In light of the blatant idiocy of the students from Desert Vista High School in Arizona, it needs to be reiterated why some people can use the N-word and white people should not.
Some words are spelled the same but the meanings change depending upon the speaker. Football, vest, hamper and flannel are all English words, but in Cleveland, a hamper is for your laundry and in London, it’s for your lunch.
Nigger (Nigga, Niggah, Niggaz, etc.) = sub-species. A hateful word created by white people that now limits, categorizes, and sometimes discriminates against white people.
Nigger (Nigga, Niggah, Niggaz, etc.) =super-species. One of the most powerful words in existence.
The N-word was originally created and used as an attack on black personhood. A nigger is not a type of person (lazy, good-for-nothing, etc.). You are not a person- you are a nigger: A lazy, good-for-nothing, nigger. A good, hard-working, nigger. A house-nigger. A field-nigger. White people created a category of sub-species: the dogs, the horses, the niggers. It’s a controlling power-play aimed to dehumanize. It speaks against a black person’s right to life. If you’re British, a queen isn’t a man dressed in drag. And, if you are white, a nigger is not a person of value. Dogs are dogs, horses are horses and niggers are not people.
The power shifted when black people gave it another definition. They set it to music and title one another because a nigga, niggah, niggaz, nigger, etc., is not, to them, a sub-species. He’s a super-species. He suffered, he overcame and now he’s a conqueror. No matter what form or intent is used, there is no attack upon black-personhood coming from another black person. Because all dogs are dogs; horses are horses and black people are people – not a sub-species.
That power-shift is part of the reason some people want the word, and all of its varied spellings banned. Decent, white folks don’t use the term. Wouldn’t consider it. They know where (read who) it came from. They know what it means when a white person says it (just like Americans don’t order chips when they want fries) and, they’d rather not have the reminder, thank you very much.
Here’s where that w-privilege thing makes its appearance. We acknowledge that our definition is bad and we should not use the N-word. However, if we can’t use it, no one should. Because A –we don’t approve of the other meaning and B- that would mean white people aren’t allowed something because of the color of their skin.
And then there is the other kind. The Caucasians who fling the word defiantly, antagonistically stupidly, and are surprised when it does exactly what they meant for it to do –draw attention, stir up trouble and make people angry. When they have to deal with the repercussions, they call it a mistake.
I’ve never heard of that word being used by accident. You’d have to be extremely obtuse to make a mistake like that.
Speaking of obtuse, those Desert Vista girls… well, they’re young adults, graduating in the spring. They’re Americans who see movies, watch TV, use social networks and are aware of the history of the n-word and the present racial climate. What they did says nothing about black people and everything about them.
That is the power of that word.