Have a problem with the title to my diary? Which word in it? Was it one of them, all of them, or none of them? Because it seems we now have a front page diary that contains the phrase Niggaz as well as a front pager who regularly drops Niggaz in comments. Because if I may quote "The young people these days don't attach any stigma to the word, and I'm well aware of that. Here in New York, all races use it among themselves." Really? Is that the now the standard on Daily Kos front pages? Comments are one thing in of themselves, but front pages?
Young people also use terms like Bitches, calling something they don't like "gay" (while at the same time being very pro-marriage equality) all without attaching any stigma to it. Don't believe? Just Google "Niggaz be like" and "bitches be like" and you'll see stuff like this:
Images intended as off color humor. My question is our community standard now whatever the "kool kidz are doing is kool wit me doe?"
Because just as battle of the too common usage "on the street" of the term Niggaz and Bitches is being waged, there has been a parallel battle being fought just as hard to stop people from saying "that's so gay", when what they really mean to say is "that's so horrible". I bring that up because people not "connected" to the black community and the N-word battle have all heard about that fight.
We have all heard (mostly) young woman referring to their friends lovingly as a "bad bitches". We all know that Black people saying: "that right there is my nigga" and people seeing something lame and saying: "that's so gay!" is something that happens every day. It's just like some exclaiming "that's fucking awesome" without attaching any sexual meaning to it, even though the expression itself is profane. The question I'm asking everyone reading this diary, is do we as community want these expressions as regular features by people who have such a large voice in our community? Should Daily Kos be a place where diarists write that Congress tried to "Jew the President down" on spending just because "people on the street" use that expression? All the expressions mentioned above aren't used literally by the majority of people who utter them.
Just to make sure I'm clear, the "kids these days are saying it" can be used as an excuse to offend every group and everyone on Daily Kos. If it's no big deal to use once common expressions the kids are using, why not use all their common terms? Since the "kids say them" is the justification for constantly saying one of them, why not all of them?
If you want to be "real," the cats in the hood dropping terms like Niggaz everyday are also dropping bitches, and using gay (or the f-slur) to describe crap they don't like. Go ahead and name me a real hood where these cats only drop Nigga and not the other two. Why only only be partially "authentic"?
I can hear the some of retorts now to Niggaz. "But, but, but....... the kids these days use it and it doesn't mean the same thing" and "rappers use it all the time." Well, folks, I can tell you for a fact dropping the N-word isn't something the kids just started doing. I heard it as a kid, I'm sure black members of Daily Kos older than me have heard it as children. Even in popular culture remember NWA
dropped their first big crossover album in 1988!
that's 25 years ago folks, and no MWA didn't invent black folks calling each other the "n-word". In fact if you go back and read black news papers, court documents, and other articles of history, you can find black people using the word COON in the same way, many now use Niggaz.
The Indianapolis Freeman’s Sylvester Russell, its main drama critic, knew his racism quite well and staged a sit-in sixty years before they became common. He had no use for “nigger.” Yet he casually noted in 1904 that “The Negro race has no objections to the word “coon.” And in his time, “ace boon coon” was current slang among blacks for “best friend”--and is still used in warm irony now in some black quarters.
To be sure, the word elicited controversy just as nigger does now. The following year Russell interviewed black stage composer superstar Bob Cole, who was dedicated to showing whites blacks’ dignity by doing his vaudeville act in black tie and writing gem-like “genteel” songs (the one with any resonance today is “Under the Bamboo Tree”). Cole said “The word ‘coon’ is very insinuating and must soon be eliminated.”
But then, Cole had no problem with, of all things, “darkey”!
The upshot of this gaslight-era ethnic lexicography is, quite simply, plus ça change.
The reason one might feel that one has been hearing the black use of the N-word “lately” is because one has heard rap only “lately,” and because only “lately” has there been a regular string of black stand-up comedy shows on television and black comedy films. Before all this, the same stuff was going on, just largely unrecorded--i.e. in spoken language, always thriving, be it on the streets of Detroit or Kiryas Joel.
Yeah, I know the kids want to believe they invented the world, but this has been going on a long, long, long, time. Yeah, and not to keep flashing back, but these same rappers are dropping bitches in their songs and they aren't always using it as a slur. So why draw the distinction and not use both?
OK I think I made my point. So let's get to the meat of it. Why did I write this diary and what do I want to come out this?