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[Serious] Singing the N-word
#1

[Serious] Singing the N-word
I was uncertain as to where to post this, so I placed it here. @Dom, feel free to move the thread if necessary.

Before going to sleep this afternoon, I was lying there in bed playing on my phone and occasionally looking up at the television that the boyfriend was watching. I have never seen the show, though I have heard of it, and honestly it just does not appeal to me to want to watch it (Dear White People) even after having seen a controversial scene that has prompted me to make this post.

In the show, there is a college party with a mixture of individuals. At one point, they are all dancing and singing along to a rap song that not only has the N-word in the title but is used constantly by the rapper in the lyrics.

The black people who heard the white boy sing the N-word along with the music informed him that he should not use that word. Eventually, the argument devolved into the white boy being called racist by the black people while the white boy was defending himself because he was merely singing along to the song.

I don't hate to say this, but I have to agree with the white boy on this. There is a difference between singing along with a song that contains the word and using the N-word maliciously against an individual of darker skin tone. In my humble opinion, the black people at the party were out of line and being emotionally illogical.
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#2

[Serious] Singing the N-word
2 cents

IF that had happened in Oz it wouldn't matter. However, it happened in the US, where it does matter, a lot.

As an outsider, it seems to me there is a racial component of most issues in the US .That a show called " Dear White People" was even made, is very telling .

Australia can be very racist ,and has been in the past. Our White Australia Policy was only abolished in 1975. Our preferred immigrants were like us ;Anglo-celt, plus central , western and northern Europe. Eastern Europe, not so much. We really didn't like darker hued people from Southern Europe, although they were grudgingly admitted from the 1950's due to a severe labour shortage.

People from India ,Africa or any Asian country need not apply. If they did, they faced a literacy test in other than their native language. Perhaps Gaelic or Hebrew. Really.

Imo the ONLY reason Australia does not have a racial problem on the scale of the US' is because we never[officially*] used slaves so didn't have large number of black people. as a permanent part of our population .

* Australia had defacto slavery , indentured labour from the South Pacific Islands, often against their will. The practice was called 'black birding'. Almost none of these people were permitted to settle in OZ. They were almost universally deported once they were no longer useful.


((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((0)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

"Blackbirding involves the coercion of people through deception and/or kidnapping to work as unpaid or poorly paid labourers in countries distant to their native land. The term has been most commonly applied to the large-scale taking of people indigenous to the numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean during the 19th and 20th centuries. These blackbirded people were called Kanakas or South Sea Islanders. The owners, captains and crew of the ships involved in the acquisition of these labourers were termed blackbirders. The demand for this kind of cheap labour principally came from European colonists in New South Wales, Peru, Queensland, Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, Mexico and Guatemala. Labouring on sugarcane, cotton and coffee plantations in these lands was the main usage of blackbirded labour but they were also exploited in other industries. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbirding
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#3

[Serious] Singing the N-word
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#4

[Serious] Singing the N-word
I think that the word has become so politicized that everyone steps around it, trying not to touch it. I've never used the word in the pejorative sense to a person of color. The world is tough enough without going looking for trouble. That isn't meant to say that I've (literally) fought with black people. All the shit I've ever gotten was from white guys (I'm white). I didn't go out looking to assault people because they were different (i.e., black or Hispanic or gay, as examples). I knew people who said that they had, and I just had to wonder, "WTF? Why would you do that!?".
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#5

[Serious] Singing the N-word
It's a show, and not real life? You might have your answer there.
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#6

[Serious] Singing the N-word
honky: noun, plural honkies. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a white person by black persons.

round-eye: noun, plural round-eyes. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —a term used by Asians to refer to a white person of European origin.


Are these just as bad?    If not, why not?    Are these not racial epithets also?
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#7

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 05:33 AM)SYZ Wrote: honky: noun, plural honkies. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a white person by black persons.

round-eye: noun, plural round-eyes. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —a term used by Asians to refer to a white person of European origin.


Are these just as bad?    If not, why not?    Are these not racial epithets also?

Of course they're epithets. I just have the luxury of not facing them so much.
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#8

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 05:33 AM)SYZ Wrote: honky: noun, plural honkies. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a white person by black persons.

round-eye: noun, plural round-eyes. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —a term used by Asians to refer to a white person of European origin.


Are these just as bad?    If not, why not?    Are these not racial epithets also?

No, because of the power dynamic involved, but yes they are also insults and racial slurs.
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#9

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 05:33 AM)SYZ Wrote: honky: noun, plural honkies. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a white person by black persons.

round-eye: noun, plural round-eyes. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —a term used by Asians to refer to a white person of European origin.


Are these just as bad?    If not, why not?    Are these not racial epithets also?

They are racial epithets, but that does not mean they are "just as bad"...
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#10

[Serious] Singing the N-word
Don't sing. Don't say it. Don't write it. Don't think it.

Unless you are in the privileged group that is allowed to sing, say, write, think it.
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#11

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 05:33 AM)SYZ Wrote: honky: noun, plural honkies. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a white person by black persons.

round-eye: noun, plural round-eyes. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —a term used by Asians to refer to a white person of European origin.


Are these just as bad?    If not, why not?    Are these not racial epithets also?

They would be just as bad if white people had historically suffered systemic abuse and slavery by black people or asians and these words were used to keep white people from bettering themselves.
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#12

[Serious] Singing the N-word
If you write a song, some people are going to sing it. Be flattered. If you don't want people to sing it, don't put it out there.
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#13

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 01:39 PM)Dom Wrote: If you write a song, some people are going to sing it. Be flattered. If you don't want people to sing it, don't put it out there.

Finally, the first honest response directly related to the situation as expressed in the OP.
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#14

[Serious] Singing the N-word
Leave it to Chris Rock

Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#15

[Serious] Singing the N-word
I like grympy's answer a lot. Keeping in mind the social scale and dilemma of racism in the US is really important. Saying "oh well there are other racial slurs, are these not just as bad?" or "well you saw it on tv! that's not real life" is sweeping the issue under the rug, you're looking at the issue in a sense of "why can't I say the N word?" not "why is the N word *hurtful*, even if I am singing a song?" like you should be. If you really want to know why you can't say it or sing it, just ask a variety of people of color, you'll get a variety of answers with the same baseline. I don't have to explain racism, because I think we can all mutually agree that it exists, but I think that the history and continuing existence of racism is the determining factor of why this word is inclusive to people of color. I don't think that "singing along to a song" gives you an excuse to advocate something that is not socially expectable. /shrug
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#16

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 11:37 AM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Don't sing. Don't say it. Don't write it. Don't think it.

Unless you are in the privileged group that is allowed to sing, say, write, think it.

Hubby was teaching Mark Twain's Huckleberry Fin and got into hot water because the N word is used frequently in the book.  The book was one of the first to portray a black man with sympathy and humanity.  It's one of the great American novels.  

Here's what happened.  My husband would preface the book before they began to read it.  He explained the history and times in which it was written.  He spoke about Mark Twain himself and his feelings towards black people.  

Twain wrote in 1885 about African Americans, 
Quote:"We have ground the manhood out of them, & the shame is ours, not theirs; & we should pay for it.''

There was a lot of prep work done by the students BEFORE they read the book  But a black student  transferred into his class after he had already gone through the preface part of the class and when all of a sudden she's reading the book and it has all sorts N words everywhere she went and complained.  The word spread to a local Black pastor and the school board got involved.  Hubby went and pleaded for the book to not be banned and explained it's worth, not just as a wonderful piece of writing but in the depiction of an African man with sympathy and dignity.  But nope, the school board didn't want to stand up to ignorance and simply banned the book. 

Most African American college professors find great worth in the book and teach in their college classes but high schools don't want to deal with the complex issues it brings up so they ban it.
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#17

[Serious] Singing the N-word
An entire group of people has told me that they would prefer it if I did not say ‘x’ because of ‘y’ (y= very reasonable explanation). I consider their request and realize it costs me LITERALLY NOTHING to comply with their reasonable request and so I agree.

It’s no different than using correctly gendered names and pronouns for trans/gender fluid folks. It is so easy to do with truly minimal effort and it shows respect for marginalized groups who don’t get much to begin with.

People who insist they should be allowed to use the N word because..... it exists??..... sound like like people who refuse to learn correct pronouns or someone’s new name to me.
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#18

[Serious] Singing the N-word
It's obviously not racist. But if the people at the bottom of society want to be dumb about it, seems like that's a small concession for being stuck at the bottom of society.

It's one word. I think us white folks can survive without it.
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#19

[Serious] Singing the N-word
Quote:But nope, the school board didn't want to stand up to ignorance and simply banned the book.


Typical of most elected officials.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#20

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 01:00 PM)Mathilda Wrote:
(11-11-2019, 05:33 AM)SYZ Wrote: honky: noun, plural honkies. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a white person by black persons.

round-eye: noun, plural round-eyes. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive —a term used by Asians to refer to a white person of European origin.


Are these just as bad?    If not, why not?    Are these not racial epithets also?

They would be just as bad if white people had historically suffered systemic abuse and slavery by black people or asians and these words were used to keep white people from bettering themselves.

 Just so. Sadly,  Syz hasn't quite grasped the concept of empathy.    Angel
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#21

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 07:24 PM)jerryg Wrote: It's obviously not racist.  But if the people at the bottom of society want to be dumb about it, seems like that's a small concession for being stuck at the bottom of society.

It's one word.  I think us white folks can survive without it.

I can’t tell if you’re implying that people of color are the bottom of society or if I am interpreting this wrong? If I am interpreting wrong I apologize. Additionally, last I checked, a word rooted in the history of slavery and racist atrocities is definitely racist. Just ask any person of color what they feel. 

I live in a predominantly diverse area and I grew up with a very racist white family. I had to learn what racism was and realize racial boundaries on my own because my family was hateful, and southern, and I didn’t want to follow that example. I learned from those around me what systematic racism was, and I learned from my own family that racism is very much still alive. That word is the unspoken word because it is culturally inclusive and harbors a lot of pain when it comes from someone that’s not a poc. I think that many poc would agree that it’s just not okay to sing or say and it’s not my right as non poc to argue that.
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#22

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 09:04 PM)grympy Wrote:  Just so. Sadly,  Syz hasn't quite grasped the concept of empathy.

What?  I thought (hoped LOL) you had me on your ignore list?  
Obviously you can't resist my sparkling repartee.    Tongue
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#23

[Serious] Singing the N-word
And now for a musical interlude:

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#24

[Serious] Singing the N-word
(11-11-2019, 09:38 PM)Ferdinand Wrote:
(11-11-2019, 07:24 PM)jerryg Wrote: It's obviously not racist.  But if the people at the bottom of society want to be dumb about it, seems like that's a small concession for being stuck at the bottom of society.

It's one word.  I think us white folks can survive without it.

I can’t tell if you’re implying that people of color are the bottom of society or if I am interpreting this wrong? If I am interpreting wrong I apologize. Additionally, last I checked, a word rooted in the history of slavery and racist atrocities is definitely racist. Just ask any person of color what they feel. 

I live in a predominantly diverse area and I grew up with a very racist white family. I had to learn what racism was and realize racial boundaries on my own because my family was hateful, and southern, and I didn’t want to follow that example. I learned from those around me what systematic racism was, and I learned from my own family that racism is very much still alive. That word is the unspoken word because it is culturally inclusive and harbors a lot of pain when it comes from someone that’s not a poc. I think that many poc would agree that it’s just not okay to sing or say and it’s not my right as non poc to argue that.

PoC are definitely at the bottom of society.  They get shot up by cops, get the shit schools, went through a bunch of slavery and oppression, and still face a bunch of racism.  They aren't rolling in societal advantages.  I wasn't saying they are doing something wrong, just that they've been getting the short end of the stick.

N-word used in context, definitely racist.  Some white kid singing along to Gold Digger though?  Not really.  PoC can definitely call it racist.  And we can play along.  But it's pretty clearly not.  Music is art.  Singing Golddigger is racist in the same way looking at the Sistine Chapel is porn.  But again, poc have dealt with enough, if they want to call it racist, playing along is literally the least us white folks can do.

Same with black face.  Old Timey Minstrel Shows.  Obviously racist.  But I think we know some Kappa Beta chick going as Slutty Kirby Puckett for Halloween in Minnesota isn't the same thing.  But again, poc have been through some shit, so the least we can do is play along.

A part of playing along, of course, is also pretending like what I'm saying isn't true.  But I think a little leeway to speak freely exists on the internet.

Another comparison to singing along to Golddigger would be actors saying it in movies.  Again, I think art softens a lot of the rules you have in everyday society.
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#25

[Serious] Singing the N-word
I remember Richard Pryor's skit on why it is OK for Black people to use the word nigger and not white people. I agreed with him then and still do. I only use the word nigger in this post because writing "the N-word" is disingenuous. When anyone says or writes "the N-word" (Louis C.K) they put the word "nigger" into other peoples heads so they should be responsible and just own it. Anyway, my son was 14 years old and influenced by Hip Hop culture. He is white. His sister, my daughter is half black. He had two best mates, one Latino, one half Latino/ Black. They were all calling each other "My Niggah" and "Niggy". I told him he needed to stop using those words. He argued that it was common for his generation. I asked him if he heard a skinhead refer to his friend or his sister as a nigger if he would be OK with it. He said no and to his credit he stopped. But if Hip Hop performers are that concerned with white folks singing their lyrics verbatim, perhaps they could subtract the income earned from those white kids and donate to charity or return the money. I have not heard of any artists complaining.
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