How Dare You Call Me Racist, N*gger
There aren’t many words in the English language that can incite as much pain and hate as the word “nigger. Almost every racial and ethnic group has a disparaging and offensive slur associated with them, but nigger is easily the most notorious. The majority of White people in the United States called Black people niggers when slavery was cool. It was just the thing to do, build a nation on the backs of beautifully dark people and lump them into one category of niggers. Some Europeans were using the term without deliberate insult, they used the n-word to refer to all Africans. Kind of like how people still compare Africa to other countries as if all of the countries in Africa are the same, it’s identity-stripping behavior. When slavery was abolished, racist white folk started using the term solely as a tool of division and oppression. Then Black people took the word and told White people they couldn’t use it anymore.
But the post-racial society slaps us with a hand-full of irony. The most offensive thing you can call a white person these days is a racist. Calling a white person racist elicits a reaction liken to that of an ugly fat person getting called “an ugly fat person” to their face. Its not quite at nigger-level, but it’s pretty damn offensive.
When I was moving from my old house, the landlord, Jennifer, talked to me about the new resident of the property. The landlord was White and the tenant was a young Black woman with a mom who made a lot of demands. She demanded yard service, new paint, a new stove and a new sink, even though her daughter had signed the lease weeks prior and thought everything was great. Jennifer pretty much made it sound like this woman had gene markers from of Mo’Nique, Angela Bassett and Mama Jones because she apparently made these demands with copious amounts of sass. Jennifer went on to say that the tenant’s mom called her, “a racist bigot trying to squeeze these niggers out of their money”. As she explained that she almost started to cry and that her husband is Black, tears began to roll down her cheek. I’m not that close to my landlord, so I was admittedly uncomfortable. But I still tried to comfort her by saying, “that’s terrible” and patting her on the shoulder. I felt bad, but not that bad. I mean, mom got called a nigger bitch at a tennis club and didn’t shed a tear. Just saying.
My landlord, as emotional as she may have been, had seemingly solid grounds for her reaction. It makes sense to take offense to people calling you something that you are not. However, if the shoe fits, shut up and take the criticism.
Decades ago, white people in the United States could defend ignorant behavior by calling it the norm, god’s will, or the will of the state. Now, however, being openly racist is looked down upon. You usually can’t put KKK down on your resume. Since being overtly racist is no longer socially acceptable, racist behavior is defended with projection. For example, my white friend locked the door when we were sitting in the car waiting for a Chinese food order and some Black guys walked by. I told him that that was some racist shit, to which he replied,
“You’re racist for thinking that bro”.
People had been walking passed our car for ten minutes. I called his bluff and told him that his strategy wasn’t original. Ever since racism became uncool, White America has been scrambling, trying to find ways to dissociate from bigotry. The most popular strategy for the especially ignorant has been to accuse the group that would most likely take offense. When George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, 24-hour news channels were immensely fixated on Zimmerman’s race. They wanted us to know that Zimmerman was part Hispanic so bad that people who were defending him talked about his heritage more than his character. They hardly cared if this was the type of guy that would chase a teenager down the street and kill him for no rational reason, we just needed to know that he wasn’t racist. Then some of Zimmerman’s supporters tried to suggest that Black people were trying to capitalize on tragedies to promote their agenda. Republican politicians then said that Obama was being divisive when he said that his son would look like Trayvon.
When I was at the club a few weeks ago, the crew and I had found the perfect section to chill and go hammer at will. It was a mixed crowd, so there were some white people dancing near us. Everything has cool until Down 4 My Niggaz came on. My crew continued to bob there heads and drink their drinks. The white people proceeding to get krunk and yell “FUCK THEM OTHER NIGGAS ‘CAUSE I’M DOWN FOR MY NIGGAS!” at the top of their lungs. We didn’t react at first, we’ve lived in Post-Racial America for a while now. Our tolerance began to dwindle as the white girls relentlessly bumped into my crew despite several requests for them to “chill”. One of my homegirls mushed one of the racial slurring white girls in the face. As the men of the respective crews jumped between them, my homegirl called the white chic a racist. The white girl wasn’t even trying to get into it at first, until she was accused of being racist. Then she turned around and yelled “I am NOT a racist! You’re a racist!” and started towards us with red in her eyes.
I contemplated letting the brawl go down, but we continued to form a blockade around the section like a drunken game of red rover until the leader of the white crew was like, “we gotta go”.
White people hate being called racist. This is the time of a Black president, hip-hop influence and Scandal with Kerry Washington, surely racism is a thing of the past. Just like the Caucasian imperialism that exploited damn near every region of darker hue on this planet is a thing of the past, right? Many white people think that the word “racism” only applies to overtly violent or oppressive acts. So if they’re not calling Black people racial slurs, lynching Black men or barring Black citizens from patronizing public establishments, they’re not racist. From the public education system, to the justice system, from our microsystems to our exosystems, there is racism everywhere. I understand why white people don’t want to be affiliated with such negative images and connotations. It’s similar to how Black people hate being stereotyped. That’s why we don’t like trolls, members of our community who seem hellbent on reinforcing stereotypes about our race. If you claim to be tolerant or impartial to race, then recognize racist behavior when you see it. Everyone holds prejudices of some kind, and we should all be trying to reduce them. That kind of personal development requires honesty with yourself. Trying to ignore racism, or project it onto others in your denial, is the most dishonest and hindering thing you can do to your personal development. Increase your introspective moments and adjust your behavior, I’m tired seeing the pot call the kettle nigger.
My apologies to the NAACP. 1love.