Sunday, May 01, 2016

"They use it so why can't we?"

Image result for larry wilmore IMAGES           It never ceases to amaze me how indignant folks in the majority population can get over the fact that they aren't allowed to use the n-word. If I hear this familiar refrain again:  "They use it to each other so why can't we"? one more time, I swear I will find religion.

My views on the subject of the n word is well documented, I personally don't use the word, but I am not as offended as others when the younger generation of African Americans use it. And I certainly can appreciate it  when it is used in the context of art. "Sucka Nigga" is still one of the greatest hip hop songs of all times (RIP Phife Dawg), and I can appreciate its use in film and other forms of artistic expression as well. 

Having said all of that, given how the word was used by whites historically (and how they still, in some quarters, continue to use it today) it is never ever cool for whites to use the word in general conversation. 

This notion that they can use the word because we do is preposterous. I have Italian friends who refer to other Italians as the d word, that does not give me the right to use that word to an Italian American, and I would certainly never make an issue of the fact that I am not supposed to use the word because it is repugnant to them when it is said by someone who doesn't happen to be Italian American. 

It's really that simple, folks.  

This all leads me to Larry Wilmore's use of the word (or something like it) to close the White House Correspondence Dinner last night.

I played tennis with an older African American gentleman today who was furious that Wilmore even went there to his Oness. To him, it was disrespectful, given the historical nature of O's presidency and the fact that this was his official send off from the Washington elites. And judging from what was said on twitter and in other quarters, he was not alone. Heck even Rev Al weighed in, and he, like others, gave it a thumbs down.  

I personally was not so much offended by the word as I was the fact that the line was not particularly funny. Wilmore is a fine comedy writer, but let's face it, he is not a very good stand up comedian, so that joke, like a few others, fell flat.

Leonard Greene, writing for the New York Daily News, had a good take on it.

"That’s not to say Wilmore bombed the whole set. He managed to get off quite a few good lines, like the one about Obama’s graying hair.

“Mr. President, your hair is so white, it tried to punch me at a Trump rally,” Wilmore said. “The President’s hair is so white it keeps saying ‘All lives matter.’”

Wilmore should have quit while he was ahead.

Besides unfairly putting Obama on the spot about the most loaded word in the English language, Wilmore just gave white people, many of whom have for nearly eight years been beside themselves over a black man in the White House, license to use the N-word against the leader of the free world."

Yep. "They use it, so why can't we?"









  

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black logic, lol!

PilotX said...

Wonder what Larry thinks now but then again comedians always want to be edgy. Larry was influenced by Richard Pryor, George Carlin and others, it shows sometimes. Personally I wish he hadn't done it.

dinthebeast said...

I didn't like it much, either. I liked Larry Wilmore on the Daily Show, haven't really seen much of the Nightly Show, but thought he was less than stellar last night, especially in that room, especially after Obama's performance.
As for white people and that particular word, I had a co-worker and housemate who was originally from Texas who we tried and tried to convince that it wasn't a good idea to casually use that word, especially in Oakland, on foot, and on alcohol. He finally got the clue the third time he woke up with staples in his head. Is there a lesson in there somewhere? I can't rightly say. I just know that I walked all of the same places he did, and never had any trouble. Also I don't drink, and that may have been a factor.

-Doug in Oakland

Anonymous said...

I just let out a really damn good fart. I wish you could all be here to smell it.

Anonymous said...

I just let out a really damn good fart. I wish you could all be here to smell it.
---------------
Another example of the superior race.

StillaPanther2 said...

Perhaps the Brother knew the majority have been calling him "nigger" and worst. This was an- " I am not afraid to use it" moment. The Black race have so many words I would rather not hear such as "homicide", "drop out", "rapist", "unemployed", "fatherless", "felon", "unable to live in peace" 'using a gun in the commission of a felony", 'using a gun by a felon"..." nigger" should be low on the severity of our responses.

I may be wrong- don't the President have people that vet the scripts of the speakers. I wish he would not have use the word.... but I guess he had to top President Obama end. The main act never likes to be upstarted by the "warm-up".

We demonstrated once again that our cultures clash at inopportune times. The "finger" by Don Lemon. But you know I think the President had a catharsis in teasing the majority race with his RACIAL baits. Mr. Wilmore may have rescued the prez from the Monday morning QBs.

A black guy said...

Didn't see his show. Don't want to. Do vulgarities have to permeate our lives?

Just for the record. Black folk don't have a free pass on the word. I get offended when black folk use the word in public. I can't call out a black person I don't know using that word with out them getting pissed off, as would I. If I use the word during an argument we'll probably come to blows.

At the end of the day, if you refer to yourself as an ass, you'll be labeled as an ass. Wilmore's too old to think otherwise.

YIH said...

The term's outdated anyway - for anything except rappers. It's the current year, it's better to use terms like 'Vibrant', 'teen' or 'dindu'.

anotherbozo said...

"I personally was not so much offended by the word as I was the fact that the line was not particularly funny."

Field, I'm sure that like a lot of comedians before him, Wilmore was using the last few seconds of his routine to be sincere. So when he used the N-word, and he put his fist to his heart, it was meant to be his direct expression to Obama, full of feeling without regard for how it would play. Nevertheless, as it was on a public forum in front of a room (and nation) of white people, it was wrong-headed. But it wasn't intended to be funny.

I watch the Nightly Show and enjoy it, and Wilmore is extremely quick with a one-liner. But the routine was a tossed salad of good lines and lame ones (Biden as household help? That joke's so old it has varicose veins), the kind of routine you come up with when you're not thinking about your particular audience's appreciation level. But the remark about Wolf Blitzer on "Situation Room" interviews--"ask a follow-up question once in a while," was worth everything else. Wilmore can be scathingly on-target.

Anonymous said...

White liberals and progressives have low self-esteem.

Unknown said...

I just thought it was soo disrespectful to the legacy of the first black president. Love him or hate him. Hes a legend. To call him a nigga in a room full of whites was just horrible. I was so disgusted. I can understand the sentiment of the chest bump as being a sign of respect easily recognizable to any back person, and I can see that maybe it wasn't for "them" so to speak. He could have expressed that to the Obama in private. IMO.

lilacpr2000 said...

StillaPanther2 said...

Perhaps the Brother knew the majority have been calling him "nigger" and worst. This was an- " I am not afraid to use it" moment...

...We demonstrated once again that our cultures clash at inopportune times. The "finger" by Don Lemon. But you know I think the President had a catharsis in teasing the majority race with his RACIAL baits. Mr. Wilmore may have rescued the prez from the Monday morning QBs.

3:28 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I totally agree. This analysis is on point. It def was an 'I am not afraid to use it' moment, and I might add, also a 'because I can' moment. Which is what I think is bothering a lot of folks.

Because HE COULD! Because he is Black and so is Obama. Because it symbolizes a brotherhood. A brotherhood of shared pain and struggles which only we the Black and Brown know only too well. A moment of heartfelt congratulations for having made it to the top!

I thought it quite appropos for the occasion, and whoever didn't like it must know, or should find out and examine their real reasons why.

The Ministry of Truth said...

"Wilmore just gave white people, many of whom have for nearly eight years been beside themselves over a black man in the White House, license to use the N-word against the leader of the free world."

Let's take a closer look at this.

When people point out that black people dropping n-bombs gives permission to white people to do it too, which white people are we talking about?

Answer: the non-racist ones. These are the people who hear black rappers or comedians use the word in a friendly sort of way, and decide that it's fine for them to do it, too. It's no good suggesting that it may feel different coming from white folks, because you don't know those white people's intent or because it has a very bad historical association. That argument won't work, because there will always be some white people who are dumb, and dumb people don't do nuance. (See also: dumb Latinos, dumb Asians, dumb Middle Easterners -- you get the point. They'll all be doing it.)

If black people want to keep using the n-word, then black people will get to enjoy white people singing along with n-word-laden music during spinning class at the local health club. Whether or not it should be that way, it IS that way.

But what about the aforementioned white people who are furious at having a black man in the White House? Won't this encourage them, too?

Answer: No. Because they don't need any encouragement. They are already racist. The danger isn't that they will try using racial slurs in a friendly way. If a person is swapping photo memes of the White House lawn as a watermelon patch, it's safe to say that person isn't dropping n-bombs with non-malicious intent because they're lacking in social proficiency. That person is simply an asshole who wants to offend.

Make America Great Again said...

First black people told us what to think and how to feel. I said nothing because i didn't want to be called racist.


Then black people wiped out our heritage and told us we couldn't think, act or feel without asking them first.I didn't say anything because i didn't want them to call me racist.

Then blacks came after the Dukes Of Hazard. I said nothing because i don't watch the Dukes Of Hazard.


Then blacks came after me and there was no one to stop them......

Anonymous said...

"it is never ever cool for whites to use the word in general conversation. "

Fine.

The thing is that after more decades than I care to think about, I haven't heard anyone say the word 'nigger' in some sort of demeaning sense more than a few times. It simply isn't used much and is more of an artificial controversy.

The whole business with the 'N' word makes me tired. Basically, we are setting aside a single special case in the language for racial epithets. All of the other zillion or so are more or less open game, the paler you are, the more open.

If I had to guess, practically all prejudice, at least the real kind and not the imagined kind, is due to differences in speech patterns, body language, etc. This isn't Japan where perfect native speaking non-Japanese are never quite accepted, but...people who act differently will never quite fit into an existing group. Ain't gonna happen, the shucking and jiving will continue, but just saying.

PilotX said...

"Then black people wiped out our heritage and told us we couldn't think, act or feel without asking them first."

This coming from the Trump supporter. Interesting.

The Purple Cow said...

'Make America Great Again' appears to be drunk at 1.02 p.m.

That's not good.

field negro said...

Is that what it is? And here I thought that he was just off his meds.:)

field negro said...

Anon@2:04, u are an embarrassment to your family. You might be anonymous to us, but u have to live with yourself, and that has to be hard to do.

Anonymous said...

"You might be anonymous to us, but u have to live with yourself, and that has to be hard to do"

I have no problem living with myself, how about you?

Listen, if you don't want opinions that don't square with your view of reality, just write a weekly screed and turn off the comments section.

Seriously, to most of white America, blacks are just a thing they see on TV and otherwise are pretty much indifferent to. Within a workplace or community, sharing an accent/body language/interests/etc. is worth quite a bit more than skin color. When in Rome....

lilacpr2000 said...

The Ministry of Truth said...

"Wilmore just gave white people, many of whom have for nearly eight years been beside themselves over a black man in the White House, license to use the N-word against the leader of the free world."

Let's take a closer look at this.

When people point out that black people dropping n-bombs gives permission to white people to do it too, which white people are we talking about?

Answer: the non-racist ones. These are the people who hear black rappers or comedians use the word in a friendly sort of way, and decide that it's fine for them to do it, too. It's no good suggesting that it may feel different coming from white folks, because you don't know those white people's intent or because it has a very bad historical association. That argument won't work, because there will always be some white people who are dumb, and dumb people don't do nuance. (See also: dumb Latinos, dumb Asians, dumb Middle Easterners -- you get the point. They'll all be doing it.)

If black people want to keep using the n-word, then black people will get to enjoy white people singing along with n-word-laden music during spinning class at the local health club. Whether or not it should be that way, it IS that way

1:00 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I beg to disagree with that, because if they are "dumb" as you say, then perhaps they should be taught to understand that NO, it is a word that is used with profound love by Black people just as we the Brown people have our terms of endearment and as the White people also have theirs.

Words that when used by ourselves among ourselves serve as terms of endearment and more importantly BONDING among ourselves.

I disagree with an argument that portrays us and our usage of those terms, as being in the wrong and needing correction. NO, my thoughts are that in this case it is 'they' that need the understanding and correction.

lilacpr2000 said...

The Ministry of Truth said...

If black people want to keep using the n-word, then black people will get to enjoy white people singing along with n-word-laden music during spinning class at the local health club. Whether or not it should be that way, it IS that way.

1:00 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hahaha! No I really don't think that Black people will get to "enjoy" this at all, any time soon. Although you are right about it being "that way"

But my thoughts are that this lack of respect is what causes the friction. Because put the shoe on the other foot MOT, if Black people would be singing along with a song that mentioned 'crackers' or 'rednecks' or even as Field mentioned *d *, out loud for the 'enjoyment' of the whites there, I do believe it would sound just a leeeetle bit hostile and/or aggressive ;)

All I'm saying is that a little love, manners and respect goes a long way towards oiling the wheels of society.

PilotX said...

I wonder what the great Ronald Reagan would think of the remaining gop candidates. After 17 this is the best they could do? He might have been cool with Kaisich.

Anonymous said...

It was foretold in the prophecy that a figure like Trump would follow a figure like Obama.

The Ministry of Truth said...

"Hahaha! No I really don't think that Black people will get to 'enjoy' this at all, any time soon. Although you are right about it being 'that way'"

That was sarcasm. This is obviously not enjoyable for quite a few black people.

"Because put the shoe on the other foot MOT, if Black people would be singing along with a song that mentioned 'crackers' or 'rednecks' or even as Field mentioned *d *, out loud for the 'enjoyment' of the whites there, I do believe it would sound just a leeeetle bit hostile and/or aggressive ;)"

Maybe a little bit, but it's still not exactly comparable.

First, because there are no slurs aimed at white people that are capable of wounding or offending to the same degree as the n-word does black people.

Second, there is also NO other ethnic group that uses a racial slur to refer to themselves with the same frequency that black people do. Yes, occasionally, various ethnic groups will employ a slur of some sort self-referentially -- in a humorous sense. But on nowhere near the scale that certain black people use the n-word. "Racial slur=everyday pronoun" is really quite unique to black American culture.

Third, because black artists are working it into pop culture with regularity. Usage is not restricted to colloquial speech among black people in private.

If some white people don't "get it," those are some reasons why. The shoe is not, and won't be, on the other foot.

lilacpr2000 said...

Anonymous The Ministry of Truth said...

"Hahaha! No I really don't think that Black people will get to 'enjoy' this at all, any time soon. Although you are right about it being 'that way'"

That was sarcasm. This is obviously not enjoyable for quite a few black people.

"Because put the shoe on the other foot MOT, if Black people would be singing along with a song that mentioned 'crackers' or 'rednecks' or even as Field mentioned *d *, out loud for the 'enjoyment' of the whites there, I do believe it would sound just a leeeetle bit hostile and/or aggressive ;)"

Maybe a little bit, but it's still not exactly comparable.

First, because there are no slurs aimed at white people that are capable of wounding or offending to the same degree as the n-word does black people.

Second, there is also NO other ethnic group that uses a racial slur to refer to themselves with the same frequency that black people do. Yes, occasionally, various ethnic groups will employ a slur of some sort self-referentially -- in a humorous sense. But on nowhere near the scale that certain black people use the n-word. "Racial slur=everyday pronoun" is really quite unique to black American culture.

Third, because black artists are working it into pop culture with regularity. Usage is not restricted to colloquial speech among black people in private.

If some white people don't "get it," those are some reasons why. The shoe is not, and won't be, on the other foot.

8:39 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why is it that every time we black/brown have something of our own it has to 'offend' some! :)

Are these same 'offended' folk, equally offended when Italians call themselves among themselves, their names that have been offensively given to them by the dominant culture here in America? I know Italians that, use these 'supposed' derogatory words among themselves in affection,Polish, Mexicans,etc., this is a known fact.

Perhaps it is that since these words were originated out of hatred and/or dislike, to use it among ourselves is to neutralize it, change it, make it okay, because we're taking a 'bad' word and using it out of and with love. So maybe it's a kind of defense mechanism even I dunno! It really merits studying/analyzing, but studied by us not by youse ;)

As for the 'frequency of usage' perhaps you haven't listened to Spanish hip-hop or you would hear the same. And the small amount of Italian hip-hop that I've heard also employs these slang words btw.

I don't think anyone should decide the correct frequency/amount of usage of any cultures slang.

But I understand that like you, it does bother a lot of folk.

My thoughts are that if it's not your culture you shouldn't use it. Just as you shouldn't use any of the others that are out there belonging to the different cultures, and that are used on a daily basis among themselves.

Just as you wouldn't call any other person the pet name you use for your loved better half, or of your kids for that matter.

Perhaps I'm not explaining myself adequately, but I just don't feel that it should be such a big deal. Perhaps if it didn't rub the dominant race in such a bad way,it would stop? Perhaps it bothers because we are Black and Brown? Dunno, just my own thoughts...

Limpbaugh said...

I agree completely with Field. I'm not to offended when black people use the n word and history should not be covered up. BUt it is very offensive when white people say it. I have quoted old people from the south who use a pronunciation of negro that comes close and joked about wigers with black friends but I don't use the n word.

Yīshēng said...

After thinking about this for the past day, I'm really split on whether or not I think he should have used the n word or not.

Anonymous said...

If nigger/nigga is verboten, why can the black elite use it?

field negro said...

Pilot, it is rather pathetic that after 17 candidates we are left with these three.

lilacpr2000 said...

Yīshēng said...

After thinking about this for the past day, I'm really split on whether or not I think he should have used the n word or not.

10:04 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'd like to hear them because, I dunno...I may be the one that's wrong :)
these are just my opinions that I say because we have these words in our culture too, and a lot of other cultures within my family, and so I have heard them used, as well as used them myself all the time in conversation out of affection and camaraderie. But, by the same token, I know darn well that if anyone else outside the culture called them that, it would not go over well. So...dunno...

The Shadow Knows... said...

@StillaPanther2: The Black race have so many words I would rather not hear such as "homicide", "drop out", "rapist", "unemployed", "fatherless", "felon", "unable to live in peace" 'using a gun in the commission of a felony", 'using a gun by a felon"..." nigger" should be low on the severity of our responses.

I hear you, but these aren't words "heard" exclusively by blacks, and neither are the acts you specify--"homicide", "drop out", "rapist", "unemployed", "fatherless", "felon", "unable to live in peace" 'using a gun in the commission of a felony", 'using a gun by a felon"..."--unique to the "Black race" alone.

I wish we humans were more evolved than is often evinced in the daily news, but we're still plodding along, doing more harm to ourselves ultimately than we're doing to others, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary.

The Shadow Knows... said...

Blogger field negro said...

"Pilot, it is rather pathetic that after 17 candidates we are left with these three."

That's because, Field, we had 17 "pathetic" candidates to begin with.

http://www.ldjackson.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2016-Republican-Presidential-Contenders.jpg

The Shadow Knows... said...

@lilacpr2000: "I'd like to hear your thoughts."

Here are my "thoughts":

I wouldn't have used the word, simply because it diminishes the office, and the man who's honored to sit there.

Had President Obama been Italian instead of black I don't think that the racial slur da*o would have gone over very well, even if used as a term of endearment.

That said, something more was going on here, something that some in the audience, and perhaps around the world, might have missed:

By using that word, Wilmore acknowledged a bond between the two men, a bond forged in the crucible of the black experience.

Wilmore: "'So, Mr. President, I'm going to keep it a hundred. Yo Barry, you did it, my n---a.'"

More than a term of endearment, the word connected the two men, connected them in ways that this black president and someone white could never connect. It spoke of the brotherhood that exists between black men and underscored an ineffable understanding among blacks in general, but one that's difficult to convey or describe to non-whites.

lilacpr2000 said...

The Shadow Knows... said...

Here are my "thoughts":

I wouldn't have used the word, simply because it diminishes the office, and the man who's honored to sit there.

Had President Obama been Italian instead of black I don't think that the racial slur da*o would have gone over very well, even if used as a term of endearment.

By using that word, Wilmore acknowledged a bond between the two men, a bond forged in the crucible of the black experience.

Wilmore: "'So, Mr. President, I'm going to keep it a hundred. Yo Barry, you did it, my n---a.'"

More than a term of endearment, the word connected the two men, connected them in ways that this black president and someone white could never connect. It spoke of the brotherhood that exists between black men and underscored an ineffable understanding among blacks in general, but one that's difficult to convey or describe to non-whites.

3:03 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Exactly! But either way, after all, it wasn't a heads of state dinner. I think it was meant to be lighthearted and fun event. The White House didn't mind and defended his use of the word,so they understood,so no big deal.

http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/05/white_house_defends_larry_wilmore_s_use_of_the_n_word_while_addressing_obama.html?wpisrc=topstories

As for using the D word or the W word from an Italian comedian to an Italian President, I don't see why not? Same thing really!

It was an informal event with a party atmosphere and there's nothing wrong with expressing pride and camaraderie in ones culture and/or race.

It seems it's only wrong and demeaning and should be stopped,ended,erased,zilch,shush,kaput,nein,no,nada,and becomes an 'oh my Gawd!' moment when a Black or a Brown indulge in it. Then it's like sooo demeaning oh my Gaawwwd lolol! Puhlease!

As you so aptly put it, difficult to convey! But why? Because they refuse to accept it, and perhaps it even goes deeper than that. Perhaps maybe even a feeling of threat that Black men can bond? Of strength in numbers? Of 'Let's take away the little camaraderie that the few that have not been imprisoned can still enjoy?' Maybe...

Because this type of hullabaloo isn't made over the other races slang words, no, on the contrary, they deem it as funny when heard, cute, and laugh along, it's okay then!

But ahhh, we're talking about Black and brown here! Those slaves that were bought here to work and make the white man rich,the nation rich. And now look at them, calling themselves something that only the white man used to call them! How dare they!

Could that be a part of it? I dunno, just my thoughts here...I could be wrong...

Frank Drackman said...

all I have to say is.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4l79j55n7U

Thrasher said...

I will always use any word in any venue as I do desire . I will never stop using the word NIGGER.. I define the 'intent' of the word not White America nor others ... Just because Whites are uncomfortable with it makes me use it even more ..lol lol