It was about 2 years ago, I was walking home from working a late shift. There’s some white guy, visibly drunk was stumbling a few feet ahead of me on my street. He kept looking back at me, I didn’t pay him no mind.
“You following me”
I ignore him.
“Yo whats your deal stop following me”
This time I respond “dude I’m not following you”
“All i know if i turn around again I better not see your big black face”
I keep walking, he stops and turns around, I stop and stare right back at him
“You think you’re tough nicker”
It didn’t register at first, maybe I heard him wrong
“Stop following me nipple, you think you Biggie Sma-”
I hit him once, he dropped, I walked right over him and headed to my apartment. Didn’t care who saw, didn’t care if he was still sleeping there when morning came. This was a year before Trayvon, didn’t even think if he had anything on him. It was just instinct, he happened to call me the n word but he could’ve called me anything and probably sparked that same reaction. But of all words, that word, to my face, I just…reacted.
Flash back 2 more years, I’m called a ninja by another white guy, this time the instinctive swing, a dap. He was my friend, dare I say my nickel. He swore he was part mexican but I doubt it, either way I wasn’t policing him. He wasn’t disrespecting me, more likely he got it from me, or Chappelle’s Show, whatever. He wasn’t from the hood, rock a low caesar with a bunch of tats, and damn sure wasn’t a mexican. Just a friend who picked up on some of my lingo. Just as my other friends did, I had a lot of nicknames and words for things back then, I was weird.
I never felt it was my personal responsibility to check his or others usage of the word. Just like other ignorant things we say, there’s a time and place. It’s more or less common sense. I personally cringe when anyone tries to intelluctualize the n word, to me it’s silly. We’re not taking the power back, going against the grain.It’s an ignorant word, a slur, a curse and really shouldn’t be used by anyone. I say that yet I use it. I do a lot things I know I shouldn’t. I ain’t sh t. “Nibble” just rolls off the tongue sometimes, don’t belee me juh watch. It’s a noun, verb, adjective, common name, it just works. Nevertheless, I know better, I know my views are not someone elses and so as far as my own usage or even broaching this topic i tread lightly.
I just feel there’s so many more conversations to be had within the black community than the usage of one word. Especially in light of when white celeb X says it. Paula “I is what I is” Deen is just woefully ignorant and out of touch. I laugh in the face of ignorance, like Simba does danger. (Seriously #pauladeensbestdishes gotta be one of the funniest social media moments ever) The issue is when said ignorance is in a position of power, which led to the discrimination and abuse that brought all of this to light in the first place, not her vocabulary. Yet the n word is center stage again, not the dangerous views behind its inappropiate use.
Going back to years ago, as I said he could’ve called me anything. My issue was that he took a look at a young black man in a decent area and assumed I didn’t belong. That I was supposed to cower because of his mere presence. It felt good to knock him out, better to pull out my keys and walk into my house. He tried to take my power I took it right back, no word can ever do that.