Straight No Chaser: The N-Word

By Desi Cortez
Updated: November 15, 2008

DENVER — Kerry Collins, current starting QB for the Tennesse Titans……(and that’s a temporary thing) has been reincarnated.

I work in a middle school, which is predominantly Afro-American, but if I were to ask well over half the Black students enrolled there, they might tell you there’re Niggers, or rather Nigga’s, not Afro-American.

I’ve had that theory broken down and explained to me a few dozen times over the last almost five years I’ve been working there. Ignorantly, they contend there’s a difference. But, then again, far too many of our Afro-American kids also refer to White teachers, Latino students, and White students as …..Nigga’s.

My Black students toss around the word Nigga’ in the same fashion we of the 70’s employed “man” or “dude”. They’re every-other word is …. Nigga. “No Nigga, yeah Nigga’, C’mon Nigga”. Nigga please……”It’s endless. Boys use it, girls use it. Guys call girls Nigga…..

I pulled playground duty for a few years, and White folks would be out jogging or walking the dog around our large mile-wide fields, and our kids, vastly black, would be screaming ” Ah Nigga’ shoot, pass, throw the ball nigga’. White folks” walking by in ear shot – always seemed confused, taken -aback by such lingo.

Sure, I placed countless numbers, I don’t even know how many kids, male and female against the wall, sent them inside, took away their lunches, lectured them to I was silly…… to no avail.

Older Black folks walking by would stop, ask me why they talk like that, why we let them? I’d have to point out we take a number of steps to address it. But we’d have to send home a few dozen a day, everyday, with parents back up at school protesting, telling the Principle how White washed and out-touch the Uncle Tom’s are on his staff

Ah Mr. Cortez, Nigga aint no cuss word, my momma said so.

Ah, Mr Cortez, stop tripping, my momma uses Nigga all the time.

Ah Mr Cortez, my grandma said we is Niggas…..

Mr. Cortez, where you from? You ain’t all Black is you, cause if you was, you’d be knowing dat Nigga ain’t no cuss word.

Do you know how many times I’ve explained how “maybe your grandmother was riding home on the bus, tired from doing the only job available to colored women in 1955, and the Bus driver might say, all you Niggers get up and give your seat to those men”…..

I explain to them the Chris Rock Theory…. I love Black people, I hate niggers.

Black people, we the hard working, decent Black folk, we live in fear of Niggers, because niggers don’t venture across the Parkway to terrorize middle class white neighborhoods…. They instead destroy their own communities, preying upon your grandmother or sister, my kid or your kid.

Nonetheless, they hold fast to defining themselves as Nigga’s and referring to ol’ Polish men as Niggas….Jewish ladies, Japanese kids, everybody’s a Nigga’.it’s pathetic.

It’s so apparent their parents, preachers and the rest of the village has failed to teach far too many of this era, who they are, where they come from, and where they’ve been….so they’ve no concept, no idea where they’re going, and there dialect illustrates just that….in vivid inglorious Ebonics.

So, let’s keep in mind, Kerry Collins, once addicted to firewater, might have, in an effort to “be down” with his fellow teammates, decided it was acceptable if he, as the lone white boy in the crowd, use the term Nigga’ too.

I seriously doubt that.

I’d imagine Collins used the term in-private; it was most likely used in his home by his parents, uncles and aunts, so on. His White friends tossed it around. Please, tragically the word Nigger is as American as apple pie, Corvettes, Coke…. Collins was accused of also insulting Latinos, so he had some racial issues.

Nevertheless, Collins was, in part, playing along with the clowns.

Yet, Black American culture of today has marginalized the horror tied to the word. Their infatuation with, the relentless usage of the term creates an un-called for debate if the actual term, “Nigger” cuts through to the average Black person’s soul?

Undoubtedly it no longer does. True, when someone who’s not Black utters the word in front of Blacks – we snap, but that’s out of principal, not out of “oh my god, I haven’t heard that word in……20 minutes, not since I turned off the TV.”

There’s no question in my mind why Black kids use the word.

One, contemporary Black Culture says – it’s OK, Black music and movies say Nigger, bitch, ho, and mo-fo are essential words in the Black American vernacular.

Two, the Black family/neighborhood says it’s OK, and if we, as a people, don’t outright condone it, our silence on the matter does. Our arguments regarding it, debating what “Nigga” really means – lends the whole nigger crowd legitimacy.

Why is it few, if any other group insults and belittles themselves racially like black Americans do? Let me tell you why, at least in part. No other group was stripped and broken as we were…..we still don’t like ourselves, we still believe half the lies White folks have leveled against us.

Can you say Willie Lynch?

Collins was simply acting as ignorant as his some of his Black teammates.

Talking like them. I don’t forgive him, but I think the reputation, the Jr. KKK brand he was tagged with – is exaggerated, the issues behind it – a slight bit more complicated than his standing dictates.

I ‘don’t think I want to hear what White reporters and coaches hear when they are surrounded by young Black men in locker rooms, practice fields or game situations.

I’m sure I’d be both embarrassed and pissed off at the shuckin’ & jivi’in some of these clowns try to pass off as a Black thang……And what culturally ignorant White folks are willing to pass off as Black Culture.

Kerry Collins is trying to still dig himself out of….just trying to be one of the boys.