Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Black America, Racism

R.I.P. “Nigger”

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“Nigger” has reached the inevitable hour.

Hundreds of people affiliated with the NAACP convened a mock funeral for the word “nigger”. “Nigger” was buried in a wooden coffin decorated with fake black roses.

–The group has been campaigning against the casual use of the “N-word”, especially in rap and hip-hop music, and also comedy.

What other words could we Black folks bury? Ho, bitch, nappy, faggot, dyke, etc. Many, many words could be sent off to their graves, but burying “nigger” is a great start.

Now let’s start working on the really troubling issues that plague our community. Self-hatred, self-sabotage, poverty, HIV/AIDS, high-incarceration rates, high-unemployment, unemployability, drug and alcohol abuse, etc.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6286498.stm

6 Comments

  1. There are none so blind than those who refuse to see. I’m always amazed at people who have no knowledge about the power of thought and words and yet render opinions based on ignorance.

    Before the Kramer Richards, Don Imus’ incidents there was “Bury that Sucka” A Scandalous Love Affair With the N-word. Published: August 2005 much of today’s turn of events relative to the n-word was foreseen. The n-word is not just another word, it is power, a negative, deep dark diabolical power that is not to be taken lightly as so many do. For further info go to http://www.burythatsucka.com

  2. Interesting symbolism but I do wonder what it would achieve since it is street-language favoured by the hip-hop/rap crowd and their followers who see all that excess and try to imitate the more accessible parts of that lifestyle like the language and fashion.

    I remember being called that on a street in Amsterdam and I answered, “I would not know the meaning of that word, I am a free-born African.”

    I should have added with a great heritage, but he got the message alright; I would not be offended by labels that bear no cultural significance to my life or history.

  3. Your point is relevant in certain situations, Akin, but it’s also true that the word was originally developed specifically to refer to West Africans. It was drafted to shatter African peoples’ sense of identity, in that if all those kidnapped could be and come to perceive themselves as lumped into one huge amorphous body without traditions, names, religions or hope, then they would be easier to manage. The term “Negro” (for Black) was chosen, from what I understand, because many of those captured were from western Africa where the Niger River is such a prominent geographical feature. In the southern U.S. dialect, “Negro” rapidly became “Niggrah” which, in turn, degenerated into “nigger.”

    To my knowledge, present day African-Americans are not born into slavery, but the word hangs on because the oppression continues. Your perception that the oppression of African-Americans does not relate to free-born Africans is probably one of the reasons for its continuance. Malcolm X asked for solidarity across the Atlantic Ocean in the interest of dismantling the power structure that has so ill-served people of color and most particularly people on the continent of Africa and their descendents. This is what he was trying to get at.

    The word “nigger” is representative of SO much more than a street slang term.

  4. Changeseeker,

    Excellent analysis.

  5. I hope that this is the start of zero tolerance for this language. Parents need to by radio edits of music for kids that don’t include the N-word. Parents, teachers, and mentors need to sit their kids down and explain the history of the N-Word and that it is not okay. I hope that some adults took the opportunity to explain why the N-word was being burried yesterday. Seriously, is it so hard for rappers to rhyme with another word like brother or brotha instead of the N-Word?

  6. @Changeseeker,

    I think we should move closer to the truth of this matter than we would find ourselves comfortable to do.

    The NAACP was not burying “Nigger” as a Martin Luther King inspired civil rights action against white oppression, they were speaking to their children and grand-children who being born free are now made rich by singing and speaking words that represented the injustices and oppression their parents and forebears suffered.

    Popular culture amongst young African-American espouses these words and uses them in endearment to each other having not learnt well the history and baggage that comes with the etymology of those words.

    The fight is amongst us, the refuge of white oppression against blacks through the use of language is not a large enough place to express indignation or find effective activism any more.