10.12.06

Nigga, Please

Last week, Andy Dick went on a comedy stage and tried to make fun of the Michael Richards incident, yelling “You’re all a bunch of niggers!” at the audience. I was not surprised that some people thought Andy Dick wasn't funny. I was surprised when he apologized for the incident the next day. I don’t quite get it. Did he have to apologize because people were upset that he was making fun of Richards? Does the act of calling someone a nigger need to be protected because ridicule of it is offensive to some people?

Now, I’ll admit it. I have used the word nigger before, on this blog even. And I’ll continue to use whatever words I want to. Nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger. I don’t have a problem with the word. So why should anyone else?

Stop getting offended by a simple word. Now, I know, all of you are going to say, “But Steve, it’s not just a simple word.” But it is still just a word. A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, and a nigger by any other name would be just as dark-skinned.

Before you say anything, reread that last sentence and think about whether the statement was accurate or not. Does changing the name you call someone change the color of their skin? That’s all I said.

African-Americans need to stop getting offended by everything. I don’t think anyone should be upset over being called a nigger any more than I think someone (gay or straight) should be upset over being called a fag, or someone being called a liberal. A derogatory word is only derogatory if the person receiving it believes it to be. Calling someone fat is only considered offensive if they are fat and they are ashamed of it. Calling someone a gomeral is only taken offensively if they understand what they were called.

The potential to be offended relies solely on the outlook of the person receiving the comment. The problem exists only in the mind of the person hearing the word, and so it is their responsibility to deal with it.

When you get offended by the use of a word, you validate the use of the word for the person who used it. Saying “the n-word should never be used because it is offensive to African-Americans” is really saying “if you really want to insult or degrade an African-American, just call them a nigger.” To quote Lenny Bruce, "It's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness."

I think the real issue here is that African-Americans still see themselves as victims. And they need to stop. Stop thinking you need to be protected. Stop thinking you need to be given special favors to compete equally. Stop hiding behind the color of your skin as an excuse for low education rates, high poverty rates, and high incarceration rates. The worst result of racism is when individuals on the receiving end believe that they can not rise above the stereotype. I would love to expand on this topic here, and include many more groups, but I won’t here, because this post is about the reaction to the word nigger.

I’ll just say one more thing to end this. Do not tell me that I just don’t understand this problem because I am white. Besides that being a racist statement, it is an attempt to avoid having to back up your opinion. Whether you agree with me or not, and I have a feeling there are a few people who won’t, I have attempted to discuss this issue in an objective matter, and all I ask is that you do the same. Feel free to send as much hate mail as you like. You will only allow me to demonstrate my point. I do ask that you try to be a bit creative with it.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say I think you are wrong. I'm sure there are many words that in the heat of the moment would seriously offend you. Now I have no idea what those words are because I don't know you but I'm sure they exist.

If some guy at a bar is trying to start shit with you and calls you a little bitch won't you react? The words are reactionary more than anything else and yes, that is because we allow them to be, but some words of the English language are just like that. Always have been, always will.

You're saying some group of black guys going off on you and calling you a cracker wouldn't upset you one bit? What Richards did is inexcusable and it's like you're defending him. He said nigger with the intent to hurt and that's what he did. They weren't offended necessarily because of the word he used but the fact that he singled them out.

I'm sure if you ever do run for president they can dig up this post and call you a racist. Of course our current president was addicted to cocaine so I guess it doesn't matter anymore.

17/12/06 15:18  
Blogger Dorshorst said...

First off, there is no "if" I ever do run for president.
Second, I was not defending Richards. I was defending Dick making fun of Richards.
Third, being seen as racist does still influence voters. It's part of why Allen lost in Virginia.

And fourth, your comment might have made some valid points, if addressed to the average person. But you clearly do not know me. I am unoffendable. If you do see me at a bar, don't bother playing Rumplestiltskin. Drinking does reveal who you are deep down, but deep down, I am not an anti-Semite, or a pedophile, or a rapist, or anything else other than what I show the world every day. I still remain the immovable stone.

I believe strongly that what you allow to offend you is entirely within your control. I also think full control over yourself requires one to be on the Middle Path. Saying "Always have been, always will" is much to fatalist for my liking; I prefer to keep hope that things at least can improve.
I am not condoning anyone doing or saying anything maliciously. But I do believe that conflict is a necessary part of life that one must learn to deal with.

I would like to know what exactly in my post it was that you thought was racist. I hope the fact that you chose not to even give a pseudonym does not mean that you will not bother to visit again.

17/12/06 22:34  
Blogger Dorshorst said...

I will also extend an invitation to anyone that does know me to leave a comment here about any time you have ever seen anyone get any sort of reaction out of me.

17/12/06 22:40  
Blogger Erik Opsal said...

That post was actually me (Erik, if it still doesn't work) but with the new beta blogger thing for some reason it didn't register.

I found this to be slightly racist:
"I think the real issue here is that African-Americans still see themselves as victims. And they need to stop. Stop thinking you need to be protected. Stop thinking you need to be given special favors to compete equally. Stop hiding behind the color of your skin as an excuse for low education rates, high poverty rates, and high incarceration rates. The worst result of racism is when individuals on the receiving end believe that they can not rise above the stereotype"

The point of rising above the stereotype is an excellent point, but you come across pretty abrasive at the beginning. I don't necessarily think all black people hide behind the color of their skin as an excuse for low education rates, high poverty rates and high incarceration rates. You must realize that all three of those things are connected and when you're in a hole it's pretty damn hard to get out of it.

The Civil Rights Movement did a lot to dig people out of that hole but you act as though everyone is on level ground. It's not just black people. There are definitely white people living in the ghetto who get a shitty education and then a shitty job and then live in poverty all their life and go to jail. I have some friends at home who probably will never get out of that place and some who probably will end up in jail. Yes, it's possible for them to get out but still, the deck is stacked against them.

Did you know that when Social Security started they actually excluded many jobs that black people worked at from the program? There were and, in some cases, still are institutional barricades to their success.

But like I said, that doesn't mean they can't rise above the stereotype. I just think you discount the roots of that stereotype.

18/12/06 01:30  
Blogger Erik Opsal said...

Oh, and I don't think Andy Dick should have had to apologize. I think him making fun of it is hysterical.

18/12/06 01:34  
Blogger Dorshorst said...

I think one of my main points was missed, probably because I didn't express is very clearly. People are generally offended when someone touches on an insecurity of theirs. I am saying no one should view their race as a disadvantage. Being of a certain race does not make one stupid, or poor, or anything else. Organizations like the NAACP that focus on race distract us from the real reasons for inequalities that we should be working to change- issues that we can change (most people can’t change their race).

And not all African-Americans have this problem, I don't want to generalize.

18/12/06 18:23  
Blogger Erik Opsal said...

That's a good thing to clarify because it didn't necessarily come across that way.

18/12/06 20:09  

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