Are you THAT nigga?

READER ADVISORY: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE

“What ya’ll really want from a nigga?” – DMX.

“I’m ride for motherf __kin’ nigga… my nigga, my nigga…” – YG feat – Jeezy.

“Light nigga, dark nigga, house nigga, field nigga… still nigga…” — Jay Z.

Why do we as Black people continue to use this derogatory and painful word? To say this word with an ‘a’ on the end of it, is a way for Black people to turn a negative into a positive is quite frankly, the most insensitive and ignorant bullshit I’ve ever heard.

My 94-year-old grandmother did not go through being called ‘nigger’ by White people, or clean up after those same White people, for this generation to just throw that word around like it doesn’t have power. Whether it has an ‘a’ or ‘er’ on the end does not matter. I’m not your nigga; I’m not a nigger; I’m a Black woman who knows better.

When are my other Black men and women willing to bury this damn word? I’m sick of hearing people say it. I even hear children say it along with rap lyrics, and quite frankly, it disgusts me.

Who came up with the bright idea, “Hey, let’s take our word back. Let’s turn a negative into a positive.” That sounds so fucking ignorant.

First off, it was never ‘our’ word. White people, the Massa and the Missus, called us that to degrade us—to make us feel less than human. That word is like a cannon and either way you use it, packs a lot of punch.

I remember the first time being called a ‘nigger.’ I was in the seventh grade. This boy came up to me and said directly to my face, “Monique, I don’t know what you people want to be called, coon, darkie, nigger, but I need you to tell the Black boys not to talk to my girlfriend anymore.”

I remember exactly how I felt. I felt hurt and angry. I knew that was a bad word. I wasn’t even allowed to say it in my household. If I did, I always got smacked in the mouth by either parent. I remember exactly what I said.

I calmly told the boy: “Well first of all, you can call me Monique and get the fuck out of my face.” His once pale face turned beat red as he went to tell the teacher on me.

She made me pull one card, but he had to pull two. Each student was given five cards for the week, whoever had all of their cards at the end of the week, got a surprise. That was it. He had to pull two cards for calling me a filthy name. Nothing was ever done about this incident. I did, however, tell my mom. She went to the school and we’ll just say, the boy was pulled from my class.

I say all of this to ask “do you really want to be someone’s nigga/nigger?” I don’t care if it’s your homeboy, your best friend, or your cousin. If they call you their motherf__kin’ nigga, you should be offended. You should treat it just as if a White person has called you a nigger. During slavery, slaves started calling each other that word. Is that how you want to be remembered? As a slave, a nigga?

In the words of James Baldwin, “I’m not a nigger. I’m a man [woman]. If I’m not the nigger here, and if you invented him, you the White people invented him, then you have to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that. Whether or not it is able to ask that question.”