BE A NIGGA TOO

What it means to be a NIGGER

A few weeks back as I sat and watched the red carpet section of the Grammy’s I saw my fellow Virgo grace the camera with his wife donning a t-shirt that said “NIGGER”. Wait a minute rewind that back, I saw Nasir Jones better known as “Nas” and a group of supporters of different ethnicities in “NIGGER” Fashion. This is clearly a sign that the times have changed, television has become so liberal, when I was a child they would have blurred out the image at minimum to say the least. Nas was interviewed about his “message”, there were no censors over the word and things went relatively normal. I mentioned earlier that Nas is a Virgo because they are the thinkers of the zodiac and very strategic in their movements, so maybe Nas is titling his album NIGGER and grappling after the publicity that it is causing so that we can have intelligent discourses like the one we are about to have.

Wait one second, before you lose interest in fear that I am about take you on a historical voyage enduring the plight of black people and the socialization of the term Nigger and how we need to accept it to empower ourselves, I promise you I will not. This is not the typical discussion of whether this is a term of endearment or mental slavery. But to understand what the concept of the term nigger we must first look to one of the great writers of the Harlem Renaissance, James Baldwin.

Baldwin says, “What white people have to do is try to find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place. Because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man! But if you think I’m a nigger it means you need it. If I’m not the nigger here and you, the white people invented him then you’ve got to find out why?”

Baldwin paints us such a vivid picture when he speaks about the system needing a nigger. You see the term nigger is about an institutionalized inferiority complex. The system, those proponents of white supremacy need a nigger to belittle, they need a nigger to make themselves feel better than another group of people because they lack self-esteem. The nigger is needed in order to perpetuate systems of control, a hierarchy within this great land from sea to shining sea. Unfortunately today the term nigger has become synonymous with black people. However this is not the case, this is not the fate of black people; this has been the position of various ethnic groups in America. I will chronicle the stories of three niggers who have been bastardized by a system of oppression and blatant racism in this country without ever painting the picture of a black face!

If you are of Middle Eastern decent, or even look like you could possibly be of the Islamic faith after 9/11, I regret to inform you but the United States has declared you a NIGGER! Your rights were stripped from you; you became the victims of police brutality, random search and seizures, and you are always pulled aside at the airport for more questioning. Why is this; because you fit the “description”, you look suspicious? But none of this is true; it is merely the pigment of your skin and the religious affiliation that you are suspected of practicing which garners you such attention. You watch your faith and belief system ridiculed daily on television, you have become the butt of all jokes. You’re fearful when your children go to school because other children will torment them; forgive them for they know not what they do. You came to this country with hopes of reaching the American dream however you are now living the American Nightmare! The ultimate insult is no longer to be black but it is to be Muslim. Your beautiful, peaceful culture has been tainted by slander; you are now judged by the few who make it tough for the many. Welcome!

Tune in tomorrow to see who else is a NIGGER!

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6 Responses to “BE A NIGGA TOO”

  1. Osay Says:

    I’m commenting on the song & not your piece Ced……. (for now)

    While I don’t doubt Nas’ intentions or purpose for this song….. yea he went too far. Honestly, at this point I don’t even care to voice my opinion about the infamous “N-word”, because I don’t think it matters. Everyone has their own definition and opinion of the word and that’s why we have all the debate surrounding it. I will say this though….

    “He’s gonna get it HARD for this one. I just hope he’s ready with his deep, emotional responses & he’s leaning on the cross when the single drops or gets widespread attention on YouTube. He’s going to need God, his wife, and his momma to get through this one. LOL…and just wait till Jesse n’em hear this… I see heart attacks and protests in the near future….”

    Now at the first few listens (I had to get over the shock of listening to it the first time), I see where he’s going and I can respect & appreciate it. I think he went too far for this reason: While we have discerning opinions on the definition and use of the “N-word” in our community, this is not the same situation in other communities. Other ethnic groups find their “American nicknames” to be highly offensive and he’s just throwing them around. So I think he’s going to get a lot of backlash for that.

    Overall, what can you say/do? We all knew this was coming….

    ~Osay

  2. 27thfloor Says:

    Yea, this is a deep topic and I agree with Osay. I anticipate a backlash against Nas for this. But what does he care… this is publicity for him.

  3. Crazy cousin Says:

    Interesting post Ced, I have not heard the song, nor have I seen the grammy’s but I have always had the utmost respect for Nas for having “something” to say. He hardly ever spits lyrics just because, instead he has a message, a lesson , a voice. He is one of the few rappers that uses the media to his advantage . I would hate to doubt his intentions now but in a society where rappers are not making money when they make conscious songs, I can understand doing something outrageous to get folks attention. But before I share any more of my opinions, I need to see exactly what is going on here.. Im off to youtube to see the grammy’s and hopefull the shirt and the song will be there too.. Thanks again for invoking thought!

  4. "Stacks" Says:

    You know we talked about Nas not being as deep or intellectual as we gave him credit for. I think your doing a much better job at articulating reasons he could have had for calling this album “nigger” but at the very least Nas definitely has me thinking about my using of the word and analyzing the repercussions of the word. his first single also did a better job of explaining his stance for me. I’m still a fan in the fence I guess i will have to wait til the album comes out

  5. Mizart Says:

    I think Nas knows exactly what he is doing. When he came out with “Hip-Hop is Dead” every rapper, fan, etc.. was offended by that notion. The effect was not only Nas catching a huge amount of heat but it also caused a spike in raps/songs by other artist/rappers old and new defending their positions why it wasn’t. Nas may have sold many more records because of the title, but he also caused others to fight/defend vocally our “Hip-Hop” culture.

    Now you have Nas with album title “N.GG.R”. and everyone is having a fit! The song “Be a nggr too” does not have the substance that everyone would expect Nas to have in a track about the “N” word, do you really think he is not capable of having a better position on the word? He is presenting a product in the manner that he believes a “nggr” would do it in. Since everyone expects the opposite of him, he is causing all the listeners to disagree or agree, but most importantly react to his song!

    How many times have you heard someone on tv or in the street use the “N” word? How many have used it to show love, or hate? Yeah, some of you may have never been down with it, but I’m pretty sure a lot of you never did anything to change that, now, Nas is doing to something to get all of us to think about the “N” word and the majority of you think he is total fool? You’ve missed the point!

  6. nativenotes Says:

    Mizart,

    Hmm I’m on the fence like Stacks. I don’t think Nas is a publicity whore like other outlets are claiming him to be. However I have listened to all of his interviews on this topic and I think often we give Nas more credit than he may deserve. So I will wait to see how this pans out; If done in the right way it could be very clever. I am not one for making outrageous comments just to spark conversation. I prefer purpose driven comments, I have faith that Nas will come through with something potent.

    However Nas worries me sometimes, he has been put on the pedestal as the conscious rapper which sometimes he accepts and sometimes he rejects. I just find that some of his statements can lack forward thinking and progressive thought.

    Take for instance the time Bill O’ Reilly came at nas for being a performer for the Virginia Tech Concert because Nas has violent lyrics in some of his songs. Bill O’Reilly is a dick but it was a valid criticism which could have been met with an articulate response.

    Instead Nas starts talking about eating his kids and all types of nonsense, I was disappointed in the random statements he made because I know that he is intelligent and at that point he could have used that platform to showcase members of Hip-Hop as intelligent, articulate human beings. something Bill O’Reilly continuously tries to say that we are not.

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