Monday, 22 April 2013
My People and the Inappropriate Use of the N____ Slur
Now I’m not going to turn all Public Enemy on all of you by bringing up or mentioning the inappropriate use of the N Word and become an Enemy of the State by describing it as no longer a word but a slur however I have increasingly become aware over the years of the acceptance of this term particularly in the Hip Hop Culture and amongst everyone in the English Speaking Universe and I’m extremely concerned of the affect this N Slur is having on future generations.
Now in the eighties and nineties when I was growing up in London United Kingdom if a kid called another kid the N slur it would automatically lead to violence if in school or education setting it meant expulsions suspensions, detentions, even murders and has directly or indirectly affected somebody’s life somewhere however to a degree the Reggae influences of the Late Great Bob Marley and Dennis Emmanuel Brown as well as the Hip Hop State of mind it was different back then you had artists such as De La Soul ATCQ spreading a positive message about the Black Hip Hop Culture and Hip Hop Groups like KRS1 Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy De La Soul offering a more Positive and pro black message in their music and generally discarded the N word however in 1989 came West Coast Super Group N.W.A and that blew that notion away with a multi-platinum selling album.
What I realised and became a shock to me as a teenager was the amount of my peers Black Asian and White who loved N.W.A and had the Album on tape or vinyl and would happily bootleg the Album for pocket money once you had a SA90 Tape.
Now I’m not blaming NWA for the inappropriate use of the N slur but I was aware from what I was taught by my father and mother who came to England in the late sixties from the West Indies that they would not tolerate any one calling them the dreaded N slur and from my own education was taken directly from them if another kid calls you the N Word you tell the Teacher and if it carries on after being warned you beat that down until they understand that it’s not big and it certainly not clever
Now coming from Lambeth the inner city urban landscape of London where the N slur was never used by my peers or my parents and moving out to the suburbs during the Thatcher Years the majority of the population in the Greater London area were white middle-class to working class families which had 2.3 kids and a white picket fence as soon as I met a few of the local kids in the area and stated where I was from automatically the reaction was “oooooohhh Riots” and a wariness and caution about my background had become apparent I was automatically made to feel like an outsider. I noticed the area was smeared with the letters NF which means National Front daubed upon fences and walls and the local Football Clubs initials and I was just as wary about the area as I was amongst these new found so-called friends.
SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS
Now moving from a different part of London to another part of London in the late eighties for an eleven year old is a bit of a big deal and going to a school in a completely different landscape from what you have your heart set on is an even bigger deal. I started secondary school at the mixed school of Hard knocks and I analysed the kids who were similar to me and quickly worked out the ratio of Black pupils in each year I can remember forecasting and predicting when I was a 1st year (year 7) to some of my new round friends that some ‘shit’ was going to happen but I didn’t know when.
I counted the amount of Pupils who were of black origin in the top year which tallied to around 15% of the years population and realised that the black pupils in that year in particular were a tight unit of males and females who were in my eyes and also to the rest of the school were ‘untouchable’ meaning they were probably going to do really well in there GCSE’s and pass with flying colours as well as make their parents proud by going on to college or begin an apprenticeship or start work with a reputable company.
The year 10 lot were also a highly respected bunch of kids as well however the numbers of black kids within the year was significantly less than the year 11 at around 10% but therein were individuals who upon shear reputation alone had the correct credentials of respect amongst us fresh year 7 pupils.
Until one day a when I was walking from the science block with my awkwardly huge ‘Carlton’ travel school bag stooped on my skinny shoulders bumped into a Black year 10 pupil I apologised to him and he punched me in my stomach and said that’s what you get ‘nigger’ I firmed it held back the tears and cursed him out whilst holding on to the balcony I gradually got my breathe back after being winded and caused a scene by chasing him down the school corridor the concluding altercation was stopped by the coolest and most respected year 11 boy there was in the school and just as I was about to probably get expelled the year 11 got the year 10 youth to apologise for punching me and gave him some harsh words. Word got round the school like wildfire that I was under the protective wing of the school of hard knocks most respected. After that most eventful day I walked round the school feeling untouchable.
My concern about the N Slur was pushed firmly to the back of my mind however with the rare occasional drive by racial verbal assault from intoxicated bigots in a Escort whilst I walked home from football practice or athletics. I remember telling my father upon my return home that evening the first person to call me the N slur to my face was actually one of my own he looked surprised but I explained that fortunately for him an elder kid stopped me from beating him up.
Now throughout my remaining school year I still felt relatively untouchable until the year 11s left and only occasionally during exam time would you see small groups of the closely knit factions that had provided me with a stress free induction into school life actually attend school.
The year 9s were becoming increasingly the bane of my school existence when I walked past they would snigger give me and other black pupil’s dirty looks in the canteen and dinner hall and they would become increasingly verbal and more confident. The same NF symbols which I had seen in the area on walls and fences had returned but this time it was engraved in school desks or written in Marker pens on chairs the year 9s ratio of black pupils was less than 2% and certain factions of the year 8s and year 7s were increasingly worried that something was going to take place. The year 9 pupils white population was 98% and had problems with a few of the year 11s and year 10s but when they were at a school where they knew full well not to attempt to try anything silly but now with the year 11s out the way they believed they could run the school and treat certain younger’s within the school like underclass citizens.
The terms and holidays went by and the friction began to show within the school dirty looks were becoming more frequent verbal altercations between year 8 and year 9 black students and Year 9 and 10 white students were nearing a full scale war the racist graffiti increased. By this time I was in year 8 I had already been suspended from school for a silly indiscretion and the last thing I wanted to do was cause my mum and dad any more pain by letting these bigots wreck my future.
I can remember twenty years ago on this very Day April 22nd 1993 the news report came through about a young black male the same age as me being murdered because of the colour of his skin Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a group of bigots the only thought that crossed my mind is that could have been me? This was only a year or two after the Rodney King Trial in which 4 policemen in Los Angeles were filmed beating the living daylights out of a man which led to the riots so the mood amongst young black males in the United Kingdom was that the Police everywhere dont care or give two hoots about another black person murdered after all we are only N slur to them and the people they are protecting and serving.
I’m on the internet minding my own business to be interrupted by a picture of a beautiful black female baby and her picture is tainted with the words
THEY’RE CUTE UNTIL THEY BECOME CRIMINALS
Now my first comment to this picture is STOP using that word *seriously
I am then told by my fellow black people from the united snakes of Amerikkka that ‘nigga’ is a beautiful word! It shows resiliency and acceptance they say they themselves took a word so totally negative (resilient to negative) and turned it into a positive.
Apparently “HOMIE….YOU MY NIGGA” that is the most beautiful thing you can hear from a Nigga and the word nigga is no longer a black acceptance thing. anyone, anytime anywhere in the appropriate context can fit or use the word ‘nigga’ all day not nigger…there is apparently a big difference! Anyone who is labelled a “nigga” epitomizes cool!!
I then get told by another black American that Nigga and Niggas the word and the people are here to stay….as long as there are people on earth that speak American English language the word nigga will be here. ”Nigger may be abolished to some degree but not Nigga or any variation of Nigga …ie Nigglets, Nigga-Rigged, Nigga-Nappy, Nigga Rich, etc….Niggas proud to be Niggas, White People secretly want to be called a “A Cool Ass Nigga”..
My shock and devastation at the above comments got me thinking and I replied back
Ok! While my fellow black brothers and sisters across the atlantic wallow around and indulge in the romantic ideation of the word ‘nigga’ ‘nigger’ ‘niggles’ ‘nigglets’ ‘nig nog’ just remember it is and will always be a slur a term made up by bigots to describe the cheap African/Asian Help he was getting to support his industrial revolution all those centuries ago.
I will not accept a slur to describe my children myself or anyone else who is black for that matter wake up mother fcukers smell the coffee beans you have a mixed race President with a black woman as a wife do not become complacent and embrace and accept ignorance at no time.
SAY IT LOUD IM BLACK AND IM PROUD.