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GunnShots: Straight From The Hip ! - by Mark Gunn

"We Have A Nigger In The White House..."

November 16th 2008 18:28
Now that I have your attention, here's a question. Who do you think would be more likely to make such an ignorant statement ? Would it be some White redneck racist or some ignorant Black person who blindly thinks that the word "nigger" is a term of endearment ?

The sad reality is that it would be both, which brings me to the actual point of this blog. Tracey and I attended an "Obama Victory Celebration" last night at the home of a married couple we're very close to.

There were people we haven't seen in a long time and so there were hugs and kisses all around. We were there barely 5 minutes when I was greeted by a friend of mine , a White woman in her 40's, who hugged me and said "where's my nigger ?".


Now it has to be understood that this woman spends a lot of time around Blacks and somehow, misguidedly so, feels comfortable enough to use "nigger" in her ever day language and seems to have a very distorted view of what Black culture is and isn't. My reply to her was "I don't where he is, but I'm here.", meaning that I am not, nor have I ever been anyone's "nigger". I was highly offended, but didn't want to let that spoil the rest of what turned out to be a fun evening.

My point is this. There are those of us who've always had a very strong sense of pride in who we are and have never tolerated anything in the way of disrespect. We've been just as hard on Blacks and Whites who would try to refer to us by anything less than who we are. I would also imagine that our Prresident, Barack Obama, has the same mindset. He would have to or he wouldn't have been able to achieve what he has.

Obama's presidency has already had a profound effect on the lives of some young Black men. They've chosen to leave behind a juvenile lifestyle (pseudo thuggery, pants sagging, bitch assery nonsense) and to clean up their act. They now feel that America is finally making an investment in them and they see that by working hard, they can reap the rewards.


I have the distinct feeling that you'll see a lot of that coming out of Black America and it's up to those of us that have already gained a measure of success to encourage these changes and to offer any kind of guidance we can. It is also up to all of us to keep our achievements and gains in self respect from being reduced or negated altogether by those that don't agree with our desire to be better than we are or those that've been brainwashed in distorted cultural ignorance. Really now, what self - respecting Black man or woman would allow themselves to be referred to as "nigger" ? You may as well get down on all fours and start barking like some dog.

Bottom line: Just as you would never call the President Of The United States a "nigger", you won't call me or mine "nigger" either. How can you respect his milestone achievement on one hand and then ignorantly use a word that embodies the worst in the very country he's been chosen to lead ?
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60 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Lady Henrietta Muddling

November 16th 2008 18:55
Tarantino?

I'd be interested as to your thoughts about the film Pulp Fiction.

Comment by Damo

November 16th 2008 20:56
Interesting post.

Personally I am colour blind. I just see another candidate that happen to be elected.

And I do have reservations about symbolic leaders as opposed to those with substance.



Comment by Yoipi

November 16th 2008 22:12
Strong statement but you must realize what nigger means. "Nigger" derives from the word niggard, which means someone of a low miserable status and in the time of slavery Africans then were seen as niggers because of there position as machinary for agriculture and force to live a depressing life. In our modern day we move further and further away from those gloomy days and African-Americans now still feels the after effects and so still the two races use the word to identify African-Americans. My point is that there isn't anyone that holds true to the meaning of that word. Thus, though the word has a powerful affect on a great number of peoples' minds the word nigger is worthless and unnecessary to take offense.

Comment by Cibbuano

November 16th 2008 22:44
It's a tough line - on one hand, I love the idea that the vile words in the English language can be recast as words of affection. Basically, you strip them of their power, especially when white teenagers so desperately want to be someone's 'nigga'.

But, in terms of historical context, its a word of such offense and anger that it should never be used inappropriately.


Comment by Earl Leonard

November 16th 2008 23:31
Yoipi the word nigger doesn't come from niggard, thats just a conincedental near-homophone.

Nigger is just a slang term developed from Negro (spannish/portuguese) which in turn derives from Niger, the latin for black (french is Noir) to refer to dark skinned people. Apparently, back in the day, it wasnt though to specifically be negative term, but was often used as such of course, and prgressively developed negative conotations (as tends to happen with words associated with minorities & the disenfranchised- such as how `Bimbo' used to just mean young woman and Retarded was the accepted medical term, but now both are thought of & used as insults).

Furthermore Niggard, from the norse Nig (which means stingy) doesn't even mean `of low status'! But rather `miserly'.

So, while Im not sure where you got your information (I've got an etymological dictionary at home, and have looked up this word previously) I think you may have to rethink your position.

As for whether its usage should be stamped out entirely, well, I believe that just as words can take on negative conotations it is possible for a word to take on possitive conotations or to lose their negative conotations via disassociation (such as how `sissy' isnt seen as being a serious insult anymore, even though its origin's as a word- the dominated male in a prison sex act- is fairly serious!) and that if some members of the African American community want to use the word to self identify possitively it is their perogative to do so. However, as is the thrust of Mr. Gunn's article (hello Mark, nice to meet you. Thanks for an itneresting post!) that raises the question of `ownership' of terminology... (if its ok to use the `n-word' if you're black, but not if you're white, is that racist in itself? What about `fag'? etc) which is obviously a tricky issue.

I use the following rule: "Its okay to wana be like Samuel L. Jackson, as long as you remember that copying someone elses idiom isn't something someone as cool as Samuel L. Jackson would do, and that you're not as badass as him yet, either way, so mind what you say around other people regardless."

Comment by RubySoho

November 17th 2008 00:41
Fag, nigger, wog. Isn't the whole point that the minorities who have been labelled as such are reclaiming these words as their own to deprive them of their power to hurt, insult and belittle?

I'm quite happy to refer to myself as a wog. 20 years ago, that word was just about the most hurtful thing you could say to me. Now, after 2 decades of incorporating it into the everyday lexicon, you call anyone a wog and you are likely to get a shrug and a puzzled look that reads, um, yeah, what's your point?

I can understand that you have a problem with a white person calling you a 'nigger' but maybe you could accept that some people deliberately refer to themselves as such, not because they see themselves as dogs but because they are taking away the power of the word. or more to the point, they are redefining it.

Comment by Lilla

November 17th 2008 01:22
Ruby, Hahaha I have also walked that wog line.. too funny because as a wog in England, I came here to be called a Pomme bastard and a wog depending on the superior one calling the shots!


Mark,

personally I dont like the word. I find it derogatory as it is a term used to address a slave from an era that is as dead as slavery itself. But tell me, do you prefer Black, or negro man, or is there another term that more aptly addresses a man of African descent in America today.

It is the same to me as people who call my daughter a cripple. A term used by those who still see a punishing God who strikes down wicked people with such calamity, rather than being merely disabled or physically challenged as part of an individual karma/ life lesson/blessing.

I guess its a matter of personal opinion, although there does seem to be a trend here away from such derogatory words, leaving only a handful of ignorant people who probably still call every German they meet a Nazi?

A really interesting post and question, good luck finding the answers.

Lilla ...

Comment by Neems

November 17th 2008 06:01
Interesting post!

I'm of Indian heritage and therefore our label is CURRY or curry-muncher.

Personally, I do my very best not to tag anyone because I really don't believe you give someone a fair go if you chuck them into a category.

The first time I heard the word "curry" was from a group of Indians. Which I found interesting. I guess in my head, I can't really chastise someone else for using that word when it's been thrown around so freely within Indian people.

I wonder how just because you are Indian- is it really any less derogatory to use it when we know others use it with more of a malicious intent behind the word.

I agree with you on that one. And I agree with Cibbuano about stripping the meaning of the "label" when used lightly and often.

I think I'm still deciding on exactly where i stand with this.

i'm rambling- I'm on 4 hours sleep today so if this comment makes no sense, it's because of that.

Neems *yawn*


Comment by Janet Collins

November 17th 2008 21:28
Unlike everyone else who seems to have commented on here, I am just plain, boring, anglo. In fact, the nearest I come to anything else is Irish (great grandfather).

I do agree with Ruby's comments on "wog". It used to be extremely offensive but now former southern european people refer to themselves - even proudly - as "wogs".

The word "nigger" still sounds pretty offensive to me. In Aboriginal culture in Australia it is quite common for them to refer to themselves as "black fellas" even though I would feel uncomfortable doing this myself. The older more derogatory term "Abo" is still regarded as deeply offensive.

Good post.

Comment by D. Armenta

November 17th 2008 23:01
Racism is partially defined as "judging a person based upon the color of their skin."

That's a pretty broad term..for instance, if I had voted for President-elect Obama based solely on the fact that he's part black, that would make me and anyone else who did that a racist too.

By the way, what the hell is a "wog"?? When I was in the U.S. Navy, a "slimy wog" was a sailor who had never crossed the equator..

Comment by RubySoho

November 17th 2008 23:59
Haha D. The term 'wog' is most likely derived from the black faced Golliwog doll in the late 19th Century book. It was a derogatory term used in AUstralia to refer to immigrants from southern Europe (mainly Italy and Greece and later Lebanon).

Up until the late 80s it was pretty much only used by white people to insult ethnic minorities until a group of young Greek actors and comedians put on a stage show called "Wogs Out Of Work". It toured the country and became unbelievably popular spawning TV shows and a movie. And suddenly all across Australia young Greeks and Italians and Lebanese started calling themselves (and each other) wogs and suddenly the word didn't mean the same thing anymore.

I remember the transition. I remember the first time I was ever called a wog. I was on a school excursion in the city and there was another group of kids from some other school with fancy uniforms and one of them, a guy, who didn't know me from a bar of soap called out as I passed "fucking wog". I think I was about 12? He was older. What a thing to say to someone you don't know. Fucking wog. Do you think words can never hurt you? Try those ones on for size. It seemed so unreal. I lived in a multicultural working class neighborhood so I'd never seen that sort of racism before. It really was like being punched in the stomach.

I think that'[s why the 'wogs out of work' guys just latched onto that word. They took such a huge risk and it paid off. In more ways than one.

Comment by D. Armenta

November 18th 2008 01:08
Good for them!

Lenny Bruce tried a similar tactic here--defusing a word's power by constant repetition until it became a nonsense word--but naturally a lot of people never got it. Richard Pryor did the same, with mixed results.

People say they were "ahead of their time" now, but I wonder..they'd probably get a worse reception now than they did in the 60s-70s.

Comment by colocountry

November 18th 2008 11:40
Well done all on some interesting reflections. Somewhat intriguing that we all come back to euphemisms that capture but a small part of the extent of the degradation of those alien to us. Perhaps it is part of the human condition that we heap manure upon those we least understand?! I am fascinated by Obama's success and I hope that he is given a considerable period of time to establish himself in the warmth of a Whitehouse' morning before he is judged to be ill-fitted to such a lofty office. After all, his predecessor hardly was a lighthouse in foreign or domestic policy.
Col

Comment by D. Armenta

December 8th 2008 21:57
HEY ANONYMOUS!!

WHEN DOES THE SEASON OPEN FOR KNUCKLE-DRAGGING IGNORAMI LIKE YOURSELF OPEN?

I WANT TO BE SURE AND GET MY PERMIT EARLY!!

Comment by Janet Collins

December 9th 2008 11:46
Anon, Anon and "Obama is a Nigger"

What a bunch of charmers you are! Maybe you should give each other your emails so you can get together. Now that would be a good party wouldn't it?

And one- a member of the clergy.....really?

Comment by D. Armenta

December 9th 2008 13:57
"Retrobate"? Hahahahahaha!!!!! Priceless.

Anons., get your facts straight. I voted for that "Ay-rab" Ralph Nader.

Comment by colocountry

December 10th 2008 10:46
Just when you thought that there was intelligent life on this planet! There is no explanation for the degree of vitriolic hubris vented with no substantial, rational supportive statements. If an alien source was monitoring this conversation then it would conclude that some were primaevial.

Comment by D. Armenta

December 10th 2008 14:49
Kids, CC. Not one of them over 18, I'm willing to bet.

Ah, yes..the children are the future....

Comment by D. Armenta

December 11th 2008 21:26
Hey--anonymous angry bogan--just exactly who are you addressing in these comments, anyway?

Comment by colocountry

December 14th 2008 07:54
I've been staring at the recent comments frrom D Parmenta...I hope that person is not challenging me as the 'anonymous' low life..that would be sad. I really dont see much intelligent debate emanating from that direction. Question..do you fear an intellectual argument or would you rather slander in broad brush strokes? Either way, the logic would be considered flawed by even primaty students studying basic logic. Please, come up with a substantial, coherent platform that outlines your contentions.
Col

Comment by Earl Leonard

December 14th 2008 22:54
Um, colocountry, I think D. Armenta was responding to the all caps bizzarre angry rants- that I wont even call racist because they were too stupid to even be granted a lable- that have since been deleted, not you. She was addressing the`they're kids' statement towards you not about you, and was agreeing with you that they weren't making any sense.

They seemed to not understand that Mr Gunn is a black man himself, and in a perfectly reasonable position- completely seperate from any form of possible liberal guilt- to object to being called a nigger by a white woman, even in a friendly manner (its called historical context people! That's why things mean something different when said by a white vs a black person, or man vs a woman etc. It's not that complicated a concept!). Not that one needs to be black to have such an objection (empathy/solidarity etc perfectly reasonable starting points for a moral objection) but one of the all caps ranters seemed to think that. So, yep, they were being incredibly non-sensicle even for a... see I cant even think of a descriptive term that's appropriate.

I actually object to the terms `Redneck' and `Bogan' being used to descibe those so bereft of thoughtful social-conscious as plenty of Rednecks and Bogans- in the original uses of the social slang- are quite nice and considerate. Being poor and or southern/workingclass/western suburban etc doesn't automatically make you a racist and being uneducated isn't the same as being ignorant.

Man, I out liberal myself sometimes.

Comment by Useful info

December 15th 2008 22:22
To whom it may concern,

Really Long Link

Comment by Damo

December 16th 2008 06:12
8D8 is a neo-Nazi code word if remember correctly.

We had Nazis on Orble once before and they were deleted.

Mark welcome to the world of blogging.
Volume 100%
IQ 0%

Comment by D. Armenta

December 16th 2008 22:00
Colocountry--obviously the remarks I was responding to have been deleted, so I'll bite back the first answer that came to mind with that snotty comment you left at me. If Earl Leonard could figure it out, I'm sure you can too if you read instead of skim.

As for my use of "bogan"--if the shoe fits, I'll put it on the guilty party. Comments like the deleted ones were ignorant stupidity at its finest, which happens to fit the definition of the word "bogan" as I understand it. Economic or social class has nothing to do with it.

What a humorless, touchy lot everyone's turned into. This isn't fun anymore.

Comment by colocountry

December 18th 2008 09:09
D Parmenta,
You're right, it is becoming tedious. I can't tell if there have been deleted blogs from lunatics, but you may notice that there is a difference between a polite inquiry and a blistering venting of spleen. I'm glad that Orble has the facility and the will to shaft comments that are vitriolic and inciteful. Apologies if my lack of Orble savvy has caused misgivings.
Col

Comment by D. Armenta

December 18th 2008 21:41
No harm, CC.

I'm taking a break from Orble but wanted to respond to you. Thanks.

Comment by D. Armenta

January 1st 2009 23:07
P.E. Obama is quite well-educated, so your use of the word "nigger" is misplaced, anonymous bogan.

Comment by RubySoho

January 2nd 2009 00:01
Barack Obama = "the most popular President elect in history" (SBS World News).


Comment by Damo

January 2nd 2009 01:26
Wow is that Anon still carrying on?
Sounds to me that he is frightened that he may have a bit a coloured blood in him. Defensive, very defensive.

Comment by RubySoho

January 10th 2009 03:53
Anonymous, please tell us again what you meant when you said "America has been dumbed down".

Comment by Anonymous

January 12th 2009 22:01
Foolish anonymi.

It's not a matter of color any longer. It's a matter of haves and have-nots--and you, me, the guy who wrote this article, all of our families and friends--are have-nots.

Time to stop attacking each other and start paying attention to what is being done in our government and our constitution, if you're American.

The next wars will be in Pakistan, Africa and/or Iran. Media focus will be shifted to China and Russia, and we will be at war for many many years. You will serve as soldiers, and your children too if we don't educate ourselves and work together to stop the corporate fascism that is being gradually implemented in our own government.

D. Armenta, still on break.

Comment by Anonymous

January 12th 2009 23:21
words are BS. If someone says a WORD and you are "Offended", your stupid.

on the other hand, if the majority of a people gets violently active and reacts as such to hearing a word, they are much worse than stupid.

i know lots of people, and i do not respect those who take offense to LANGUAGE.

Comment by Earl Leonard

January 13th 2009 03:14
If taking offence (an emotional reaction) to a word is stupid, then taking pleasure or finding humor or being surprised or being engrossed by words (again, emotional reactions) is also stupid. So are you, anonymous trying to say that everyone who laughs at a comedy skit or reads a book or has a conversation with a friend is stupid? Words are our PRIMARY COMMUNICATION TOOL (check it out I can use alol caps too!) and often all we have to convey our beliefs and intent. Words convey beliefs and what more carry the burden (and benefit) of historical context. If you can not understand that then YOU'RE more than stupid, YOU'RE willfully ignorant. (But then again, I'd deduced that already).

Earl

Comment by tibor

January 22nd 2009 13:01
I'm white, but I was born and grew up in Africa. And the lady you are depicting is, in fact, a racist. I know that. She's not only disrepectful, she's also a racist. When I was 20 and stupid, I used to call my black friends "nègre" which is french for nigger, although a little softer. Now I'm 42 and still stupid, but I regret it, and I don't call friends like that anymore. It's not a question of color, it's a question of honor. Of respect.


Comment by Anonymous

March 31st 2009 15:04
Racists people don't deserve to be heard or payed attention too.

Its very simple. Anyone who disrespects another human living sould do to skin color/ race.. is not worthy of been considered a matured and wise individual.

To me Obama, just fits the bill as our President. He is smart and looks like a man who can turn things around.

Anyone who dislikes a person because of skin pigmentation, race or whatever...is not worthy of any repect.

Comment by Earl Leonard

April 13th 2009 23:47
Well, thats a bit simplistic anonymous. Many people are raised in a situation where overcoming racial bias on their own would be extremely difficult. While a terrible thing that one negative characteristic- that they may possibly learn of the error of their ways sometime in the future- in about a person should override all their other good qualities, and potential for other positive actions, in your eyes is a bit of a shame. What if someone worked tirelessly in say the wfield of womens health, but didnt like Japanese people because they were born in a WW2 `comfort girls' camp or something? Life is always more complex than your blanket `not worthy of any respect' statement would sugest.

Comment by Anonymous

June 15th 2009 16:30
2 words, affirmative action.....

Comment by Anonymous

December 1st 2009 03:59
Ruby Soho: Prerogative.

Comment by Anonymous

December 1st 2009 03:59
Ruby Soho: Prerogative.

Comment by Anonymous

December 1st 2009 04:00
Ruby Soho: Prerogative.

Comment by Anonymous

December 1st 2009 04:00
Ruby Soho: Prerogative.

Comment by Anonymous

December 1st 2009 04:00
Ruby Soho: Prerogative.

Comment by Anonymous

December 1st 2009 04:00
Ruby Soho: Prerogative.

Comment by ICYNDICY

January 18th 2010 05:38
I'll tell you one thing! People of color have no excuse to be lazy or martyrs anymore. The richest woman in entertainment is a black woman and there is a black man sitting in the White house. No more of this...I didn't get a chance coz I'm black! Time to take the chip of the shoulder! NO MORE EXCUSES! You wanted change, well you got it. Now stop crying racism this, racism that whilst you go around calling each other nigger this and nigger that. Shut up already and change yourself!

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

January 20th 2010 02:48
Wow.......can't I put my two cents in? When the black folks stop calling themselves "niggas" - that's when it';s time to stop calling them niggers. Seems to be a loving term to many of them. Fine with me - have it your way...............

Comment by Anonymous

July 5th 2012 11:31
Nigger is derived from Niger, which is where so many of your fellow niggers sold each other into slavery.

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