Thursday, August 19, 2010



The NWA song about the subject of the 'N-word' and why black people identify with the term, used to say it all for me. It really does explain a lot of the feelings that many of the 'desperate youth' of the African-American community felt. Yet even then as it does now, it set uneasy of an acquiescence to the white superiority complex that controls America if not the world.

While I am not an etemologist, I do not believe that you can take away the true meaning of a word by 'claiming it' as many in the African-American community feel can be done. To me it is like expecting to rename handguns and have them kill fewer people. The term and the purpose is one in the same and you can no more seperate them from each other than you can stop the sun from rising in the sky each morning.

It simply cannot be done.

Understanding oppression and how projection works on a subjugated people would prolly help blacks understand why there can be no reclamation project with that word. To be sure, other people have their own self-debasement, but I like to think that it is mainly kept 'in-family' and it is certainly not display with pride or for marketing reasons.

I was in Vegas in the late 90's, working for a promoter for a big fight between two Mexican nationals. It was a BIG to do, and the cats were among the bitterest of rivals. One of the things that they had to '2-Minute Hate' on each other was their backgrounds.

One cat is from Mexico City proper, of educated parents and has a degree himself. The other cat was from the rural areas that surround the capital of Mexico. It was during one of the press conferences that I learned that city cats in Mexico called the rural country cats, 'stupid Indians'. Talk about making a brother HOT!!

Like whatever names the Jews use among themselves with the duality of the 'N-word', or the Catholics, the Irish, the Hispanics, or take your freakin' pick, they do NOT run around outside and PROUDLY use that term for sale. It is like a jedi mind control trick, getting African-Americans to think that they can take away the sole purpose of an ideals existince, and magically change it to mean something totally different, as if they were the Lucky Charms guy and was conjuring something to get away with his Lucky Charms in. It is never going to happen. People, particularly people of color who believe that they are 'taking back' that world, are again setting themselves up for more mental manipulation and victimization.

In fact, even when the song was new, the inclusion of a sample of Don King explaining how no matter how much you do, whether you went to college or not, you are still a ni**er, is an example of why I will never be able to wrap my mind around the idea of 'rehabilitating' that word.

Don King has been verified as an exploiter of his own ethnic group with the sole purpose being to fatten his own coffers. I have already discussed how I thought that he manipulated AA's to drum up support of his misleading a young and vulnerable Mike Tyson. He had already been found guilty of RIGGING BOXING MATCHES and cheating fighters out of their money. Since the majority of these fighters were African-American, why should ANYONE want to align themselves with someone who claims his ethnic group out of conveniece?

Now, I have further truck with the issue of inter-ethnic racisim in the African-American community, but that is maybe for another time. But to all the brothers and sisters who feel that they are 'reclaiming' and taking the power away from that word, you are simply fooling yourselves and I think it is an admission of defeat, that we are not going to be able to overcome its stigma. Just do what you want with the word...


Not that my Facebook status updates ofthen have any relevance to how I am doing, not too long ago I did put up several that did actually reflect my mood. A couple of folks caught them and made their concern known and for that I was very appreciative. But it was the abscence of several people who should have had an decided interest who did not ask about or wondered if there was something to the sad, cryptic words that I posted.

Heather over at Soft Skies, posted a list of 'one sentence revalations' that made me take a deep breath and give a long, wearied sigh. She should still be in the 'honeymoon phase' (as opposed to the Campfire Headphase!!) of her marriage and I thought that they were good enough to use as a guide for my own evaluative purposes.

"I need you to understand me." - Perhaps I have not made it clear that I burden myself with the guilt of my own fails in relationships and in my own personal achievements. That is a lot of weight and I will never ask anyone to help me carry it. BUT, I will not let someone add to it.

Yet, I will try to understand why you would find it difficult at first to understand me. There are few cats who walk around and can wear the label of being eclectic without being self-serving. This is where things get tricky and why I have such pronoun trouble. Because if I am going to ask this of you, then I had better be doing the same for you.

"I need you to stop being an a**hole." - I make no bones about it... I am an a-hole, but I think that it is more because of the aforementioned ecleticism that I come across that way, initially. INITIALLY. I am not deliberate in being a jerk deliberately, and certainly not to attract any attention to myself. But being an a**hole goes deeper than that. It could also read as "I need you to stop being selfish."

Sometime I have felt that there is a unconscious 'tit for tat' that goes on in a relationship... maybe it is in the failed ones because the memory that I have is dervived from not only a fail, but a 'abortive' relationship. Whatever the reason, know that you can be an insensitive a**hole as well. "I did not know," couple with a sincere "sorry", goes a long way to healing. No, your long winded justification does NOT speed the process but further aggravates the injury. There is NO OTHER WAY for you to come across outside of being a wormy butthead, trying to rationalize why they are an a**.

"I need you to keep holding my hand." - Because if I did not, I would not need you, PERIOD. If you have a problem with it, share it with a friend, a dog, but you freakin' better not with me. Because if you do, then you WILL NOT have to worry about me reaching out for you for anything.

Look, I have diminished, out of the respect for those who have endured more than me, the impact of being my feeling that I was out there on my own after realizing those who said they loved me were behind me... but not exactly. If that is the way that it is, fine. No worries about understanding where I am coming from or for your hurting my feelings, a**hole.

"I need you to know that you have hurt me." - Helps a lot in the way of reconciling misunderstandings. It also means that you realize that you are not the only one with feelings that matter in the relationship. I know that with me, if you were to ask 'Why' I said something that may have hurt you, it provides the opportunity for growth. If your ego and your base emotional needs are such that it demands retribution, well... I am not going to be bothered with asking myself to understand that. (one of these days, after I get organizized, I will post about 'pondering life's complexities' and why I would like to avoid that almost always fruitless activity)

"I need you to realize that this is it." - Many a moon ago, there was an outfit call Muhammad Ali Professional Sports. The cat who was running the thing, Harold Smith, was spending money right and left, on track stars, fight promotions, and branching out to representing atheletes in other sports as well. He had a big fight promotion and the name of the card was 'This Is It', which really fit at the time, with all the big names that were not only fighting, but fighting each other. A fight fan's dream come true.

Unfortunately, Harold was spending embezzled money and for him, that WAS it. But the idea has always stayed in my head that for a dream promotion, that there was never going to be anything like it again and that there was never anything that preceeded it of the same magnitude. This WAS it!!

Not getting too far away from things, there never was a 'This Is It' fight card and I have not seen that collection of big fights even proposed happening on one night since. Sadly, the finality of 'This Is It' rang true in that respect.

When I was getting ready to go to Nebraska, there were a couple of things that opened up the 'worry faucet' and they eventually brought me back to Detroit. As neat as the place feels to me, I still want to live in Omaha. With or without having a relationship with anyone.

Right now, somehow, Nebraska and I have managed to run afoul of each other. I do feel things are being blown out of proportion. What I am sure of, is that I am not doing any of the blowing.

I am not of the mind to smooth some of the edges that have snagged... after all, I am of the profound belief that I do that as S.O.P and for it to be forced upon me by something with which could have been tamped at the beginning... a little understanding, and some consideration for another person maybe being them and not trying to be whatever it is you think...


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sorry things are not smooth on the Nebraska front, but sounds like you are getting some resolve on Omaha.

Indigo said...

Perhaps things are as they should be at this moment. Oh yeah, I know the thinking,"This can't be it or right...". Been there, done that. But things have a way of working themselves out for those who give in to the living part of life.

As for the woman issue, step back breathe, let it be for awhile.

Getting in your head space is good, but even "I" need the occasional break from mine from time to time. I'm not always here or in the blogsphere for that matter, however I am an email away. You know in case you ever take issue with anything I say (winks). (Hugs)Indigo

Anonymous said...

Early in his career Richard Pryor had the theory that if he used the n-word constantly that it would take the sting out of it. Later he abandoned that idea and never said it again.

It's kind of what the gay community has tried to do with the words "fag" and "queer," with mixed results.

CareyCarey said...

Wow man, so much ground to cover (again).

I like how you opened with "While I am not an etemologist, I do not believe that you can take away the true meaning of a word by 'claiming it' as many in the African-American community feel can be done"

Well Mark, the word "etymology" is derived from a greek word meaning "true meaning". So, I have to disagree with your assessment of the N-word.

First, who defined the "true meaning" of the N-word? It was giving to blacks that arrived on slave ships. But what's the evolution of the word? I mean, negroid? Negro? What?

I don't know who's trying to "claim" the name, but you have to agree that the definition of a word takes on many meaning over time.

To say that a word has only one meaning, is to deny the basic fabric of the English language. More importantly, words have different meaning for different cultures (as you illustrated).

Take for instance the word MF'er. It's a cuss word, and I doubt it's meaning is the same for everyone. A mother, and a F'er?

Anyway, I am going to get off that word because that debate is a never ending journey. See, the fact is many blacks do use the word in a prideful manner and as a marketing tool. So, you may be missing the point when you say they can't "change" the word. They are doing it! You may not feel as if it's appropriate, and that's where this discussion began.

Now, the boxing game. I love it. But why does everybody use Don King as the poster child for what's wrong in boxing? Look, before Don King, who by the way, promoted the biggest purse for each fighter before he came along, was the best thing that ever happened for many fighter. Before him, the fighters were getting brutally raped by white promoters. Yep, without Don King, the fight game would just be another slave plantation.

"Since the majority of these fighters were African-American, why should ANYONE want to align themselves with someone who claims his ethnic group out of conveniece?"

Mark, my above paragraph speaks to that question. And, are you using the guilt by association ploy? I think you are. You set-up Don KING AS A BAD GUY. Then, you implied that anyone that agrees with anything he says must be some type of idiot. Come on Mark! Low blow!

Hey, I think I remember Harold. I believe he was with Well Fargo?

On the relationship part of your post... well, I'll just say... live a little bit. That's what my mother always told me when she thought my opinions would change (on a subject)after I lived a little longer.

LceeL said...

When we were kids, we were taught, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Because, as kids, there were bullies and there were other kids who didn't like us, or who we didn't like, and name calling was one way of dealing with people not liked. So when we came home crying because some big kid called us sissies, or brats or skunks, our parents taught us (or tried to) to ignore the names - that they didn't mean anything unless we let them.

The 'N' Word? Is just a word. Just a word - an assemblage of letters. Of itself, it has no power, no sway, no influence. It only acquires meaning and power in the minds of those who might use it - or upon whom it is used. Sticks and stones, man. Sticks and stones.

CareyCarey said...

"The 'N' Word? Is just a word. Just a word - an assemblage of letters. Of itself, it has no power, no sway, no influence. It only acquires meaning and power in the minds of those who might use it - or upon whom it is used. Sticks and stones, man. Sticks and stone"

For the most part, I think I am agreeing with LceeL. The power (of the word) will always be in the mind of the individual that hears it, uses it, and/or defines it. Granted, for many, it's a very destructive word. But again, that's in the eyes of the beholder.

Beth said...

I appreciate your thoughts on racial epithets. Maybe some African-Americans feel comfortable using it, but I tend to agree with you...why not just leave that ugly word behind once and for all?

Anonymous said...

This is kind of an aside, but: I always wondered how the n-word became the Supreme Insult.

I think the only reason it even exists is because Southerners have such a hard time pronouncing the word "Negro." Even when they have the kindest of intentions, it comes out all bungled.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

no matter *what* word is said, it is how it is said and how it is taken that give it meaning and context.

i'd like to think we are giving kids a broader brush from which to paint each other with insults with, but the n bomb inevitably gets dropped anyways....and in this day and age words lead to fists lead to guns lead to children killing each other.


Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

I would be proud to be called an Indian (stupid or not). Native Americans and/or Native Mexicans are much nobler than any person from the city or from an "educated" background who casts aspersions on their race.

DB said...

Mark, it's confusing for a white guy when he hears black kids use the word almost constantly and not always about other blacks but about anyone who seems to project a certain sort of personal behavior. I have sat on the subway and heard conversations in which the word was the beggining of every statement.