Friday, November 6, 2009

That Dang Word

It's been building for a while.

I notice it during conversations and it makes me cringe. Sometimes it gets my attention while I'm listening to classic music.

I shrug it off. It's nothing. I must be getting siddity or something. Can't have that, I ain't never been bougie.

But, it comes back. Messing up my mood, forcing me to think.

Sometimes, and I know this is a shock to those of y'all who read regularly, I don't want to think about why I'm doing something and what it means. Yeah, it's a rarity, but sometimes I do like to kick back and go mindless. Just let my brain hang like my nuts.

But, it won't let me.

I know the history, I know the problems, but I always figured they were overblown. I could handle them, nobody was going to make me kowtow to popular opinion. Besides, the cats pushing this meme are almost always wack. Some old incense burning, tofu-eating, "You are my black queen" cats. Or those old prune-faced, stepping and fetching folks who never have anything good to say about black people period. I like reading as much as every other egghead, but I don't drop reference to Fanon in everyday conversation.

But, it keeps eating at me. I see cats doing it, and I get a little upset. I know it ain't my business, hell I do it too, but I still feel like there's a problem. I ask myself why I do it, and I can't really come up with a plausible reason. My highly sensitive BS meter keeps going off, and I hate when I make my own BS meter go off.

So, why am I still using the word nigger?

It's one thing to use it to express racist sentiments. It's something else to refer to "That nigga down the street" or "That nigga with the gold teeth." And even though I know the argument is bogus, I still want to spell the two words differently, like that makes a difference. It doesn't, nigga is what cats with bad diction say when they mean nigger. Period.

But, it's a security blanket. I've been spitting it from my lips since the tender age of six. It's so versatile, so comfortable, like a perfect pair of sweatpants. Why I gotta change, why I gotta do this?

Yet, I do have to change. It's time man. I'm going to have to break the habit. The Lord has blessed me to make exponential progress when it comes to profanity, and now I feel like it's time for nigger to go as well.

Imma miss it though.

Peace, niggas.



T.A.N. Man said...

Hahaha! That's a tough one. It IS mad versatile.

Darth Whitey said...

Good for you Big Man! I myself have never uttered that word in my whole life unless I was referring to the word itself, like "I find the word nigger to be distasteful" but never to refer to a person. And in the rare instances I've heard people say it it made me queasy or something.

I have, however, used the "c" word to refer to a woman, hah! But never any racial epithets.

Mr. Noface said...

Yeah, "nigga" is a word that I wish wasn't in my vocabulary. It's just that I have been using it for so many years that to stop saying it forever, isn't something that will happen over night. I have found that the more I'm in the company of those who avoid using that word, the more apt I am to avoid using it as well. To change what is going out we have to change what's going in.

Don't get me wrong, like you Big Man, it slips out every now and then (mostly when I'm angered or extra hype) but I feel like I'm getting better.

I wish "brotha" would make a come back as the standard "term of endearment" in our community's vernacular.

Big Man said...

Brotha is a weird term. Church folks use, and lots of white dudes use it, both as pejorative and as a term of endearment.

The young black cats who use it are typically the incense brothers I mentioned in my piece.

Like you, I use the term more around those you use it normally, but I've just noticed recently that it's starting to hurt my spirit. I'm working on it and I think God will give me the strength.

Imhotep said...

Waz sup Nigga? It rolls of the tongue real easy, but in my parent's home, that word was a big no-no!

We were forbidden to ever refer to another Black man as a nigga. My Dad could not get past the dehumanizing aspect of the word to allow its usage under his roof.

When I was growing up and hanging with the fellas, I would hear the term use as an endearment, and I was kinda of kool with that usage, but if it was use to belittle someone, I'd be all over the offending party. Like, why you gotta call the brotha a nigga? why he gotta be a nigga? Don't you know the origin of the term? yada, yada, yada......

Anyway, for a self respecting family man and church dude like you, this move is long overdue. IMO.

Big Man said...


Yeah, my parents didn't really use it either. But they alsodidn't use profanity and I picked that habit up really quickly.

Imhotep said...

Yea Big Man, I too, picked-up on that profanity thing pretty early. Cussing is not race specific, so it has a more democratic application, consequently cussing comes a lot easier than the dreaded n word.

Gye Greene said...

The Public Enemy song...


Raving Black Lunatic