PDA

View Full Version : Black people: What would you do if someone called you a nigger?


Omega Glory
11-28-2006, 08:59 AM
Yea, another race thread. There have been a few comments about how some might be reacting too strongly to the slur, so I'd like to know what you personally think you would do/have done.

If someone, who was similar to you* called you a nigger, during a heated, but not physical argument, what would you do? What would you be thinking/feeling (would you automatically be hurt/fearful/enraged etc.) Do you have any personal experiences that might color your response? Could you ever forgive the person? How old are you?

*Similar in sex, build, and in a one on one situation (no friends who'll be taking sides), no weapons involved. So we're not talking a small female being screamed at by a couple of large guys in a dark alley. That would be scary no matter what words were used.

auntie em
11-28-2006, 10:55 AM
If it's someone I know and have loved or been friends with for years, I'd be shocked and hurt and the relationship would pretty much be over.

If it's a stranger, or someone whom I know as a mere acquaintance, I'd pity the poor SOB for lacking a more clever and articulate means to express him/herself.

If it were to happen to me, though, I'm guessing it would be the former situation, because most people who don't know me can't tell WHAT the heck race/nationality I am. Of course, I suppose a stranger could still call me a nigger even if he thought I was Hispanic (which a lot of people do), but then I'd have to ALSO pity him for not even using the correct racial epithet.

Chefguy
11-28-2006, 10:57 AM
If it's someone I know and have loved or been friends with for years, I'd be shocked and hurt and the relationship would pretty much be over.

If it's a stranger, or someone whom I know as a mere acquaintance, I'd pity the poor SOB for lacking a more clever and articulate means to express him/herself.

If it were to happen to me, though, I'm guessing it would be the former situation, because most people who don't know me can't tell WHAT the heck race/nationality I am. Of course, I suppose a stranger could still call me a nigger even if he thought I was Hispanic (which a lot of people do), but then I'd have to ALSO pity him for not even using the correct racial epithet.

So you'd "pity the fool"? Sorry, couldn't help myself.

auntie em
11-28-2006, 11:02 AM
So you'd "pity the fool"? Sorry, couldn't help myself.
HEE! I actually tried to think of a different way to word that, because that's EXACTLY what I thought as I was writing it. But I'm actually supposed to be working right now, so I let it go.

What I cannot let go, however, is my resentment at being compared to a large Black man with a mohawk and too much jewelry. You saying we all look alike? ;)

Odesio
11-28-2006, 11:12 AM
Of course, I suppose a stranger could still call me a nigger even if he thought I was Hispanic (which a lot of people do), but then I'd have to ALSO pity him for not even using the correct racial epithet.

Hispanics are simply people who grew up speaking a particular language. There are plenty of black hispanics.

Marc

you with the face
11-28-2006, 11:31 AM
Regardless of who it was, I think I'd be shocked speechless for a few seconds. I can't imagine saying or doing anything to anyone that would be sufficient to make them go there, and so I wouldn't be expecting them to come at me like that. But it wouldn't take long for my senses to come back to me.

If it were a friend or a acquaintance that I respected, I would probably cry. It would be like them taking off a mask and revealing a big monster face. Scary more than anything else. I don't think the relationship would be the same even if they slathered me with apologies afterwards, because the memory of them saying that would always be in the back of my mind.

If it were a stranger, it depends on the setting and my mood. I may stare at them like they have horns growing out of their heads. I may even laugh at their audacity and unoriginality. I don't think I'd curse them out because my impromptu skills in that department are too weak to do an adequate job of it. But I don't think it would hurt me unless I felt like the person was holding something substantial over my head or I was surrounded by people who sided with the name-caller.

Because of the circles I travel and other factors, the chances of me hearing someone else refer to blacks as nigger or some other derogatory term are probably greater than having slurs directed to me. I know monstro has encountered some of that, as did my father. It can be pretty shocking to hear stuff like that, and I can imagine being hurt by finding myself an insider to that type of talk.

Kalhoun
11-28-2006, 11:34 AM
Hispanics are simply people who grew up speaking a particular language. There are plenty of black hispanics.

Marc
I thought hispanic speaks specifically of island-dwelling Latinos.

Monstera deliciosa
11-28-2006, 11:52 AM
Female, age: 46.

I've never been called "nigger" that so these are all hypothetical.

If we were in my home my response would be "What the fuck did you call me? Get out of my house!" And I would make them leave.

If it was someone else's residence, same "WTF...", but I would leave. Social outing, again my exit.

On the job: a profanity-less announcement that the conversation was over, followed by my leaving the immediate vicinity of the person, followed by documentation of the incident for HR purposes.

A total stranger: Well, I don't generally get into arguments with total strangers, but any conversation would be over. If it was someone on the street, I'd regard them as "dangerous" and get away from them as soon as possible. If it was any kind of situation where I am a customer, I'd ask to speak to management.

For all situations, after the adrenaline rush is over, there would probably a lot of a shaking and at least a few tears. I've never been called "nigger" but that is my usual response to a deep insult, which is what I consider the word to be. I would be both angry and hurt.

I am a very emotional person. I can be sensitive, and I occasionally over-react to minor slights, but I usually get over those very quickly and try to smooth things over. "Nigger" is not minor to me. Any friendship with this person would be over. Any other type of relationship that must continue, (say a coworker) would be as distant as professionalism would allow.

auntie em
11-28-2006, 12:06 PM
Hispanics are simply people who grew up speaking a particular language. There are plenty of black hispanics.

Marc
Good point, and I should have stated it more accurately. At any rate, some people assume I have a cultural heritage different than the one I actually have, so if a stranger wanted to use a racial epithet in an argument with me, the "N" word might not be the one that comes out.

But I'd still pity the fool.

Sarahfeena
11-28-2006, 12:24 PM
I thought hispanic speaks specifically of island-dwelling Latinos. I THINK (and I'm no expert), that it refers to anyone outside of Spain who has a Spanish last name, and natively speak Spanish (or whose families do), no matter what their race. "Latino" or "Latin American" would probably encompass people who are of Portugese background as well, such as people who are from Brazil.

My husband prefers the term Hispanic to the term Latino, which proves nothing, since his background IS Carribbean Islander, but I think he would use the two terms pretty much interchangably.

Sarahfeena
11-28-2006, 12:28 PM
Incidentally, he did not grow up speaking Spanish in the home, but does consider himself Hispanic (as does the US Census, for that matter), so I don't think that language alone determines it.

Ephemera
11-28-2006, 03:46 PM
I THINK (and I'm no expert), that it refers to anyone outside of Spain who has a Spanish last name, and natively speak Spanish (or whose families do), no matter what their race. "Latino" or "Latin American" would probably encompass people who are of Portugese background as well, such as people who are from Brazil.

Hispanic refers to people from Spain and the countries where its culture (and language) has heavy influence, similar to how the anglo- prefix denotes an English origin. The Portuguese equivalent is "luso-".

Sarahfeena
11-28-2006, 03:48 PM
Hispanic refers to people from Spain and the countries where its culture (and language) has heavy influence, similar to how the anglo- prefix denotes an English origin. The Portuguese equivalent is "luso-". Right...I figured that "Hispanic" doesn't mean Portugese, but my question is, can "Latino" refer to both/either?

Ephemera
11-28-2006, 05:05 PM
Right...I figured that "Hispanic" doesn't mean Portugese, but my question is, can "Latino" refer to both/either?

Oops. I somehow completely missed the first half of that sentence and thought you were saying that Brazillians could be classified as Hispanic. Sorry.

And looking at the wikipedia page on Latinos, it looks like Brazillians can be classified as such but generally are not, nor are Francophone South Americans or the Caribbean countries where English or French has more parity or predominance.

Plan B
11-28-2006, 08:28 PM
What about a white person who feels as comfortable saying "nigger" as any inner city African-American 16 year old? I once had a friend who spent a lot of time with African-Americans. He was a Division I basketball player and his wife and in-laws were African-American. He claimed that he could use the word at the right moment and his tone of voice made it OK. Claimed he never had any problems at all.

GingerOfTheNorth
11-28-2006, 09:38 PM
What I cannot let go, however, is my resentment at being compared to a large Black man with a mohawk and too much jewelry. You saying we all look alike? ;)
Mr. T doesn't wear pink cashmere sweatpants.

Moirai
11-28-2006, 09:42 PM
My manicurist in Boulder was once accosted by a carload of guys who screamed "fucking nigger" at her.

She was stunned. She's not black. She's Jewish. WTF?!?

Racist and bloody stupid.

Chefguy
11-28-2006, 09:44 PM
HEE! I actually tried to think of a different way to word that, because that's EXACTLY what I thought as I was writing it. But I'm actually supposed to be working right now, so I let it go.

What I cannot let go, however, is my resentment at being compared to a large Black man with a mohawk and too much jewelry. You saying we all look alike? ;)

Why...yes...yes I am....don't we?

Monstera deliciosa
11-28-2006, 10:51 PM
What about a white person who feels as comfortable saying "nigger" as any inner city African-American 16 year old? I once had a friend who spent a lot of time with African-Americans. He was a Division I basketball player and his wife and in-laws were African-American. He claimed that he could use the word at the right moment and his tone of voice made it OK. Claimed he never had any problems at all.

The question in the OP stipulated the use of the word during a "heated argument."

As for casual use, from people like your friend, I would merely tell him that the word makes me uncomfortable, and I'd appreciate if he wouldn't use it around me. I'd say the same to the "inner city African-American 16 year old."

Cardinal
11-29-2006, 02:19 AM
I was once called that by a black teenager (I'm about plaaaiinn white) in the heat of an argument about whether he would return to class. He flat out denied that he said it, but he did. I'm convinced he said it so much he didn't remember saying it.

The point is, even I was offended. For a real black person, I'd think they'd just about go ballistic. The unmitigated gall...

Omega Glory
11-29-2006, 09:14 AM
Thanks for the replies.

Female, age: 46.

I've never been called "nigger" that so these are all hypothetical.



Wow. Never? I'm kind of surprised by this. I would have assumed that just about every black American over a certain age has had someone call them this at least once.

Because of the circles I travel and other factors, the chances of me hearing someone else refer to blacks as nigger or some other derogatory term are probably greater than having slurs directed to me. I know monstro has encountered some of that, as did my father. It can be pretty shocking to hear stuff like that, and I can imagine being hurt by finding myself an insider to that type of talk.

That would definitely be incredibly akward. Perhaps monstro will come by and share how she handled it.

Omega Glory
11-29-2006, 09:22 AM
Sorry for the double post.

What about a white person who feels as comfortable saying "nigger" as any inner city African-American 16 year old? I once had a friend who spent a lot of time with African-Americans. He was a Division I basketball player and his wife and in-laws were African-American. He claimed that he could use the word at the right moment and his tone of voice made it OK. Claimed he never had any problems at all.

Yes, this is a different situation entirely. Like KayElCee, I would ask him to stop, no matter what color he was. I have seen white people who feel comfortable calling their black friends "nigga," and their friends also use the same term for them (I haven't seen people over about 25 doing this). I haven't gotten on the nigga=dude bandwagon though.

MrDibble
11-29-2006, 12:26 PM
I'd be all "What? You think you're American? Say Kaffir like a good South African shit-for-brains racist"
Then I'd leave their company in case the stupid was contagious.

Monstera deliciosa
11-29-2006, 12:36 PM
Thanks for the replies.



Female, age: 46.

I've never been called "nigger" that so these are all hypothetical.




Wow. Never? I'm kind of surprised by this. I would have assumed that just about every black American over a certain age has had someone call them this at least once.


Yeah, it is kind of surprising to me, too. But then, I was very sheltered as a child and teen, and I've run in rather PC circles as an adult. I don't doubt that I've been called everything in the book behind my back, but I've rarely been subject to an insult (of any kind, not just the "n" word) to my face.

The day that a strange man called me an "ugly bitch" on the PATH trains (commuter subway between NJ and NYC) I practically had to lie down with a cold cloth on my forehead.

auntie em
11-29-2006, 07:17 PM
Mr. T doesn't wear pink cashmere sweatpants.
We don't know that for sure.
Because come on - if you're Mr. T., you can wear any damn thing you please and dare anyone to call you outta your name about it. :p

anu-la1979
11-29-2006, 07:25 PM
EJsGirl: She was stunned. She's not black. She's Jewish. WTF?!?

I am not black and I've had the phrase hurled at me (by idiot racist French-Canadians a long time ago though...it's hard being the local colour sometimes).

In California I tend to get "Spic" (mostly crazy people on the subway).

Ah, the perils of being ethnically ambiguous, people fumble for the ethnic slurs. "You...you....you...[insert]"

auntie em
11-29-2006, 07:25 PM
Why...yes...yes I am....don't we?
Well, there's one way to find out . . . do you look like a the love child of Grace Jones and Dennis Rodman?

Because that would be me. ;)

Chefguy
11-29-2006, 09:47 PM
Well, there's one way to find out . . . do you look like a the love child of Grace Jones and Dennis Rodman?

Because that would be me. ;)

By "we", I meant white people. It was a small joke, and now the poor little thing has died a miserable, squealing death.

KMJR
12-13-2012, 08:21 AM
Hi I am a parent of two black children. I have had several issues with my eldest who is 10 and the most wonderful child in the world. Seriously his heart is so huge. At school in his class he has a boy who has twice called him a fucking niggar. The school has suspended the child for a day then two days but have never had that child apologize to my son. It infuriates me. They say it is pointless because it would not be sincere. I feel it is necessary. I don't know what to do. He has been called the N word several times at this school. I am not sure what I am looking for here. Everyone is telling me to let it go but I can't I believe this is completely wrong. Any comments would be appreciated.

Shodan
12-13-2012, 10:19 AM
Welcome to the SDMB. This particular thread is six years old, so it might be a good idea to open a new one.

Both my kids are Asian, and tend to snicker condescendingly when someone tries to call them names, so I am not sure I can advise you on your situation, other than to say that two suspensions seems like a reasonable punishment for a ten year old (assuming the other boy is the same age as your son), so maybe letting it go is an option.

Regards,
Shodan

Asimovian
12-13-2012, 11:32 AM
KMJR, your children are going to encounter lots of stupid people in life -- people who will judge them based on their race, or their height, or their sex, or their income, or the car they drive, or a host of other things. I'm thinking that the best thing for you to focus on is teaching them how to deal with those situations. There's not much you can do to control the ignorance of others, and I'm not sure an insincere apology is going to do much.

Going back to the zombie OP, I can think of two times in my life that a random stranger has called me a nigger. Neither of them were looking for a confrontation, as far as I can tell, but instead made the comment in passing as they were walking the other direction. The first had the look of a skinhead, and even if I hadn't been too stunned to react, I doubt I'd have chosen to engage the guy. The second was someone I'd been riding with on a local bus and who had already demonstrated in other ways that she was mentally ill. I can't claim it didn't bother me at all, but my outward reaction was to laugh. I'm pretty sure she wanted to get a reaction out of me, and she said it as she was getting off the bus. I wouldn't have given her the satisfaction.

handsomeharry
12-13-2012, 11:40 AM
Mr. T doesn't wear pink cashmere sweatpants.

Well, if he doesn't, it's his own fault, then, isn't it?

Musicat
12-13-2012, 11:46 AM
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

Wish I'd said that. Wait -- I just did.