On niggas, faggots and the like

I’ve seriously had it with all the hate in this world. I always say that hate is an external manifestation of internal self-detestation. For if we all thought we were adequate and had high esteems of ourselves, then we wouldn’t “need” to hate. In hate, we show just how much we feel threatened. Indeed hate is fear disguised. The “other” is only as different as you make them out to be. Maybe the solution is to cease labelling oneself.. for then, you wouldn’t have a justification for labelling anyone else… aah random thoughts…

The other night all these thoughts ran through my head as I sat down with friends for dinner … As with most of my conversations, debate arose. The issue was: “niggas”, or more aptly the use of words like “nigga”, “kaffir” and such like.. Naturally our debate progressed to other pejorative language uses such as referring to homosexuals as “queer”, “faggots” etc… My note will however focus on the primary source of the debate: NIGGA
What was the debate about you ask? It can’t have been about whether such terms, with their negative connotations, were indeed derogatory for thats clear. Our debate was about who is justified to use these terms.

In my opinion it is NOT OK for anyone to call me a nigga, not even myself. I thought my stance was only natural and that everyone should agree (I tend to do that). I argued that there is no such thing as a “nigga” and thus no one should be called that nor should anyone use the term. I was fascinated by the response. Not only did my assertion not have overwhelming support, it was practically rejected in its entirety. I was told that because the term “nigga” was historically used to refer to “people of my kind”, I had justification in “reclaiming” its use. Dare I say, I still find that opinion appalling! I was never a “nigga” and I find the use of phrases such as “people of my kind” does nothing to solve the many hate based issues the world faces today.

I don’t see the worth in (re)claiming a derogatory tag, all it does is perpetuate the “hate” I constantly speak of. How can reclaiming the term better me? By calling myself “nigga”, am I not joining arms with the very people who look down upon me? And what governs which term I can reclaim? I am a “nigga” today, a “coconut” tomorrow. What benefit do I gain from insulting myself? I don’t want to reclaim a negative tag, but if I must, then there should be no problem with everyone calling me “nigga”.. after all, if I call myself a nigga, then what harm does it do me if someone else does too?

I guess for some its OK to “hate” oneself, but not to be hated. (my use of the word “hate” here is synonymous with tagging oneself and possibly internalising stereotypes)
I say this because, Jacob pointed out that in gay circles it was OK to call homosexual men “queer” and lesbians “dykes”, but that people who weren’t gay shouldn’t be allowed to. I fail to understand the logic in that madness. I desperately need someone to enlighten me. How does calling yourself and the people you love “queer” – a synonym of “odd” – not make you seem self-deprecating or self-loathing? And if my sexuality (or my race) is but a mere fragment of my identity, why should I allow it to define who I am?

I am many things, but if you can’t call me Ottilia (the only all-encompassing word that defines me), then rather call me nothing at all. I don’t care what popular culture tells you is OK, I am not a nigga and labels really are for boxes.

As with all other things… this is MY opinion… you might think differently. And if you do, tell me why 🙂

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