I don’t know if anyone will read this, or even care about what I have to say. However, if I don’t get these thoughts down, they’re going to eat away at me.
After the Zouis video of yesterday, a lot of the debate surrounded the actual weed use, and why a video like this would come out. About 5% of the conversation that I saw addressed the point that Louis possibly said “nig” which, for the uninformed, would be short for the derogatory N-word. To my ears, it sounded like “nig” and not Nick like some suggested. Louis is the only one who can 100% say what he said, and how he meant it.
As this debate carried on, my twitter mentions escalated into a very alarming and heated debate over the use of the N-word. Above, I’ve pulled some tweets from a person who was expressing their opinion (I’ve redacted the name and userpic because I am not here to call that person out). She states, “saying ‘here n*g isn’t a slur IMO.”
She went on to say that there are words used against white people that are slurs, and that basically myself, and the other person involved in this conversation (who is also black) were making too big of a deal of this because there is no way Louis meant it maliciously, or is a racist.
(It should be noted that I never once said or suggested he was racist, or used the term maliciously. What I did say is that he used a racial slur, which the N-word is. Regardless of how it is used, the N-word is rooted during a time of slavery and segregation, where black people were not equal, and it was used to demean them, and treat them as inhuman.)
My point of showing anyone who may read this post is really not about 1D. Or what Louis may or may not have done. My point is that we live in a world where people have taken the N-Word and forgotten what it means. Personally, I don’t condone the use of the word from anyone. I know as black people, we have tried to reclaim the word by using it in raps, in conversation etc., but is that really working? Or is it allowing a generation of people to forget why this word exists in the first place?
I may identify as straight, but I do know that using the f-word against someone who is gay is a slur. You don’t need to be a part of a minority community to know what words are by their very definition slurs.
As a black woman, I am going to take great offense to someone using the n-word, whether they’re joking or not. It’s going to give me goosebumps, and prickle the hair on my arms. What someone who is not black does not get to say to me is I am overreacting over a racial slur. Just like I wouldn’t sit here and tell someone of another minority group the same. As a white person, the woman featured in the pictures above will never ever know what it’s like to be black. She will never hear someone call her a “nigger” or a “nigga” or a “nig”. She will never have to carry that burden with her. And that is the privilege of being white. I, on the other hand do. I have been called that word before, both in a racist and conversational context. I can also say this is not the first time I have had a conversation about this word, with someone who holds this opinion. And I also know, it will not be the last time it happens either.
Julian Curry gave an emotional and very frank spoken word poem on Def Poetry Jam which I suggest everyone watch (NSFW language) on why the N-word is a slur, no matter the context. (Video)
He says in part, “you see nigger’s been passed through our families, generation to generation like a cancer./ It used to be said by slave masters who weren’t in the business of breeding no dancing Niggers/ they only wanted good old field Niggers./ But I wonder how the field Nigger would feel/ if he was seated next to you on the A train at approximately 3 O’ clock any day of the week/ and he heard his little great great grandson speak dozens if not hundreds of times from 59th street to West forth/ The word that made black families pack up in the South and move North./ Would he slam a couple of these boys against the doors and ask, what’s the deal Nigger? Do you think you keeping it real Nigger?/ Do you know how I was killed Nigger? They murdered me, with hot rods of steel Nigger./ Now how do you think this makes me feel Nigger./ Or would he just sit there and listen/ silently like white people do /silently like I do/ silently like we all do…”
The one thing I hope this entire situation does for everyone is make you take a step back, and look at the words you use. What is the intent you have when you speak? Are you using language that is hurtful? Are you using language that you would be ashamed for a person to overhear you say?
My mom once told me when I was 11, “You have to work twice as long, and twice as hard, to get half of what they [white people] get.” I have worked my ass off to get to where I am in life right now, and all that twitter conversation showed me is that my hard work, still isn’t enough, because at the end of the day, I am still black. I am still a woman. And my struggle is ongoing.
"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." -Maya Angelou