Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rush Limbaugh says he has the right to say Nigga

Rush Limbaugh wants the right to use that word.  He says since black folks use it, why can’t he.

Go ahead and use it Rush.

“What’s up my Nigga?”

How does it feel?  Liberating?  Justified?  Affirmed” 

Does it renew days with two entries – one with Black on the door and the other with White?

Do you get excited at the thought of all-white schools and work settings with only white men wearing suits and ties with a grin that declares “Nigga take your ass down the street?’

Deep breath Rush.  Does it feel good?

I could replay, “kiss my ass cracker” or  “you racist mother…shut your mouth.”

My mama taught me the lesson about sticks and stones and breaking bones.  Words can only penetrate so deep.  The real power of words comes when we give them power.

That’s what Nigger does.  It resurrects memories like the first time I saw a burning cross.  I’m reminded of the time three white kids threw me into a tree, kicked me in the side, spit on me after calling me Nigger.

I have a long history with the N-word.  It’s interesting that despite how much I’ve heard it over the years it’s a taboo for people to say Nigger.  It’s too dreadful to say.  Saying it takes people back to a time when the word brought the type of pain that felt like an ass whipping for no reason.

Nigger had power back then.

“Get out of my way Nigger,”  you hear that?

“Yessum,” followed by an obedient step to the side. You feel that?

“What you doing here Nigger,” followed by fast moving feet to avoid the bullets launched in your direction.

“You no count Nigger.”

“You dumb ass Nigger.”

“You worthless black trash Nigger,” been there.  Heard that.  Remember all of that.

The word is locked deep in that place that fights the urge to start a revolution. My ears know the sound of the words forced through the lips of racist white men and women.  I’ve heard the word enough to know the thoughts of those who use the word when I’m not in the room.

That’s why it hurts me when I hear black youth use the word.  The say it’s different because they have changed the spelling.  Nigger has grown up to become Nigga.

Translation – nigger is a man.

Limbaugh played the audio clip of Rachel Jeantel’s interview on the Piers Morgan show.  Jeantel gave key testimony during the George Zimmerman trial.

"So was there anything you wished you'd said when you were in there,” Morgan asked

 JEANTEL: Nigga.


 JEANTEL: People, the whole world say it's a racist word. Mind you, around 2000, they changed it around, I think. It starts spelling "n-i-g-g-a."

 MORGAN: What does that mean to you, that way of spelling it? What does that word mean to you?

 JEANTEL: That means a male.

 MORGAN: A black male?

 JEANTEL: No, any kind of male.

 MORGAN: Black or white?

 JEANTEL: Any kind. Chinese you can say "nigga." That's my Chino, "nigga." They can say that.

 [End of CNN clip]

“This was between 9 and 10 p.m. last night on CNN, who is in a quest to become the, again, most respected news organization in the country, perhaps even in the world. So, "nigga," with an "a" on the end, well I think I can now. Isn't that the point? 'Cause it's not racist. That's the point. I could be talking about a male, a Chinese male, a guy at the Laundromat,” Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh asserts his right to use the word based on the views of Jeantel, who is only 19.  She hasn’t felt the spite of the word.  She’s unversed of the sentiment felt by those forced to respond to Nigger in a way that made them bow to the power of white privilege.

Her generation doesn’t know what Nigger conjures.  Changing the R to an A doesn’t change any of that. Nigga is still Nigger, no matter how you spell the word.

With that being said, I’m willing to grant Limbaugh and his cohorts the right to use the word.  Go ahead, tell us how you feel.  Don’t hide your racism – use the word that defines racism.

Call me Nigger.  Call me Nigga. Either version will serve the intent of its usage – the separation of the bigots from the people fighting for justice.

I must warn you Limbaugh.  Saying Nigger comes with a cost.  Black folks aren’t afraid anymore.  We’ll slap you in the mouth, kick you, spit on you and call you a cracker for calling us Nigger.

Times have changed.  Young people aren’t aware of the pain the word Nigga stirs, and people of my generation refuse to step to the side after you call us Nigger.

I call that freedom.    


  1. amen brother Carl! As a true hater of the N word er or a, thank you for sharing this. if our young folks don't know our history, it is up to us to teach them. Let us never forget the African Holocaust!! Aluta Continua. it still goes on let us unite as one.

    one love people!

  2. I don't condone anyone using it. However if Rush feels justified to use it hope he feels free to refer to himself as it for the word means ignorance. it is probably the most volatile word in the English language and if one word can cause so much hurt and pain and death, it needs to die (for my young brothers and sisters who are not clear on the history or for the old heads who think it is ok, check out the video "abolish the n word" u might learn something. as for Rush, please rush to "the hood" and use the word. Bet your vocabulary will change then.

  3. I'm old enough remember the vile connotations of that word. As a result, I don't use it and don't allow it to be used in my presence by either race.

    You have risen to Limbaugh's bait, however, just as he knew many would. He's conservative, but has never used the word nigger directly at someone publcicly and, one surmises, is unlikely to actually do so. His piece is directed at the hypocrisy of the N- word usage in the black community through Jeantel.

    During the Zimmerman trial, there were those who raised Jeantel to the level of "spokesman for all black people," a title she neither deserved nor desired. Much was made of her inarticulate but honest speaking. She "told it like it is" and we were not to discredit her just because she spoke in neighborhood dialect. We were to believe her defense of Trayvon, however rambling and confusing. As such, she is now making the talk show circuit.

    Jeantel first started with labeling Zimmerman, not as a racist, but as a potential homosexual predator who Trayvon didn't want to have follow him back to his house. On the Piers Morgan show, she then embarked on her own definition of Nigga and Nigger, and how they differed among generations. She viewed Nigga as entirely a benign word without connection to the word usage I (and you) are aware of. So, Limbaugh picks up on this word usage hypocrisy, something you yourself have mentioned in prior columns, and throws it back in our face. He says Jeantel's statements frees him to use the word. We all know better, as does he, but his statements have provided the shock value and faux outrage that he desired, and you were a willing participant in his bit of radio theater.

    Of course, your expressed feelings after the Zimmerman verdict made you an easy target. How could you not respond to Rush with outrage? But, in that response, you prove his point. The black community itself can't agree on the word's usage and meaning, thereby confusing whites.

    One of your Facebook posters agreed with one of your former blog posters in her advice to whites: "If usage of the N- word in any of its forms makes you feel uneasy, then don't do it. Your gut is telling you something." Let black people fight over the word. We whites don't need to add to the conflict. If the black community approves of rappers and public figures usage of the world, it's not our concern. If Jeantel thinks the word is without negative meaning in her limited community, so be it. The rest of us, who do remember how and why it was used in the past, just need to stay away. Limbaugh will stay away, too, but not until he's pushed your automatic buttons on the N- word issue.

  4. "We’ll slap you in the mouth, kick you, spit on you and call you a cracker"

    Yes, good. At least you still found a way to threaten everyone who offends you with violence. Very progressive. And totally evolved...

  5. So this is "Stand Your Ground" for verbal assaults. Remember, verbally someone has only as much power over you AS YOU ALLOW THEM TO HAVE! Do you really want to give the Rushs of the world that power? Think of this as either an intelligence test or a maturity test. If you take the baiting, you've failed!

    You are playing into the hands of race baiters, both the Black ones and the white ones.

    Or could I be wrong about your point of view? Could you in fact be someone who insists on looking for insult, to be 'disrespected' by allowing the comments to rise to that level rather than considering the source of the comments? If that's your mission, you are more the problem than the solution.

  6. This piece is even more timely today, Carl. I heard those words, too, when you and I grew up in the same town. As a little blue-eyed, blonde-haired white girl, those words (not just Nigger, but all of those words) meant different things to me than they did to you, but I remember the hate in them. I remember the confusion I felt when I heard them. I remember seeing the down-turned eyes and the slump of the shoulders. I remember that I didn't understand. I also remember that by high school it somehow was okay for the black kids to talk that way to each other -- their own personal code -- and I began to think that maybe it wasn't okay at all, ever. Or funny. Or hip.

    Thank you for your honesty and your directness. What you promote is more of the same.