I saw an interesting interview of JAY-Z on TV the other day. The interviewer said that Barrack Obama thinks that blacks should stop calling each other ‘nigga’. Jay-Z disagreed, and said it in another interview as well:
“People give words power. For our generation, what we did is that we took the word, and we took the power out of that word. We took a word that was very ugly and hurtful into a term of endearment,” Jay-Z said Thursday.
Jay-Z is referring to the fact that brothas will call each other ‘nigga’, kind of like they used to say ‘homie’. He thinks by doing that, they have somehow taken the power out of the word. ?????
I totally disagree. If your buddies call you ‘nigga’, and that’s how you greet each other, then you might be all cool with it. But, if some angry redneck called a black guy ‘nigger’ out of the blue, you know that brotha is gonna be mad as hell! Same goes for Jay-Z; he’d be furious, and start throwing punches!
My point is that Jay-Z hasn’t taken any power out of the word. He’s just using the word in a different way amongst his peers, but once it’s used by a non-black person, it has all the vitriol and power and racial tension that it did in the past. It still carries weight. He and his homies can call each other ‘nigga’ till the sun come down, but they still won’t negate that word. Words are just a medium for feelings and emotions, and if a word is used with hate, then that hate will empower the word. I have respect for Jay-Z as a rapper, but in this situation, he doesn’t know what he’s talkin’ about. I assumed he’d be more logical about it. He’s just wrong.
Personally, I don’t like racial slurs. I remember when a Japanese American classmate in high school came up to me and said, ‘What’s up Jap!’. We were the only two J-Americans in school. I was thinking he was such a dumb ass. He might of thought it was all cool, but I still remember that shit, so it wasn’t cool to me. I know what that word means and how it was used and originated. So, if somebody says that shit to me, I get annoyed or pissed. I’ll go ballistic if they say that shit to me in a club. And, they can call me gook, chink, or whatever. It don’t matter cuz the meaning is the same.