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10:48 AM on 03/20/11 
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Love As Arson
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The other day an individual I worked with referred to another worker as the n-word and when I pointed out that I was black, he reiterated the Chris Rock distinction between black people a n*ggers. This individual also said, "I hate Spanish people.We live in America, they need to speak American." To which I replied, "That is a nationality, not a language." Anyway, I think I underestimated the effect that it can have on me, as I assumed I'd be used to racist rhetoric, but it is incredibly dispiriting and depressing. I was surprised at how it made me feel even days after these incidents had occurred. In any event, this thread is for comments directed towards you or comments you have heard of the racist variety.
11:21 AM on 03/20/11 
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Love As Arson
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The whole Chris Rock scenario is exactly why black people are stuck in this predicament. I am black and it burns me from the inside out when I hear other black people still using the n word towards each other. The Chris Rock thing only makes it worse b/c he is giving other races an excuse to continue to use bigotry. Another example is when Nas named his album N****er and expected people to just understand the point he was trying to make by naming his album that. It doesn't matter what reasoning you put behind using that language, you are giving everyone the okay to go ahead and use it as well. I've heard that word thrown around by all races my whole life, by people I considered friends, who said the same thing you did about how it didn't apply to 'all black people' and its disgusting. Ending ignorance ends with ourselves in our own communities and until that happens, shit's just going to keep getting worse.
Honestly, I've no problem with the use of the term between African-Americans, so long as it is used in terms of camaraderie; that is, one has a best friend and refers to them as "my n*gga".
11:34 AM on 03/20/11 
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You should have a problem with it. It's not endearing and its not friendly. It's detrimental to our growth as a race. We've managed to brainwash ourselves into thinking that and that's the saddest part.
The word itself isn't the issue, it is a matter of what it represents, namely the material oppression of African-Americans.
11:46 AM on 03/20/11 
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Precisely. And as you just put it previously, saying someone is 'my *****' is just as ignorant sounding in my humble opinion. But agree to disagree.
I just think the reclamation of the word is important. That is not the same as endorsing others saying it.
03:42 PM on 03/20/11 
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Yea, you see, that's bullshit friend.

You have no problem with blacks using the word n***a as a term of endearment. What about if you had a friend who was white, or brown, and they grew up with you, would it bother you then?

I'm an Arab American who grew up in a black neighborhood. For the most part, I was never ostricized nor excluded. Had me a few tough times but by and large, I was just another kid in the ghetto. It wasn't until I moved home and discovered the world that I realized how the ass-backward logic of others who hold a double standard on that word.
I'd havr a problem with a white friend using the term becuase of the inherent disparity of power.
03:50 PM on 03/20/11 
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"Cracker" refers to the sound whips made.
06:32 AM on 03/21/11 
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Isn't that thought process, in and of itself racist though? So if anyone else besides a white friend says it, it's fine, sorry friend, but that's horse shit and you know it.
Nope. Given the real fact of white privilege, I don't see why any white person would want to say it, nor do I understand why it is such a point of contention when African-Americans use it with one another, especially if it is meant to undermine its original meaning.
Racisim is universal, in fact people from the middle east get it more nowadays than any african-american (nowadays)ever will. That phase has ended with people feeling opressed, of course there will still be people who feel elitiest on this but if you were'nt born in the 20's - 50s then stfu. Mainly because you don't have to sit in the back of a bus and you don't have to use seperate bathrooms and you don't have to eat at different dineries. I assure you if Rosa Parks only problem was someone saying a derrogative word to her then she'd be more than happy. Times have changed and in saying that if you have'nt truely lived thru opression then stfu.
We're more segregated now than we were in prior decades. It's simply taken a subtle, economic form.
07:44 AM on 03/21/11 
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And 99% of black people who use the term cracker refer to the colour of white people being similar to the colour of soda biscuits.

I think black people use the word n**ger so often because (Correct me if I'm wrong), but many of them pride themselves on their socioeconomic standing. It's part of the black culture to live in tougher conditions, where maybe 50 or 100 years ago, they'd be known as "n**gers. That's also why black artists emphasize "the hood life" and illegal stuff.
Yes, African-Americans pride themselves on the economic disparity that relegates them to terrible neighborhoods, a drug economy and violence. Understand that there is a difference between pride in making it through a terrible situation and pride in the situation itself. As for your original comment, it is mostly irrelevant, as the point I was making is, even with regard to racial slurs, "cracker" is one in which white supremacy is actually confirmed.
I don't see how you can separate intention from the person using the word in a certain context.
Broadly, I think it is possible, insofar as particular contexts allow us to understand when the usage is permissible,e.g., between my best friend and I as opposed to between white people. Blacks have appropriated it for the specific purpose of undermining a facet of white supremacy, which does not exist in other communities.
07:44 AM on 03/21/11 
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08:02 AM on 03/21/11 
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that's interesting, only because i just read this article about how middle-class blacks are looked-down upon or whatever by lower-class blacks; i.e. if you're black and grow up in the suburbs, you're not "as black" or whatever as someone who lives in the projects. there's also a problem with wanting to be academically successful vs athletically successful as a black person.
I think it has to do with the mass production of culture which presents particular avenues as the means of bypassing one's social station. So, for example, we rarely see successful academic blacks on television shows, whereas that is the norm for their white counterparts. As for the conflict with middle-class blacks, it is due to what I refer to as the Cosby syndrome; that is, middle-class blacks who have adopted many of the talking points of white supremacy,detached the situation of lower-class blacks from systematic oppression and attribute it to an inherent deficiency within "their culture", in them as a people. Far from being tough love, it makes clear the divide between these two sectors.
09:13 AM on 03/21/11 
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My apologies if you already addressed this, but would you ever consider calling a white person "my n*gga"? (I know this seems like a dumb question, but given the circumstance.. I am curious.) What if that person were your best friend? Or would that term still only be reserved for an African-American friend of yours? If so, then I must ask: why choose a word that denotes race, especially if it serves no purpose in the immediate context?
Because our common racial experience/history is part of what bonds us and allows us to refer to one another as such. For a black person, race is something in your mind from the moment you wake up in the morning, it is something which effects your day, your interactions with others and with the world in general,e.g., I must be mindful of the city police. Whites, being the default, do not have this experience.
09:55 AM on 03/21/11 
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But that's a very broad generalization. I think whites in america are extremely conscious of race and this whole debate is about that. I have to watch the way I speak because of my race.
It isn't a generalization, it is an indictment of status. Being conscious of the race of others is different from being conscious of your own race. The black experience is such that it is an constitutive of an identity. The white experience is different because white is considered the norm.
10:00 AM on 03/21/11 
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Also, by suggesting that there are certain words, phrases, idioms, actions, whatever..that only a black american can use because he is a black american...doesn't that just further racial divides and lead to actions like the one mentioned by the OP?
I like how the increase in a racial divide is attributable to black people. Perhaps it requires the understanding of others as to why they shouldn't say those words. For example, I do not use the b-word, however, if women use it with one another, I understand why this is the case and do not question why I shouldn't be allowed to use the term.
10:52 AM on 03/21/11 
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i dunno, it almost seems to me that allowing one group to use a word but not others is hypocritical. i understand what you're saying, about requiring understanding as to why they shouldn't, but i don't believe that people should use the crutch of 'i'm allowed to say this and you aren't.'
Hypocrisy requires a level playing field.
11:42 AM on 03/21/11 
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This is isn't hypocrisy, it's more prejudice than anything else.

Because you are white, and all whites have racial superiority in the US....you have power...since you have power, you are not allowed to use certain words.
White privilege is complex and the are a wide variety of axes on which power and prejudice turn. However, we should take into consideration the social situations that provide evidence. So, for example, a person with an ethnic name is less likely to be called back for a job interview than an individual with a "normal name"; the criminal justice system sentences African-Americans to harsher sentences than whites who have committed the same crimes; police brutality rates against minorities are significantly higher than against whites; minorities have less access to higher education and are more likely to go to schools without the proper resources to educate them; the official unemployment rate is ten percent, whereas for the African-American it is fifteen percent. The list goes on. White privilege isn't something personal, it is built into the structures of our society, whether whites want it or not, and it is this context that leads me to be opposed to whites using the term. Far from prejudging whites, I am indicting a system which favors a particular group and, in our subjective experiences in the world, I think one needs to be conscious of this before saying that word.
Yes I would absolutely think that racism in the US can be furthered by any group, regardless of who is in power or what is deemed as the norm. This goes for any social divide. In no way am I saying that use of the word n*gga is the only, or most important, factor that furthers racism.
The difference between those in power and the powerless is, the former has the ability to transform those ideas into concrete reality. I can agree that all racism is bad, but that isn't the same as saying that all racism is equally destructive. So, for example, I don't think the racism of the slave is the same as the racism of the landowner, because the latter has effectively institutionalized their ideas within the governmental, economic and social framework.
 



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