the history behind that word or even have any sense of the humiliation that went with it. It wasn't just whites calling you Nigger, the absolute worst of it was that You Could Not Fight Back!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm from Shreveport, LA. Black people here are still scared to fight back. Shreveport has a very strong history of lynching. All you had to do was look at a white person the wrong way and you could wind up in the Red River.

To read how easily everyone else speaks of the privilege of giving a smack down to a white person who uses that word makes me a little jealous.

My parents were brought up in the cotton fields and I'm not even that old. I'm old generation Field Negro. Believe me, in Shreveport, we're still catching hell.

I have no sympathy for white people who don't understand why we have the reaction we do when they call us out of our name no matter what the word is. My mom said she was called so many names that anyone who does not know her, white or black, will get corrected, but quick. Whites never would call her "Mrs." This use to just kill her.

The issue isn't just about the N-word. It's about disrespecting our identity as human beings.

This is why I like Nas' song Be a Nigger, Too. That word carries the weight of our history in this country.

Some Black people want to run from that word just as fast as whites. Why? Because they are still running from white stereotypes of us.

Why is it that what white people think of us is our highest standard of who we are?

We should learn to look at the totality of ourselves without cringing in humiliation. Isn't that what they tell survivors of rape, molestation, and so forth? I don't think anyone would disagree that, as a people, so much more happened to us and that the psychological ripples have far outlasted the actual events, which continue to happen, especially among law officers, who, when it comes to that word, don't ever seem to be able to control themselves (generally speaking, of course), but that's another discussion.


Anonymous said...

I'm southern Italian and I never knew we had a history with the N-word as described in an above post.

That may explain a curious incident many years ago, however. When I was about 10 years old I was walking down the street and a car goes past and a white girl leans out the window and yells the N-word at me. I was puzzled. Like most white kids growing up in the 70s in a lilly white community, I wasn't the most race conscious person, but this was an eye-opener. I had never felt the impact of a word said with such hatred behind it. I never forgot it and from that point on I never used it, and in fact confronted it when it invariably appeared.

I don't think it should be used by anyone, because of the reasons so many have already cited. It is hurtful and an attempt to bring people down. I don't see that it can be used as a term of anyone.

It's funny that you have a picture of Richard Pryor up there. As you probably know...he used the word to death back in the day. He also wrote the screenplay for "Blazing Saddles" where white folks say the word. It was satire and it was funny, unlike the New Yorker cartoon...

But he stopped using it for good after he went to Africa and had his own epiphany. On a separate note, he never stopped using the term "motherfucker". Which is what Whoopie should have called that white bitch on that show. Oops, I should have quite before I went there...

Jody said...

About the crying..... this is a common reaction from white folks when confronted with dealing with the anger/hurt from folks of color. It is a way to take the focus off of the anger and hurt of the POC and put it back to the white person. It is an unconsious power play. When I used to do oppression/liberation workshops I saw this all the time. We would tell the white person what they were doing and then refocus the conversation to the POC and what the anger/hurt was about. Notice she started crying when Whoopi talked about the fact that they didnt live in the same world... and talked about the imbalance that still exists... Its too bad that the other white women on the panel didnt have the smarts to call Hasselback on it.

field negro said...

Damn you all are some smart ass people! And thank you white folks for the insight in your world :)

PVW said...

Someone reminded me of something recently.

Whoopi Goldberg coming out as the race woman, celebrating black folks' ability to use the n-word when white people can't. Uh yes, a proud race woman, scoring one for the team, as though being able to use the word says black folks have come a long way.

Wasn't she the same person who had no problem with her then (white) boyfriend Ted Danson's skit in black face:

Blacks fail to see humor in Ted Danson's blackface tribute to Whoopi Goldberg - Cover Story
Jet, Nov 1, 1993

Instead of cooling off, the controversy surrounding Ted Danson's blackface tribute to Whoopi Goldberg during the recent Friars Club roast has intensified as many Black individuals and organizations come foward to announce that they fail to see the humor in the racially-charged skit.

They have sent scathing letters to the Friars Club in New York blasting Danson's appearance in blackface and huge white lips. The actor's routine used the word "n..." a number of times and made references to the sexual lives of Ms. Goldberg and him....

PVW said...


Ms. Goldberg said she helped write the skit and got the makeup artist that did the blackface for her companion Danson. She kept urging people to realize and understand that roastings are raw, x-rated affairs and totally private.

Anonymous said...

Counselor and commenters,
A very nice related discussion from the n-discussion on The View by my local hero, Rev. Carl Kinney:

Anonymous said...

I know this discussion is about white people and their insights but I just wanted to add how proud I was of Whoopi when I saw that episode. Elisabeth is a strange woman. She's not even a woman, she's a little girl.This has been quite and interesting discussion to read. As an "outsider" myself, I have never had the urge to use the words "nigga" or "nigger", but I'm not going to pretend I have some kind of moral authority to tell people form a culture I know nothing about to do the same.
Anyway, awesome blog, I can't get enough of it.

Anonymous said...

The reason why the other two could not add much to the conversation is because their guilt weighs heavy on their consciences. With one being in her sixties and the other in her seventies they grew up at a time when their parents probably participated in the oppressive treatments of us "Colored"! Matter in fact, Old Girl had a relationship with Senator Edward Brooke. At one time she had that "Mandingo" curiosity and became his "Mistress". So she really could'nt say anything, because her indescretions probably still weigh heavy on her mind and her thoughts are no longer held to much esteem. The world is looking at her with a different eye now. Especially her peers in Manhattan that control the Media and Entertainment Industry, yes those "Jews of Old" that control everthing from the Federal Reserve to the Pornography Industry. What a bunch of hypocrites and counterfeits that steal everything they can get their hands on!

Gregory Williams said...

excuse the seinfeld ref but, it was almost like the bitch was on fire only this time i wanted to watch the fire!

Burn mf Burn!

I know one white guy that will think twice now. I was out having a few one night at one of my spots. watching the show and all when I noticed a white girl gettting ready to ditch her old man.

Well this dude goes to the bathroom and she dips on him. He's drunk but not a complete idiot and notices that she left with a brother. Not hard to deduce also because she's done it b4 with the same cat.

Anyway he's next to me calling her a ho and him a nigger, so i ASKED him not to use it again. he tells me if he wants to call him a Ni... well that's as far as he got. I popped him with a open hand across the back of his head, right in the hook part!

When he got up and was looking for his glasses and asking what happened. you get the scene!

Use it at you own Hazard!

changeseeker said...

I don't really like hearing it used by anybody either, but I totally agree that White folks think they gotta control everything, so knowing that they can't use the n-word and they didn't make the decision just kills 'em.

Whatever. The use of that word may be the only thing in the United States Black folks actually control.

Anonymous said...

Just add the "o" back if it offends so much negro

the Portuguese were the first to enslave us, they were amazed by how dark our skin was (we all mixed now, few of us are the original skin which some mistakenly call dark skin) so they labeled us "negroes" but those damn English always mispronouncing non-Enligh names we ended up with negr, don't believe that lie that someone came up with the word, what origianl thing has the white race ever come up with besides beastiality and eating pussy?

Anonymous said...

Side bar, one day I was in the mall I heard this group of guys behind me calling each other the n word I knew they weren't black (no bass in their voices) they were all (five of them) Filipino, I turned around and was dumbfounded I didn't even know what to say. Like all of history everyone wants to be black and is jealous of our every way. do you know the story of Sara Barton? They just recently buried her after more than 100 years of having her naked body on display.

Anonymous said...

"Why do some white folks get upset because black folks can use the word 'n-----' to each other, and they can't?" (n word edited)

Sorry; I don't know. The last time I heard a ECA (Extreme Color Arousal) rant, the person moved from the euphemism "All-American" to "White" during the rant.

Most people I know with mild color arousal avoid the subject of Blacks whenever they can.

One thing I do understand (because I used to think it too), is that many people consider the n word with an 'a' at the end of it just a variant pronunciation of the n word with an 'er' at the end. This can cause quite a bit of confusion when listening to a song with n---a roughly every 10th word.

Anonymous said...

i was in philly, waiting for the traffic to pass so i could cross the street, when a 9 or 10 year old black child screamed at the top of his lungs at me while riding on his bicycle: "HONKY! CRACKER! WHITE TRASH!" over and over. funny, right? i thought it was hilarious.

but, techinically, those are derogatory terms aimed at white people; some might even take offense to it. i told a black friend of mine and he said it was funny, no big deal and that 'it isn't the same' as calling someone an n-word.

i think that's the double standard. black people can call me white trash, honky and cracker and "it's not a big deal."
but if i drop 'nigga' (in song/rap lyrics, mind you) i get looked at like i'm the racist.

Anonymous said...

stop making shit up

Swiff said...

UGH, I feel you on this Field. That same night Hannity and RICK F'N SANTORUM were on Faux Newz talking about how *horrible* it is when blacks use the word to one another. I wanted to pull a Elvis and blast my TV.

Anonymous said...

"when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” "

Direct quote from MLK.
It shouldn't be used. Period.

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Anonymous said...

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