Tag Archives: racial slur

If Hip-Hop Is Dead, Why is The N-Word Still Kicking?

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Warning: Uncensored language in this post.

Grabbing lunch one day in my work cafeteria, I requested a bacon cheeseburger.

“Sorry,” the guy behind the counter said, “no swine.”

I nodded, but must have had a quizzical look on my face because he then asked me if I knew what swine was. I told him that I did and he asked me why I looked puzzled. I told him that saying “swine” for “bacon” is kind of like sayng “negro” for “black” – it’s correct, but that is not the word we are accustomed to hearing.

As I compared the terms, the counter guy paused.

“I’m not black, I’m a nigga.” He said.

The other two black guys around him (one behind the counter with him, the other waiting on a sandwich like I was) chuckled.

“That’s nigga, n-i-g-g-a, not er,” the other guy behind the counter clarified.

I didn’t know what to say, so I said thank you, took my swineless burger, and went back upstairs to my office.

That was last week. (Incidentally, the same week I found myself browsing a recent issue of Vibe at the newsstand and saw Mary J. Blige self-identify the same way.) I’m still thinking about why a person would reject the word black and self-identify as a nigga. (No “er” for those of y’all keeping track.)

Are we supposed to be reclaiming this word, in the vein of “queer” and “cunt?”

I have heard that argument before but I don’t quite buy into it, especially as the word still has race based negative connotations.

Carmen pointed me toward this facebook group earlier in the week. The group’s manifesto explains:

Fuck mainland guys u made beautiful educated HK pipo shameful. We are different from this disgrace peices of shits, here i clarify that these niggers are not a part of us, although they are our brothers, we dont wanna accept this brainless guys. Sometimes I see some of these retards i just wanna put my fist in their face and fuck these guys up man fuck!

[...]

I’ve even saw some nigger Mainlanders steal ketup in Mcdonalds so they dont have to buy, fuck U!! Shame on you and ur family for 5 generations…..

In her email to me, Carmen explains:

To me clearly they do it because that’s the worst possible insult they could come up with: they’re all chinese, so saying “chink” doesn’t cut it. But by relating them to blackness and using the n-word, it’s the ultimate insult.

(For those of you who erroneously think that the word nigger did not originally have racial connotations, Jabari Asim has a book for you.) Continue reading