Category 5

Some Black People Just Don’t Get It!

Recently Philadelphia Eagles player Riley Cooper was caught on tape using the word “Nigger” at a Kenny Chesney concert in June 2013. Public reaction to Cooper’s actions have been strong, understandably so, with many calling for the receiver to be released from the team.  Amongst the many groups of people appalled by this comment, the African-American community has shown much disgust by Cooper’s comment, but Why?

I find it interesting that African-American’s often times use the word “nigger” or “nigga” as a term of endearment when addressing one another.  For example, I’ve witnessed young black males greet one another saying, “What’s up my nigga?” and the respondent replies, “You got it my nigga what’s good?”  But when a white person uses the term, it’s racist.  How so? Is it because less than 50 years ago during the civil rights era black people were being hosed down, hung from trees, beat by police officers in the streets, or told that “niggers/colored” were not allowed to use the same facilities as whites. 

Words only have as much power as you give them.  Remember the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  I guess black people live by a different code when it comes to using the word nigger by a non-black person.  Well let me step away from White vs. Black for a moment.  I have also witnessed the term “nigga” being acceptably used by other minorities such as Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Arabs, etc. Is this because Latinos or Arabs are given ghettos passes because they somehow can relate to the plight of black people.  If this is the basis of your argument, then what about Jews, or Indians, and Irish people they too have been an oppressed race.

Interestingly enough black people are selective in their fight when it comes to being discriminated against.  Maybe black people should take a step back and be the change that we want to see in the world. 

When racial slurs are used by black people towards white people words such as “cracker or honkey”, I don’t see mobs of white people getting racially sensitive towards black people wanting to fight and cause a media stir.  You know why? Because white people don’t care, they are viewed as the “privileged” in America.  And besides that, they honestly look at a person calling them a honkey or a cracker as being ignorant and they chalk it up as the person who speaks the racial slur is beneath them and they are better than that, hence they know their worth and are too intelligent to even dignify such ignorance.

So maybe, just maybe black people can learn a thing or two from white people who use words like “nigga” in a feeble attempt to piss you off. Take the higher road, and don’t even acknowledge it and keep it moving.  If someone called you “Bob” and your name was “James” would you respond, no you wouldn’t, same deal.

Sure we all know why the word nigger is used and where it came from, but after all this time have we not evolved enough to get over it and find a better way to fight instead of using our fist to combat ignorance. If you want to see better, then do better, but it must start with you! Don’t ever get upset with someone for doing something that you do because it only makes you look ignorant.  Yes, words are and can be powerful only if and when you find meaning in them. 

It’s time that we evolve from our past and make strides to create our future. Sure, you have no power over what other people say or do, but you do have power or what you say, do and how you respond.  Learn to educate and transfer knowledge, and if you don’t know your history then that’s a great place to start on your education before you fly off the handle about a white person using the word nigga.  Fifty years ago the word “nigga” was a common word used to address black people.  Nowadays, it’s a political word that should only be used in the hood or behind closed doors.  Whether you agree with me or not is not my concern.  What is my concern is that as black man I am tired of the same people complaining about what’s not changing in the world, doing nothing about the world to help that change. So in the words of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

If not, maybe you should keep quiet and sit back and watch the world continue to fall apart and don’t complain when it does because you didn’t do anything to make a difference. And for those of who don’t use the word because you find it disrespectful, good for you, now how about you start educating your brothers and sisters that do use the word and bring them into light, do your part because you have a responsibility in all of this too.

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