Don’t Call Me Nigger

Just about a year ago I ended a long (half) lifetime in Jamaica, Queens and moved to Ridgewood, Queens on the Brooklyn border. It’s pretty much an Eastern European neighborhood. My super is polish. There are two hands full of Russians, Czechoslovakians and I’m assuming some of these languages I can’t make out could be Romanian and Bulgarian folks chopping it up. There’s also a decent Hispanic population there. Black folks, not so much.

There’s a basketball court literally right across the street from my building, so I thought I’d go shoot a couple of Memorial Day jumpers before heading to the city yesterday. The second I get on the court, I hear, “… nigga.” I look over and see these melanin-deprived kids shooting around. So I finger (PAUSE) the culprit and see the kid getting nervous. He knew what he said was wrong.A few minutes go by and I just can’t let it go, so I head over to the kid and ask him where he’s from. “I’m Albanian,” he replies. [Sucks teeth!] I didn’t know they got a pass. “I couldn’t help, but hear you say that word,” I told the kid. Anyway, I turned into an old man and cautioned him against using the n-word. “I’m not trying to scare you, but you may end up saying it in front of the wrong person,” I warned. Shoot! If I was 13-15 as he appeared to be, I would have been the wrong person. I lived in Montreal for four years in the mid 90s and the racial tension over there is was crazier than some of you may think. They used to have these skinheads there. There’s black and white tension, but then there’s also black and wigger tension. Wiggorance is an epidemic over there. You got the French Canadian wiggers over there trying to be so down that they put on an Haitian accent. Dudes got thicker accents than my moms, yo. Wiggers used to get got for their Tommy Hilfiger just because back when Wu-Tang Clan wasn’t nothing “to fuck with.” Let’s not forget the Moroccan, Algerian and Lebanese kids. They are just some of the most hardbody dudes you’ll ever see stomp somebody. Anyway, my boy sent me a Youtube video of these two kids from Ontario recently getting beat within an inch of their life after using the n-word in Downtown Montreal. See for yourself.Them Haitian kids in Montreal don’t play, yo. I can only imagine what would have happened to those kids elsewhere. That’s my word, I’m about to ask this kid for his email, so I can send him the Youtube link and hopefully scare him straight, because the little chat we had earlier apparently didn’t. Just minutes after our initial exchange, I hear, “chill, nigga.” Ten minutes later: “get your hand off me, nigga.” I was annoyed, but realized that these kids didn’t know any better. It was like a freakin’ reflex. I’m not making excuses for them, I’m just saying. “We know it’s wrong. We’re just so used to saying it now,” one of the kids told me. His friend chimed in, “all our friends say it, so we just say it all the time.”

So later I head back to the court to play a little Utah with these college kids. They sucked by the way. Mind you, I’m rusty as hell, but I just murdered these kids. I creamed them so badly, I wasn’t counting points, started over a bunch of times and still won. I even Carl Chery’d Jayson Williams’d this kid circa 2000 to a point where he had to fix his shoe. But anyway, a little after the game we run this 3 on 3 and this 17, 18-year-old red head kid (with a bunch of parts in his head) shouts, “this nigga’s beating everybody at Utah.” Sigh! I look over and see two Hispanic-looking kids sitting silent next to Punky Brewster. See, some argue that white kids that grew up in the hood get some sort of pass. (What…ever!) But this is Ridgewood we’re talking about. In this case, this freckle-face kid was seemingly getting the n-word co-sign from Latinos, who themselves supposedly have been given a pass. WTF? Again, I went Bill Cosby on the kid.Jackpot: Excuse me, I could have swore I just heard you say the n-word.Red Head: Oh yeah! Why, are you taking offense? Jackpot: It is offensive. I know you don’t mean it that way, but why do you have to say it? You just say it like it’s not a big deal? You don’t think it’s wrong?

Red Head: Well, you know. It’s just slang.

Jackpot: No, no, no! It’s not just slang. Come on! Would you use that word in the middle of Flatbush?

Red Head: I would probably watch the way I talk.

Jackpot: You know it doesn’t have to be Flatbush. A kid you don’t know could hear you say it here and step to you whether you were being racist or not.

Red Head: [Hesitantly says…I know]. What about you? Do you use it?

See, this kid expected me to say yes. Well, you know what, I don’t. Go back to any of my entries and see if I’ve used it once. I’ll quote it while telling stories, but I try my best to abstain from it in regular conversations. Not to say I deserve a cookie or anything, that’s just what it is. Like I told the kid, I’ve been called that word one too many times to use it as a term of endearment and if I said it, I feel as though I couldn’t be mad at people, including other races, saying it. I initially was gonna mind my business and let the kid slide, but they’ll just keep saying it if nobody tells them to knock it off.

Let’s keep it funky here. The word didn’t start with hip-hop. I mean, there’s no denying that rap music has helped perpetuate it to a certain point. I mean, the kid called it slang. I’m wondering where he got that from. Still, I don’t blame hip-hop or even the parents. I blame us. Like, it’s Rick Ross and them’s fault that DJ Khaled uses the n-word so often. Check that dude. But naahh! Trilla in stores now, right? I hate to call them that, but none of white friends say it, not even to sing along a freakin’ song. Some have in the past, but I immediately told them that it wasn’t cool. If some some white kid says it around his black friends all the time, then who am I to tell him anything? Nas said that his goal was to turn the word meaningless or something. Impossible! Those n-word bans and funerals are useless until we start taking the word more seriously. Sadly, I don’t ever see that happening. Speak on it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/sinistahmoneybagz Sinistah aka 7Body Sin

    it’s not gonna change…..

    i know it’s a slur, but i can’t allow myself to get too riled up about it especially when i know it’s true definition doesn’t have anything to do with melanin at all……

    and to those who use it as a slur are perfectly defining it’s dictionary meaning!

    At one-point i used to get Busta Rhymes via Higher Learning when i heard a non-black say the shit once upon my fading youth, lol! As i got older, i learned to not let it bother me so much…. we got people from N.O. still displaced, let alone the non-commercial aspects of that city fucked up still! We got the peeps over China whose city is pretty much debris and bodies, shit Darfur anyone? but we’d rather fund weaponry than relief in regards to International Affairs…. so at the end of the day, the “N” bomb is a miniscule factor in the harsh reality of living life to me.

    All u could do is warn the youngins, but sometimes they gotta learn first-hand, so next time invite some of ya peeps from Urban-Q.U. to play ball out there wit ya and see how effortless that word will flow, if it’s even spoken at all! Maybe one day they just will come across that one 12yr old who’s been on da block since 8 who will be quick to chip up a few jawbones for the cause of equality!

  • flo-rida evans

    Oh ,now none a y’all niggas got a response,huh?Niggas…

  • Pierzy

    Damn, I can’t imagine saying that to my closest black friends, let alone to a stranger on the ball court. That’s wild.

  • Braile

    Me my self im black,creole(indian) and sicilian. I use the word around friends that are black
    in Detroit Chaldeans (Iraqis) don’t eva say that shit. They listen to hip hop and everything and talk like (i guess) black folk but they neva say the n-word

    One thing that urked me when scratch magazine was poppin and khaled and wayne was on the cover khaled said the n-word a couple of times and I don’t think he’s black.
    Plus Fat Joe says it and he got blue eyes (is he black?)

    Feel me like Braile

  • Yoda

    Braile, what Chaldeans you be around? Whether it’s Detroit, Oak Park, or Southfield they all say “nigga”. I heard one of em say it back in high school around a bunch of black kids in my freshman year and I was confused as shit. Everybody was just like, “Whatever nigga”…I was like, “Aint we supposed to be mad?”

    Then somebody said, “Shut up, nigga.”

    • babydoll

      Lol, for some reason this made me laugh out loud

  • POLO DIZ

    MAAAAAAAN niggaplease!

  • og bobby j

    Im white and say whatever I want. In the same respect, if I am with someone who easily offended or takes offense to it, i will limit or refrain from using it. to each his own…to me its a word…nothing more. Who has the right to determine what I can and cannot say?

  • Braile

    Yo yoda
    I went to oak park high school they neva said
    certain black people would even say to chaldeans that they had permission to say it but the chaldeans still neva said it
    plus I be in Dearborn all the time they neva say it or Hamtramck they neva say it

    Maybe that school changed when I left but them dudes neva eva said it

    feel me like Braile

    • Yoda

      Shit I graduated in Lathrup back in 04, Ion know. Shit crazy, I guess the main point I’m tryna bring up is that I can recall one time me asking somebody black why they let Chaldeans say “nigga” and they was like, “Shit, they ain’t white”.

      Ion know, the whole “nigga” issue is complicated to me. How can I tell someone not to say it when we’ve popularized the word. Especially when these kids of other races listen to us say, “It’s just a term of endearment”. I always feel weird when I hear someone say it outside of my race, sometimes pissed, sometimes I’m not. Some of these kids really do look at it like a term of endearment and don’t get it. Some of em just want to say it, it’s like taboo, so why not say it?

      I knew an Asian kid who said nigga around me and stopped mid-word and looked at me like, “Dude, I’m so sorry”. Them Asians that listen to Hip-Hop be around each other callin each other nigga…shit’s weird.

  • Braile

    (thinks in head)
    Who cares lets just not say it and replace nigga with my “dude” or something else
    I wonder what Nas gonna do cause he said a racist term about Italians on Be a nigger too

    and on that one movie where they made fun of three hundred that penguin called that white man a cracker and ain’t no white people start marchin or nothin

    Feel me like Braile

    • the r

      cracker does not equal to nigger

      a cracker was never a slave term

  • KFrizzle

    This has long been an issue of contention for me as I’m white but I was the minority in my surroundings for most of my pre-adult life. I have had no problems refraining from saying the word, nor am I tempted to use it, but the principals that exist behind this word make me feel like black folks are being very hypocritical about its usage.

    I feel like a lot of black folks just use it as an excuse to swing on white folks to be honest. When I was coming up, I was constantly tested just becuase I was white. Fools were constantly trying to check me and see if I would step back until one day I finally did and I’ve never been intimidated by that type of behavior since…because truthfully most black dudes are not tougher than white kids are, they just act like it. I mean if you strapped you can be as tough as you want, but when the gloves come off, I’ve laid my share of beatings down on black dudes [||] and I’ve caught my share of L’s too. The N word is just another way of testing white people in my opinion. You throw the word around like bait and shit and just wait for a white mufuka to say it so you can stomp their face in like it changes anything that’s happened in the past???

    Now Jackpot, I can respect how you handled these situations because if you are real in what you claim that you don’t use the word and are trying to educate these fools that may not know better then that is proper. But I also think that a majority of black folks purposely use the term as a tool of exclusion. Yet I hear public figures all the time use the term cracker, whitey, etc with no kind of backlash from the white community and that shit burns me up!!

    I mean the real is that black folks stay on some “include us or else” type of shit and the mentality always starts with the idea that if y’all can do it, why can’t we?? If y’all can sit here and throw around racist terms, and use race as constant propoganda, then why shouldn’t other races be allowed to do this? ie: Willy Randolph last week…this is a perfect example of what I mean. How many times did Joe Torre get slayed by the media due to the Yankees historically slow starts and now Willie wanna pull the race card.

    I’m not ignorant, I know racism still exists but you can’t tell me that because of the historic black plight in this country that you should be given a free pass to act racist towards whoever you want as if that is making the racial state of things any better. Fuck that, if your people are really serious about deading this racist shit, then I feel like y’all need to do a little soul searching yourselves instead of half of you feeling like the word is empowering and endearing, versus half who feel like it is a green light to whoop someone’s ass because they are just trying to be included in what y’all are doing.

    Props to you Jackpot though, I respect how you handled yourself cuzz.

  • Ferris Ave

    What always ALWAYS works is this:ask whatever white boy or spanish dude or whatever race is talking shit their nationality. If they say Jewish…call them a Kike. If Spanish call them a Spic or bean eater. If Irish call them a Mic. Italian call them a Wop. All of a suddden things will change and their faces will contort. THEN say “that’s how I feel when you say that shit in front of me.” I’m not saying that will change the world but it does let people MAYBE see how fucked up it is to say something that foul real casual and not expect a bad response.

  • henry

    is this page mest up for anyone else,

    on xbox live theres always kids using the n-word

  • 86nicholas12

    Yeah henry this page is messed up.

  • Lyncher

    Ay,

    FYI, you should capitalize persons’ nationalities i.e. “Polish”. Without the capitalization, it reads as “polish” (ex: shoe polish).

    You’re welcome.

  • Smokey

    —PUTS ON THE CHRONIC, SKIPS TO RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT— “…..NIGGA YOU CRAZY”.

  • THAT DUDE

    I understand where your coming from because eventhough I don’t come across white’s who use it I’m always hearing some white-looking spanish kid saying nigger.
    My thing is that you do have a right to say nigger if your a person of AFRICAN DESCENT like some latino’s but if you’re not Tego Calderon or David Ortiz I’m calling you SPIC and if you even look offended you need your ass kicked.
    People forget Spain is a European nation and those latin’s are just like their Anglo brother’s.I knew some in Brooklyn who would kill their daughter before letting a black man have her and didn’t want black’s in their house as I’ve heard with my own ears.
    If your Black and let someone call you nigger who isn’t of African descent you a sucker and to all the white’s,indian’s and hispanic’s who use nigger why don’t you use CRACKER,HONKEY,COOLEY or SPIC because those are slang word’s as well.
    Funny you mentioned Fat joe cause he’s obviously from Spain descent and not African or Taino so how come he never say’s what up my SPIC’S and is always saying nigger?

    • OO

      Because he’s not saying it in a negaitve way… SO if I’m white and i have black friends… I say what up niggas… Is that wrong.. They’re not taking offense to it cuz it is used nowadays like homie or playa.

  • at Koon N***A

    WAZ YOUZ CALLEZ A KONGZ FUZ HIPZ HOPZ CHINKZ

    A CHIGGAZ

  • http://xxlmag.com Johnny Fontaine

    “If your Black and let someone call you nigger who isn’t of African descent you a sucker”.

    Chuuuch!!Yo but them Canucks got they ass stomped out ol’boy ran accross the street and “Matt Hardy-ed” that dude.See white people should not be talkin reckless better mumble that shit.LOL

  • chad bro chill

    this shit kinda piss me off i’m white get called a cracker by black friends dont even take it serious
    but if i called a black person a nigger everything get all hyped up now i wouldnt do that but lets think about this for a second
    nigger= slave cracker= slave master
    neither me nor any of my black friends r slaves or slave masters and i wouldnt want anyone to call me a slave or a slave master
    but i personally blame the black community for not letting the word die out
    like i never seen two mexicans go whats up my spic that sounds retarded so i say we just dead the word

    but if im at a concert and singing along im gonna say nigga cuz nigga isnt meant to be offensive niggeRRR iss

  • http://xxlmag.com Johnny Fontaine

    “but i personally blame the black community for not letting the word die out”!!

    U should blame your ancestors,government,and your local police dept you dumb white prick.

    WTF,white dudes have lost their muthafucking minds if they think saying this shit is cool in the earshot of blacks and not get checked for it is crazy.Not every black person listens to rap,so how the fuck i know thats where you got it from.Say that shit in any urban setting,or a black night club in any state you are gonna get your ass beat .Matter of fact i blame niggas,cuz it was a nigga who befriended a white dude and let him say that shit and forgot to tell him the rules of saying it. ie.)only use that around me,if you dont know that nigga like that dont say it

    • chad bro chill

      yo you didn’t listen to me i don’t say it to anyone only when i’m singing along to a song and if you want to say thats wrong i can understand that
      but….
      as far as “blame my ancestors” i have nothing to do with my ancestors i can’t control what they did and it has nothing to do with me
      and secondly government and the police have nothing to do with how loosely black folks use the word nigger
      if you go up to a friend and say yo nigga then your just feeding machine and your keeping the word alive

      so obviously your the dumb prick for not being able to read correctly

  • Zottapottamottakiz

    “if I said it, I feel as though I couldn’t be mad at people, including other races, saying it.”

    exactly. this word needs to be killed asap. as long as people in pop culture and real life use it to the extent it is being used these days then it will be abused by anybody and everybody who will some how twist “the rules” of the word to include themselves. a non-black person who says the n word is harming black people but a black person using the n word is harming there self. not too smart really.

    also i agree with that dude. my fathers side is of spanish decent and in my country spanish people are conceded white. people in latin america happen to speak the language but are not all of spanish decent. spain is a European country.

  • Yayza

    First off, I didn’t bother reading any comments before I wrote this.

    People put WAY too much emphasis on words these days. For example, I consider myself a Christian, but I swear all the time. Why? Because the words most people consider swear words weren’t around even 1000 years ago, so why should I not be allowed to say them now? Words change definition from generation to generation. People say “that sucks” on a daily basis now, and nobody sweats it, but back in the day that was short for “that sucks dick”, and it was pretty damn offensive.

    The same thing goes for “the N word” as everybody likes to call it. That word has been around LONG before racist slave owners started using it hatefully towards black people, and by accepting their definition of the word you are actually submitting to white supremacy. That’s why I love the way hip-hop is integrating the word back into our lexicon as a term of endearment, as it should be. I think Jackpot, you were really in the wrong talking to those kids the way you did, as long as they were only using the word in a friendly manner. I totally understand if someone comes up to you with hate in their eyes, and calls you a “nigger”, their ass needs to be beat the fuck down. But what harm is their when people use the word the same way as “bro” “dude”? (for lack of better examples).

    Look at that video: it’s clear those guys got fucked up because they probably just saw a bunch of black dudes and just screamed “Nigger” or something. There’s no way they were just saying “sup nigga” to their friends or whatever. Hateful use of the word is obviously wrong, but why dog all the people trying to bring it back to its rightful meaning?

    I just personally think a lot of people are just trying to set society back using these archaic ways of thinking, and it just astounds the fuck out of me why some people try to blow up issues like this, when there are better, more intelligent ways to handle it, and better uses of your time for that matter. I mean, I don’t live in the states, so maybe I just don’t understand how racist people are there, but damn, it seems to me that a lot of y’all need to pick up a fucking book or listen to some KRS or something…

    • Victor

      People, some of you need to think. White dudes, think about it, the word nigger has connotations that no other word used in english has THAT is why you shouldn’t use it near black strangers cos there fathers or even they themselves mightve been subject to serious racist abuse. The word is contextual, some of my white ppls can use it in front of me as long as it isn’t meant to be offensive, i jus call em “toothpaste face” or some other shit in reply lol The reason why blacks use it is as a means of reclamation, but the reality is that it is only a word, a word with history but just a word. When black ppls talk about discontinuing its use they are missing the big picture, stopping or starting to use a word doesnt change hearts or minds. Dem kids were chattin shit and sought to provoke bre guys and so they got beat down for it which is they own fault.

  • http://blackbox-ent.com J Know

    I am white and my early childhood I was raised in West Virginia which happens to be 95% white. From an early age, though, I grew up around black people. At 5 yrs old on my best friend was black. His cousin was my first lil’ crush/girlfriend. His family was my family and vice versa.

    Half of the time I was at his house and the other half he was at mine. We lived in the city not some straight country bumpkin shit. So I heard the n-word on pretty much a daily basis. In ordinary conversation and some not so ordinary and not so frinedly convo. I grew up with this word being second nature to some of my closest family – his family was just as much fam as my own.

    I moved to Columbus, Ohio when I was 11. Straight from predominately white to a predominately black area. I dealt with a lot of bullshit for being white but it didn’t bother me b/c it was just a few insecure people and I never took no shit and got respect from most. Now tho I was more embeded in an environment that embraced the n-word. I have never used it, in my mind at the time, negatively. But I did gradually adopt the word into my daily use as second nature. It was too hard not to. Also, by a lot of my friends(black) it was expected. And I always got that “you’re not white anyway” type of love which was cool and much respected. So I have been a culprit of this myself.

    It was when I moved to another neighborhood in High school and started kickin’ it with more white kids that I saw a problem. Now this wasn’t a suburb or rich area just more white but still mixed community. Now these white kids were in the same things I was into but the first time and every time I heard one of them use the n-word it would make my skin crawl. I would get pissed and get on them about it. Also, I didn’t feel right about using the word with them b/c they were white. Crazy, maybe. Then after a conversation with my sister and a lil’ bit of soul searching I realized that I shouldn’t use the word either. No matter what now I try not to say it. I still think it in the same way I used it in conversation but that is going to take more time. It is still deep in how I think and naturally talk. But for the simple respect of all my loved ones – family, friends, and girlfriend. I do not use it. and for those who are not black and say “I don’t mean it like that” or “it’s just a word” you are just selfish and immature and need to realize you need to think if it is offensive to others not yourself. It aint about you. Just plain respect.

    Another thing, I hate the word wigger b/c it is still calling black people the n-word. So if the author of this article doesn’t use the n-word he shouln’t use this either.

  • BIGNAT

    in the video a white guy jumps in to help stomp out the other white guys hahahhaa

  • Optimus Prime

    First of, I’d like to say that I absolutely agree with everything KFRizzle and Yayza said; you can really tell they’ve thought this out and gone beyond the knee-jerk reaction of so many other people. Also, I gotta say good work to Jackpot for being reasonable and actually teaching these kids something by showing how intelligent and thoughtful black people are instead of just beating the shit out of them and making them think blacks are animals who just look for an excuse to beat white kids up, like the people in the video (who are bitches for beating up 2 kids when there are like 15 of them) That being said, some people are just looking to get angry because someone who says nigger is an obvious target for all of the pent-up frustration from any real or perceived racism that blacks have experienced, whether or not the person actually meant it in a hateful way or if they were just too ignorant to know what it used to mean and what it still means to some people.

  • Anonymous

    i jus call em jiggaboos