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Why Nas Is Wrong

November 2, 2007
From MTV News:

"I’m a street disciple," Nas responded, quoting one of his earlier
album titles. "I’m talking to the streets. Stay out of our business.
You ain’t got no business worrying about what the word ‘nigger’ is or
acting like you know what my album is about without talking to me.
Whether you in the NAACP or you Jesse Jackson. I respect all of them
… I just want them to know: Never fall victim to Fox. Never fall
victim to the sh– they do. What they do is try to hurry up and get you
on the phone and try to get you to talk about something you might not
know about yet.

"If Cornel West was making an album called Nigger, they
would know he’s got something intellectual to say," Nas continued. "To
think I’m gonna say something that’s not intellectual is calling me a
nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary."

"I wanna make the word easy on mutha—-as’ ears," he explained. "You
see how white boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ’cause it don’t have the same
[sting] as ‘nigger’? I want ‘nigger’ to have less meaning [than]
‘cracker.’ With all the bullsh– that’s going on in the world, racism
is at its peak. I wanna do the sh– that’s not being done. I wanna be
the artist who ain’t out. I wanna make the music I wanna hear.

I like Nas.  I’ve genuinely enjoyed his music in the past, but his take on the issue of the "N-word" is intellectual dishonesty.  You cannot make it easy on conscious black peoples ears. There is no positive connotation to that word.  The power of words do not come from there use – it comes from there meaning.  Nigger will never mean, despite the intentions of "street prophets", anything but what it was first intended to mean: IGNORANT! That was the original meaning of the word.  That may not resonate with many of our brothers and sisters who like to call each other the "N-word", however, if you understand the history of a thing, you can understand its present.  Presently the definition of nigger is:

"a member of any dark-skinned race; a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons; a black person."

How can you ease the meaning of that?  You cannot, and it is dishonest for Nas to say he wants to de-construct the meaning of the word to have a lesser effect than cracker.  Why?  Because if you honestly think about it, how many black people do you know that actually call white people cracker?  Unless there over 70, I don’t know any.  But I’ve encountered white people who call blacks nigger.  Once again, the power of words are derived from their meaning, and when I white man calls a black man a nigger the meaning hasn’t changed.  It’s still "you ignorant darky".

Nas is delusional if he think he’s going to take the power away from the "N-word", in the same way the NAACP is delusional to think burying the "N-word" will change anything. The only way to deflate the power of the "N-word" is to remove it as a choice in our countries mental lexicon.  How do you do that?  You do like the Anti-Defamation League does on any case of antisemiticism. Come down on the user like a ton of bricks, and begin sensitivity campaigns in the offending community at a elementary level.  That’s what went on when I was younger. 

That’s how you destroy the power of a word.  You teach it out of the next generation.  Teach it out, not assimilate it.   

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 5, 2007 3:32 PM

    The dictionary not only lists the “N-word” as a slang term for a black person, it also lists it as a slang term for “an ignorant person,” as Bakare points out.

    By that latter definition, there are an awful lot of — AHEM — “white niggers” out there (or “wiggers,” as white fans of gangsta rap are often called).

    In my 54-plus-year lifetime, I’ve run into some of the most incredibly ignorant Caucasians this side of “The Jerry Springer Show.” Some are just eccentric oddballs, but others are incredibly annoying and can drive you crazy.

    It’s no accident that whenever someone hurls the N-word as an insult, it’s often preceded by “Dumb” or “Dumb-ass.” If everyone knew the original intent of the N- word, then perhaps it would lose its racist sting and be just another slam at ignorant people — regardless of what race they are.

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