Poor Michael Richards
He must have thought he was a rapper…
Or a Black comedian…
Or one of my children...
The word nigga as used in hip hop culture is different from the word nigger recently used by Michael Richards in his infamous tirade. This position is supported by both my kids, one twenty-two and the other twenty-nine. Oh, woe is me!
Nigga, niggaz, niggah—doesn’t matter how you trick it out, spell it any way you want to—it’s still the same word. It has the same grandpappy—the word nigger.
Nigger is a hateful word. Bloodied and hateful.
It probably was the last thing heard by those thousands of Black folk, men, women, and children, who were lynched in this country over the past centuries.
I’ve heard it argued that we can reclaim the word, desensitize it. Why bother? Give self hate a rest. Aren’t there more worthy things to reclaim. Why not reclaim a whole language? Yoruba, for starters, then move on to Bambara.
As for the furor Richards has unleashed, the only thing I can say is—Ninja please!