Nigger (Part 10145) Nigga (Part 27)


By:CityFella

The world stopped for a brief moment.

For a few seconds the people in Concourse B, at the busy Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between Gates 23 and 25 was in a state of suspended animation after two white girls screamed  there’s my nigga to a black girl.   The white girls had that suburban air about them.  Its not uncommon to hear non whites using nigga in the city.  But these girls had that Forever 21 look about them that screamed suburb.    Their look and their words didn’t match.

For a brief second, the world stopped.    The three twenty-somethings girls hugged-rocked, jumped, kissed and cried.

As I looked around the terminal, it was clear many people were uncomfortable.  Black and white.     The majority of the workers at the airport are African American.   Some of the black women whispered uh uh, no to their co-workers .    Most of the white passengers in ear shot where uncomfortable, some perplexed, others clearly angry.    However, many of the young travelers were unfazed.

I continue to be amazed by the divide. Young vs older.    Case in point, I was watching a repeat of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel taped last month.

The issue was LA Clippers forward Matt Barnes use of Nigger or Nigga.  Barnes, 33 was fined by the NBA and after the fine he said he would continue to use the word.

“The word I used is a word that’s used on the court, used in the locker room, used amongst my friends and family; it’s a regular word to me,” Barnes said. “I think my mistake was using it in a social manner, which I regret and I apologize for it. But you guys have to get used to it.”

“I think the way it’s said makes people cringe,” Barnes said. “I think if you put an -er at the end, that makes people cringe, but if there’s an -a at the end, that’s like people saying ‘bro.’ That’s just how we address people now. That’s how we address our friends. That’s how we talk. That’s how my wife talks. That’s how my family talks. People talk that way now. I think if you put the -er on it, it’s offensive, and if you have an -a on it, it’s more slang.”

This is 65 years old Bryant Gumbel response on Real Sports

“So for the jocks of all colors, I’d like to offer a few guidelines or personal truths gleaned from over 40 years in locker rooms and 65 years of being black.

“Truth number one. No matter what color you are, no one can give you a pass to say the word. Not once, not ever. Passes don’t exist and you shouldn’t even want one.

“Truth number two. Be smart. Using the n-word says a lot about you and none of it is good. It just advertises your ignorance.

“Truth number three. Pronouncing it with an ‘a’ after the ‘double g’ in the word because you’re with your boys makes you no more ‘with it’ than the clown who pronounces it with the ‘-er.’

“Truth number four. Being young is not an excuse. The word’s use as a weapon to define, demean, and destroy millions of people should never be forgotten. If you need help remembering, check out the new film ‘12 Years a Slave‘ and you will never view the N-Word the same way again.

“Lastly, stop believing in fairy tales. That old kids’ line: ‘Sticks and stone may break your bones, but words can never hurt you?’ Not true.”

I’m closer to Gumbel in age and word troubles me.

Nigger is exclusive, a negative, with a history of pain associated with the word.

Nigga, ins’t exclusive, it can be humorous, and often associate with love.

Black people may own the copy write  but are often willing to share the word with others outside the circle.  There is an understanding.

Earlier this year in the ICU waiting room of UC Davis Medical Center, I witnessed a group of white kids crying about their Nigga, their friend and greeting others ” How’s my Nigga-or that my Nigga.

Through the eyes of my daughter and other young people I am hopeful.

Hopeful in time, nigger will not have the power it has today.      Because of my history with Nigger I will never feel comfortable with either version of the word.        What I saw in Concourse B was love from a word rooted in hate, three young women who cared for each other.

What the world needs now………

Published by CityFella

Moved to the Big Tomata in the nineties from San Francisco. No Suburbs for me with its single colored houses and lawns and the excitement of pulling out my trash can once a week. I'm a CityFella , a part time New Yorker. I'm happiest in the Center City where people the streets and people are alive. I'm still waiting to buy a 34th floor condo somewhere downtown/Midtown with a nightclub. "Hurry I'm old" My politics are somewhere in the middle with a needle that constantly moves. I'm too liberal to be a Republican and too conservative to be a Democrat. Everything interests me . I've come to love Sacratomato, Its a nice town in cheap sensible shoes .

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