There are black people, then there are...

You ask them what their name is, then call them by that name.

And if you want to talk about Black Poles, or Black British, or Black Cubans collectively, that would be fine too. I’ve not come across a person who thought “Black” was an offensive way to refer to people with dark skin colour, whether their ancestors were African, South Asian, Melanesian, Polynesian or Australian.

The last question was rhetorical, used simply to highlight the statement immediately preceding it. Please don’t consider it as needing an answer!

end hijack

brickbacon: Well, there are white people, and there are “rednecks.”

“White Trash.”

It is nothing more than an indication of the collective belief that in our “classless society,” we still make distinctions. It’s human nature to form “groups” from which we define and identify “Us,” and deliniate “Them.” When taken to extremes, it is a Bad Thing (and I don’t think it’s none too good even in smaller doses, even if it is more tolerable).

You’re railing against human nature, and I think even the best of us (but perhaps not the very best) do it to some degree or another.

The real challenge for any decent person is to not let one bad encounter with “Them” form our views and opinions of “Them” in toto. Sadly, this is all-too-often the case.

IMO, Chris Rock is more than just a comedian; or if not, then it is time-honored tradition to mix social commentary into comedy to illustrate a point, and Chris Rock does it well. Even Jesse Jackson admitted publicly that, when he hears a person walking behind him on a city street at night, he’s relieved to turn around and see that it’s a white person.

This is not an indictment of African-Americns; at best it is a “datum” from which a larger social reality can be derived; but not accurately, not solely from that simple datum.

I think that if such datum are ignored in the expedience of political correctness, a disservice is done to not only those to whom it applies, but also to those who wish to see it changed for the betterment of those to whom it applies, and society as a whole. Because it is also human nature that, once “We” make up our minds about “Them,” we tend to “write ‘Them’ off” and are loathe to change our opinions of “Them,” and recognize “Them” as people like Ourselves.

As holmes astutely pointed out, the difference between “white trash” and “nigger” is the fact that white people were never branded as trash just because of their race. Historically, “white trash” were named such because they were exceptional: they were called white trash to distinguish them from the regular, run-of-the-mill colored trash. Furthermore, white people came up with the term “white trash”; it wasn’t foisted upon them by another race that was charmed by its own sense of superiority. As such it is a classist term, not a racist one. (I find it tasteless and hateful just the same though, and I don’t understand why people feel so comfortable calling anyone “trash” just for having the audacity to shop at Walmart.)

** msmith**:

So “niggers” are the ones who keep to the “old ways” of black people, while “non-niggers” do not? What is it that you are trying to say here? I don’t want to interpret this comment as meaning that black people by default are “niggers” who must assimilate into the mainstream in order to leave behind their “nigger-ness”, but that’s what I’m reading from your post. Clarify please?
In an old thread that is related to this subject I posted the following comment. It pretty much sums up my feeling on why what the OP is talking about reallly irks me.

The term “nigger” may have been foisted upon African-Americans, but the concept of “good person/bad person” is not a conspiracy of The White Man, and was not taught to the African slaves or their decendants by The White Man. As I said, I believe it is a universally human trait to categorize and label, regardles of the appellation’s origin.

That the African-American community internalized the term and use it may be partly the fault of The White Man; strange, though, that the African-American commuity rejects certain stereotypes foisted upon them, but not others?

Could it possibly be that the African-American community, while rejecting the word “nigger” as a label applied to them by whites, has nonetheless adopted that same label themselves, and use it internally, within the African-American community, in the time-honored tradition of “Us” and “Them?”

'Cause you won’t see this white boy walking into an African-American community or establishment and bandying the term “nigger” about carelessly; I like keeping my skin and internal organs in their current fairly health condition and arrangements.

But you may very well in the course of a day overhear African-Americans disparaging other African-Americans as “niggers” with little or no acrimony between them, in much the same manner that I might justifiably call my cousin Billy in Texas a “redneck cracker.” Billy might* take exception, but no one who knows him would, not even his own mother. :rolleyes:

Finally, I think that underestimating the sense-of-humor of African-Americans is somewhat racist in-and-of-itself; like most sub-cultures which are part of a larger society, they realize that if you can’t at least laugh at the caricatures of the worst aspects of “Us”, you’ve got no business laughing at the caricatures of the worst aspects of “Them.”

Which is why you can find whites and blacks laughing just as hard at Chris Rock as they do at Jeff Foxworthy and the Blue Collar Comedy guys.

He’s actually likely to stuff his mouth with chaw, spit on the ground, and say, “Whut of it, peckerhead?” Every family’s got at least one.

I also find the phrase to be a little silly. As a white person born and raised in South Africa, I’m always a little tempted to call myself African American now that I’m living in the United States.

Who is this monolithic African-American community of which you speak? I did not elect to reject certain stereotpyes over others. I doubt the other black Dopers on the board have either.

I have never called another person “nigger” in all of my life. Nor did my “community” teach me to do this. In fact, I was brought up to reject “nigger” and to look down on anyone who would use such a term, black or white. So methinks you don’t understand anything about the “African American community” if you think we, black people, have collectively embraced the n-word.

Some black people have done this. Maybe a lot of them have. But most have not, in my experience. And those that have, IMHO, should be ashamed of themselves.

Yeah, because we all know that we black people are naturally violent and fly into wild rages whenever we encounter racists :rolleyes:

If you used the word “nigger” around me, you wouldn’t have to worry about your “health condition”. Maybe you wouldn’t leave with your eardrums intact, but I wouldn’t lay a finger on ya.

I have no problem with people laughing at a comic. I do have a problem with people extrapolating Chris Rock’s routine as a sentiment of the “African American community” rather than a lone comedian. Chris Rock has been cited more than any other black celebrity on this board, I’m willing to bet. What does this say about us?

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that it’s okay to call black criminals “niggers” 'cuz Chris Rock did on HBO, and everyone laughed. You might not do it, but someone else might.

No, but with black people it seems to be increasingly more acceptable in society for this “good black vs. nigger” dichotomy to be played out. Why is it that black people have to be split into those two disparate camps, that (unsurprisingly) happen to be demarcated by racist stereotypes? If it was a simple question of separating the good from the bad, why is the bad defined by A) a racist term and B) racial stereotypes?

I think the OP is not talking just about in-group use of “nigger”, but also mainstream society’s tacit acceptance of the dichotomy. But to address this comment, blacks’ use of “nigger” for the most part is not comparable to its use historically. When black people are motivated to call each other nigger as a demeaning insult, usually its born out of the frustration and embarrassment, not feelings of superiority. Most black people know that racial stereotypes and prejudice are forces which need to be combatted and not accepted, and that the misdeeds of a person should not reflect upon anyone else just because of same-race membership; however, it is often easy to forget that on an emotional level. This is why the Chris Rock joke strikes a chord within a lot of blacks: we get the idea that “those niggers make the rest of a look bad”. That is how society often makes us feel.

It could be. Could it also be that because society views the screw-ups of some blacks as some kind of indictment on all blacks, we see this kind of “us and them” reaction growing? Bill Cosby’s comments come to mind as I type this. Instead of speaking out against a problem that is threatening young people today in a solution-oriented way, he lauched a diatribe that bore many hallmarks of black shame and self-consciousness. And people applauded him for it.

Some questions for you, ExTank, since you have self-identified as a white boy. Did you feel embarrassed as a white person when those Enron execs stole all that money? Did you feel disappointed when you found out Scott Peterson was a white guy ? When Bush mispronounces words, do you feel that, in some small way at least, it makes you look bad as a fellow white person?

I feel confident in saying that most black people feel an extra sense of shame or disappointment when other black people fuck up in the ways I described above. I also feel confident in saying that white people, in generally, do not. This is why the “us vs them” mentality is different when played out among whites than it is in blacks. Being a minority makes it take on a different flavor.

Well, I hope that my perspective as a black woman would prevent me from underestimating blacks’ sense-of-humor, but the possibility is irrelevant at any rate. The OP is not just about Chris Rock’s joke (as has been stated by brickbacon several times already). I think we all can agree the joke is funny. The question is should this dichotomy be considered socially acceptable?

I have perhaps spoken too broadly; I never meant to imply a monolithic African-American culture, even if my (poorly chosen) words indeed imply that. But is it not possible that you inherited through cultural interaction and parental guidance growing up a certain disdain for certain values, and acceptance of others?

You may not have elected to reject the “Sambo” caricature, but you may have inherited that rejection through your parents, or grandparents, just as you proclaim that you were taught to reject the word “nigger.” And what shall you teach your children? And what will they teach theirs? And what personal choices might they all make (acceptance/rejection of certain values, labels and such) over time, and attempt to pass those on as well?

In my experience, quite a few have. How representative that sample is of the whole I can’t say, but it is fairly representative of the sample I have actually met. Perhaps they just don’t care, perhaps they’ve never thought about it. I don’t know.

Not at all; but I could hardly tell from outward appearance which one might; therefore discretion (and politeness) is the better part of keeping my skin intact.

Would you walk into a predominantly white establishment and start calling calling everyone “Honkey Cracker Motherfuckers?” If so, yours are bigger than mine.

That’s your call to make, not mine.

Cited by whom? Blacks? Whites? Asians? :dubious: Unless a poster identified themsleves (which certainly happens often enough)…

Again, that’s your call to make, not mine. The African-American community, as a whole, is not the first to have its better portion besmirched by its lesser portion; look at the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League’s lawsuit against David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, for his portrayal of Italian-Americans.

I might; I also laugh at Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be A Redneck…” routine, because, just like Chris Rock, at some level there’s an element of truth. Distorted and caricaturized to be sure, but it’s there. The difference is, I think most people can recognize that “caricature,” be it of whites, blacks, asians, etc., and not internalize it as some fundamental “truth” about some group.

We can’t sweep the ugly aspects of the human condition under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist by playing semantics, regardless of the skin color of the people in question. Whether we’re talking of hard-core, gangsta-rappin’ blacks in the ghetto, or “sig heil!”-ing, goose-stepping morons in Idaho, or just plain “ignernt” yokels up in the backwoods.

I don’t know; I didn’t pick the word. But sure as sunrise tomorrow, if they weren’t using “nigger,” they would’ve thought of another with similar meaning to the way Chris Rock is using it. Just as if farmers had traditionally worn hats and neck bandanas, some term other than “redneck” would have been invented for rural folk.

But that’s just my point; the “Us” and “Them” dichotomy is universal; everyone does it, whether the delineation is color, religion, language, economic status, education level, geographic location, etc. Some do it more than others, some less. Some never show it outwardly or speak of it, but it is still probably there. A select few of very good people may never do it.

American society as a whole? I seriously doubt it. Well, idiots abound, and Bill Cosby is an old man, and old people tend to get all crotchety, but that’s my natural pessimism speaking, and I try to ignore it in favor of more positive thoughts.

Every portion of society has some other portion that shames us; think of how the good, devout, non-child molesting Catholic Priests feel about the child-abuse scandal. Think about how quite a few (I would say easily most) white people around the country felt when the Jasper, Texas story broke? We were all 99.9% sure white people did it, and felt slightly ashamed, even as we had nothing personally to do with it.

But I doubt that very many carried that guilt around with them, and were quite pleased when the jury came back with Guilty verdicts (even if they weren’t too keen on the death penalty).

  1. Enron: no, I was outraged, and I hoped the slimeballs would get hit right where they’d hurt the most: their pocketbooks.

  2. I had no racially-oriented feelings about the Peterson case at all

  3. Not at all; Bush is Bush and I am me.

Well, my answers sort of proved your point (inasmuch as it pertains to me); and I see your point, as well. I have said before that I don’t think that blacks deserve reparations for slavery; they deserve reparations for the century+ of cultural segregation, the denial of opportunities, etc., after emancipation. For being told for all those years that they were less worthy. Given that century of segregation and degradation, I can see how my answers and yours come out differently, with much different baggage attached to them.

Well, as I said earlier and reiterated to monstro, I think that dichotomy is a natural function of humanity, or that it’s been around with us long enough as to make no difference otherwise. I don’t know if it can be separated from us as a whole. Just maybe stuck way down into a corner of our collective souls and left like an old pair of shoes in the back of the closet; never used, shriveled, dried out, ugly to look upon, and no good to anyone, anymore.

But always there.

There I go with the pessimism thing again.

Naturally, the offenderati have to get up in arms over what a comedian says. :rolleyes:

Chris Rock makes a valid point in making fun of those who are living, breathing, stereotypes. In calling them “niggers”, he is saying that their own actions reinforce the stereotypes foisted upon them, so we may as well call them niggers. I agree with him in a way.

Well first of all, I wouldn’t use that term because it is inflamatory and distracts from the actual issue. I assume that Chris Rock is using it to describe the stereotype of the aggressive black man perpetually unemployed, involved with alchohol and drugs, and generally antisocial who refuses to assimilate into the “mainstream” of holding a steady job and taking responsibility for their family.

The “old ways” are not a national or religeous culture, like say being Chinese or Irish. It is clinging to a behavior that is destructive and antisocial because it allows them to not have to take responsibility for their actions. And as I mentioned, it is a behavior that is associated with blacks because it is so prevailent in their culture.

Ask yourself why a prominant black criminal case (like OJ) is viewed as a racial issue while a similar white criminal case (like Peterson) is not.

You make no sense. African-Americans have been called niggers when they were denied the ability to take responsibility for their actions. They were called niggers when they opened colleges, business and strove for equal rights in this country. They were called nigger, when Nat King Cole,was the most popular entertain in America What anti-social behaviour was he projecting that caused him to be called nigger as he was nearly pulled of a stage and beaten to death?

The word has a meaning. This ‘behaviour’ is a recent thing and is not prevailent in their culture; as the majority of African-Americans are hard working members of society.

Their ‘culture’ is the dominate culture in the US and unless you think calling some white kid from SoCal nigger is appropriate, based on SOLELY on his behaviour, I suggest that you perhaps don’t clearly understand the meaning of the word.

Naturally, someone has to make an uninformed comment without actually reading the thread. As I have stated many times, this is not about Chris Rock. I get the joke and I think he’s funny. I have no problem with Chris Rock and I don’t need you to explain a joke to me. The flaws in your argument have been pointed out many times already in this thread. Please take the time to actually READ the thread before you comment.

If you agree that laziness, criminality, and ignorance are part of every culture, why do you assume the individual cultures are responsible? Most studies I’ve seen show a greater correlation between said behaviors and terrible socio-economic conditions than between the behavior and culture. Blacks are disproportionately poor. Consequently, a disproportionate number of blacks display the behaviors you mentioned. That doesn’t mean this behavior is being fed by a pernicious aspect of black culture. I think the data out there suggests quite the opposite.

Or perhaps blacks are disproportionately poor BECAUSE they exhibit the kinds of behaviors that make them poor? I don’t know. I believe cultures are the sum of the actions of their individual members.

Obviously you never saw the Dave Chapelle skit about the blind racist who didn’t know he was black.

[racist]NIGGERS!!! (to white kids playing loud rap music)
[white SoCal hip-hop kid 1]Did that that guy just call us niggers?
[white SoCal hip-hop kid 2]yeah…
[white SoCal hip-hop kid]COOL!!!

There’s a black culture that dominates the US alright. Would you disagree that there is an kind of romanticized image of poor gheto street life? I don’t know. I didn’t grow up in da’ hood. My family didn’t have a lot of “bling”. We didn’t drive Bentleys and Escalades. I didn’t grow up drinking Crystal with my homies and bitches. Man I wish I came from the hood so maybe I could have nice things.

Except that poverty doesn’t just “happen.” People are poor for many reasons, and some of them, including discrimination, are beyond their control. But not all of the things that make people poor are imposed on them. It is not unfair to observe that a significant portion of black Americans engage in self-destructive behaviors that prevent them from escaping poverty.

It is certainly true that self-destructive behaviors exist in every culture; it does not follow that they exist in the same proportions. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Asian- and Jewish-Americans, both well known for the high priority they place on cohesive family units, hard work and education are more successful than Anglos.

Right, but Chapelle couldn’t see the kids. Had he seen them, he may have asked why are they listening to "nigger’ music or called them white trash. He wouldn’t have called them niggers…because to a racist, no matter how low a white person can be, he will always be above a nigger.

There is a history to this stuff…written long before the jokes of Rock, Chapelle and Pryor (who no longer uses the term BTW).

So if you believe that I can honestly walk up to a white person, behaving in the way you seem to think that African-Americans behave; call him a nigger and not look like a fool, more power to you.

…and the term “hood” went out of style many, many years ago.

msmith: There’s a black culture that dominates the US alright. Would you disagree that there is an kind of romanticized image of poor gheto street life? I don’t know. I didn’t grow up in da’ hood. My family didn’t have a lot of “bling”. We didn’t drive Bentleys and Escalades. I didn’t grow up drinking Crystal with my homies and bitches. Man I wish I came from the hood so maybe I could have nice things.

:eek: :confused: “Dominates the US”??!? Well, I guess with so many black ghetto “homies” running major corporations and holding important government posts and all, it’s fair to say that their culture dominates the US.

Sorry, but that’s just silly. The “hood/gangsta rapper/bling” culture is certainly very visible in US media, and it has a lot of superficial influence on things like clothing fads and pop music. But it’s actually lived by only a tiny fraction of the American population, and to call it a “dominant” culture in any serious way is absurd.

The people who live that lifestyle aren’t running or dominating the country; they’re essentially high-profile zoo exhibits being marketed and gawked at by the much larger cultures who do actually dominate the country.

Or more likely because we were denied access to education, job opportunities, and almost everything else for generations. Sure, most of the judicial barricades are gone, but the racism that existed in the Jim crow days is still with us. Are you saying blacks are inherently lazy?

You’re right, poverty doesn’t happen. In America, it was essentially legislated by a racist and intolerant majority in years past. Now that most of those laws are gone., the cycle is continued by individual racism and a culturally ingrained fear of blacks. You act as though blacks were rich before crack came around and dried up all the wealth. I’m not saying everyone is out to get blacks people, just that the economic and social inequality came far before some black guy acted in a self-destructive way.

Of course the behaviors don’t exist in the same proportions, groups of people aren’t poor in the same proportions. They aren’t denied access to jobs and quality education in the same proportions. They aren’t discriminated against in the same proportions. I’m not giving anyone a pass for being a criminal, but for people to act like blacks culture is solely responsible is wrong.

Most of the problems I’ve seen people attribute to black culture are magnified versions of things that exist in American culture (things like anti-intellectualism, laziness, and other self-destructive behaviors). Why are they magnified? Because a confluence of events has caused a disproportionate amount of blacks to be poor and uneducated. These events are largely unrelated to any one individual’s choices.

Also, your comparison between voluntary immigrants and blacks is faulty for a number of reasons.