I just caught a glimpse of a show about Richard Pryor, in which the word “nigger” is used over and over again.
Have we yet reached a racial equilibrium in this country? Is it safe for a white person to say “nigger”…without the quotation marks? I don’t mind being called honky although I’d never call a black person “nigger” because I still feel like the cards are stacked against blacks.
It’s also noteworthy to me that they bleep the word “fuck” in a Richard Pryor Documentary but not the word “nigger”. If you’re going to be watching a show in Richard Pryor, isn’t it safe to assume that the kids aren’t watching?
And I like how blacks can take a demeaning word used against them for years and years and turn it into a badge to be worn with pride. I see the logic behind it.
Eminem gets away with it. Of course, the word has morphed into “nigga” (or is it “niggah”), so maybe that’s one reason it’s OK to use it, at least in certain contexts. I’m still restraining myself from walking thru the nearest Black neighborhood yelling it at the top of my lungs. But that’s just me.
Are you sure Eminem uses the word nigger or “nigga”? It is my understanding that he has stated he would never use this word. (I think he might have used the word in an old song that was done well before he became a star.)
I don’t think the word is really used with a sense of pride nor do I think it has been defanged. Would a word that’s suppose to be worn with pride or defanged cause so much controversy? It’s one of the few words one could utter that makes otherwise rational people think “you deserve to get your ass kicked for saying that” and actually mean it. Maybe it’s a badge of pride because it allows some people to exert power over others. It allows an exclusive group the ability to use a word in front of anyone and come down hard on anyone outside the group that uses the word.
In many ways I think perhaps nigger has taken on a life of it’s own. I understand the ugly history behind the word and I’m not advocating that we all start using it. However I think we’ve become overly sensitive to the point where we’re seriously talking about banning great works of literature like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Seems like I remember seeing a documentry about some kids from New York (I don’t know which burough) but they had a whole mixture in their little crowd and all the white kids seemed to use the word quite freely. (with their black friends)
Has any word in U.S. history been at the center of more debate than “the N word”? Sure, it’s offensive from the mouths of white people, but when you say “it’s” racist regardless of context (books, movies, etc.) it just argues that people should be reactive instead of reflective. Even better than Huck Finn as an example is The Great Gatsby, the book has been called racist because the N word is used once by an obviously racist character (Daisy’s husband, who is into “Nordic Pride”, remember this is pre-Hitler but contemporary with the psuedoscientific fads that gave rise to the reich).
Anyway, I thought Richard Pryor had stopped using that word… he even used to have a story about why he stopped using the word.
I remember Richard Pryor saying he didn’t use “nigger” anymore because it did more harm than good… something like that.
In regards to literature, apparently a lot of people have trouble grasping the idea that a writer can have a character say things that the writer himself doesn’t believe. (Reminds me of a movie critic I heard lambasting the remake of Cape Fear; he thought that because the villain in the movie brutalized women, it meant that the creators of the film hated women. Not making this up.)
From the first year of Saturday Night Live, I remember a sketch that might not be aired in a repeat today. Richard Pryor’s character was interviewing for a job; Chevy Chase was conducting the interview. This included a word-association test, which went something like this: