Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Not So Dead "N" Word


If you hadn't heard the "N" word is supposed to be dead. On July 9,2007 The NAACP held a funeral to bury the "N" word and a year before an organization in Wisconsin did the same thing but apparently the damn thing is like Elvis and Tupac. People keep seeing (and hearing) it, I swear it is still alive. I even keep seeing (and hearing) it everywhere, it's the damnedest thing! But I tell you, this "N" word is even worse, it can be in more than place at a time and it gets seen (and said) over and over and over again until my head wants to pop off. I don't care who says it, I've been known to correct the person and then walk away (and that's me being nice).

So, where was the last sighting you are wondering? On a soon to be released CD cover (above) by Nas. The CD which will be released next month to be titled "Nigger". Lovely right? I thought so...NOT!!!!!!! This is how Nas defends his CD Cover:

"If Cornel West was making an album called Nigger, they would know he's got something intellectual to say," Nas continued. "To think I'm gonna say something that's not intellectual is calling me a nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary."

Nas said he hasn't talked to anyone outside his camp about the title, so he was upset to see that people are up in arms without knowing the story behind him choosing the name. "I wanna make the word easy on mutha----as' ears," he explained. "You see how white boys ain't mad at 'cracker' 'cause it don't have the same [sting] as 'nigger'? I want 'nigger' to have less meaning [than] 'cracker.' With all the bullsh-- that's going on in the world, racism is at its peak. I wanna do the sh-- that's not being done. I wanna be the artist who ain't out. I wanna make the music I wanna hear.

"We're taking power [away] from the word," he added. "No disrespect to none of them who were part of the civil-rights movement, but some of my n---as in the streets don't know who [civil-rights activist] Medgar Evers was. I love Medgar Evers, but some of the n---as in the streets don't know Medgar Evers, they know who Nas is. And to my older people who don't now who Nas is and who don't know what a street disciple is, stay outta this mutha----in' conversation. We'll talk to you when we're ready. Right now, we're on a whole new movement. We're taking power [away] from that word."

Sighhhhh.... well, per Nas, it's good to know I can start calling all my white friends "Crackers" now and they won't mind. What an idot!

14 comments:

Tasha said...

I prefer the term 'white trash' to cracker, please.

Jocelyn said...

I am with Tasha, "White Trash" is so much classier then "cracker". I just shook my head when I read this. What is so sad is that someone like him is even famous:-(

Jocelyn said...

Oh...and Happy New Year:-)

haze said...

One of my older brothers uses the N-word. He's of that school where they want to take the power away from the word. I don't know how I feel about that, quite frankly. I can see his point - a black man deals with a lot more shit than even a black woman. I do know the word disgusts me, though. But yeah, they said it was dead last year, but as you pointed out - it hasn't gone anywhere. I don't think it ever will.

I think there are better, more intelligent ways of taking the sting out of it though - I don't think it has to be in-your-face with a record title. It's unfortunate that use of the word by black people is associated with use of other great 'ghetto' vernacular, such as hos, bitches, and the like. It doesn't help the cause and certainly doesn't make the speaker come across as intelligent or worthy of serious consideration.

iesha said...

"To think I'm gonna say something that's not intellectual is calling me a n--"...and then he proceeds to make an ignorant statement. Since when is it ok that young black men don't know who Medgar Evers is? My "cracker" husband knows who Medgar Evers is. Can I just call Nas a dumba$$ instead and call it a day?

haze said...

ok, had to say it as it's been bugging me since reading this - every time I think "Nas Defends" I think "vas deferens"

sorry. as you were... ;-P

Tracey said...

Now haze, i was not thinking about the male anatomy until you went there. Now I can't stop making the connection.
How does he think Megar Evers would feel about his use of the N word? I'm sorry, but Evers and Dr. King did not die so brothers like Nas could act a fool.

Anna said...

Its a shame because I really like the music from Nas- Illmatic is a classic. My daughter and I love to watch the streaming video of the song "I know I can, be what I wanna be" and she jumps on her little trampoline to the rythm. A couple of years ago we were listening to Kanye West in the car and he said this word in one of his songs. She asked me what this meant and it opened up a whole conversation (which is a good thing). Even though we have books about MLK and Rosa Parks that talk about this word and racism, it was somehow different- even to her- to be hearing it in a song.
I think the negative power of that word will only go away once we stop using it.

iesha said...

Anna, good point. I love Kanye West, but I have to be honest...I gave him a break because it is hard to find a word to rhyme with Gold Digger. I will commence to hanging my head in shame. (But I stand by the dumba$$ comment!)

Tracey said...

I guess I need to hang my head in shame too. As much as I hate the word, and wish it would disappear, I thought Gold Digger was a more amusing song without the N word blanked out. It just sounded funnier, like two dudes really talking. That shows how imbedded the word really is I guess.

Tasha said...

If I can take this conversation on a wee bit different tagent, I really like the philosophy of Cory Booker, the mayor in NJ. He wants young men and women to speak the English of their forefathers - George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, etc. and even that of more modern leaders - Martin Luther King.

Katy said...

Nas' "If I ruled the world" song sure is pretty with Lauryn Hill in it, but a lot of the lyrics make me happy he doesn't. For example: everyone having quality cocaine, goin' to court with no trial, and all women going down.

I have always thought that black people using the word, taking the power of it away from "haters" made sense, although I would prefer to never ever hear it again. One of the many things that disturb me about its use in rap, hip hop, and popular culture is white kids hearing it and thinking it is ok to say it or call someone (white or black) "my nigga" when they're trying to be all gangstER.

One of my favorite rap/hip hop artists, Mystic, sings about it in a GREAT (in my opinion) song called Intermission. www.myspace.com/thatgirlmystic

Tami said...

Katy sometimes you scare me! LMAO

Anna said...

But the reasons that poor white kids use that word is because they do not have the education about the history of the word imprinted in their brains. They want to be as cool as the guys in the videos. Plus they see someone like Bubba Sparks using the word, and thing- no big deal. Only if you are educated enough to understand the fear that word once created for people can you understand why it shouldnt be used. This experience should be passed on as oratory stories from generation to generation, but often its buried as if it is shamefull. When schools arent teaching this to young people, and parents are not explaining its power (and perhaps dont know themselves) then why wouldnt white, Hispanic and Asian children use it along side their African American friends?
Im a white girl- no way around it. I used to get teased in high school for "acting black" by other white students- even then I never used that word. But at the time I just remember acting in a way in which I was comfortable, and spending time with the people I wanted to regardless. To myself I am thinking- how can I "act black" if my skin is so white? How can so-and-so "act white" when their skin is so black? It was just as rediculous then as it is now.
Like someone else said, I think using the N word casually only stirrs up negative feelings and theres got to be a better way for someone to express themselves.
Sorry to rambbbblllle :)