Saturday, November 16, 2013

Charles Barkley defends using the N-Word

Note: I use Nigger versus N-word to add emphasis to problems related to saying the word

Charles Barkley says he will continue to say Nigger.  He defended Matt Barnes for calling teammates Nigger in a tweet following a scuffle with Serge Ibaka.  Barnes was upset after being ejected for “standing up for these Niggers.”

“’I’m a black man,” Barkley said during the pregame show on TNT. “I use the N-word. I will continue to use the N-word among my black friends and my white friends.”

Barnes called his LA Clipper teammates Nigger weeks after Ritchie Incognito was exposed for leaving a Nigger laced voice message confronting Jonathan Martin.  Incognito was suspended by the Miami Dolphins for calling Martin a half-Nigger, and threatening to punch him and his mother.

Martin left the team to pursue therapy, and claims being bullied by Incognito and other members of the team.  Teammates are standing behind Incognito, declaring him an honorary Nigger.

Jason Whitlock, columnist for, blasted those teammates for nurturing a culture in common with prison nation.  Whitlock chastised black men for questioning the manhood of a black man with a Stanford degree and Harvard educated parents, while affirming the thug ways of a white man designated to help toughen up the “half-Nigger.”

That’s yesterday’s news.  Barnes refused to apologize for writing Nigger.  He says it’s commonly used during games and in the locker room.  Barnes says he will continue to use it, and there’s nothing that can be said to change his mind.

ESPN's Michael Wilbon quickly defended Barnes.

"People can be upset with me if they want," he said on "Pardon the Interruption." "I, like a whole lot of people, use the N-word all day every day my whole life. ... I have a problem with white people framing the discussion for the use of the N-word."

Barkley’s comments echoed Wilbon’s.  “What I do with my black friends is not up to white America to dictate to me,” Barkley said.

Whitlock took issue with Barkley’s defense of Banes. He called for a ban of Nigger in the NBA and NFL.

“The N-word is a not a generational issue. The N-word was never a fad. It was a primary tool in the enslavement, disenfranchisement and cultural destruction of a race of people,” Whitlock states.

Whitlock’s call to ban Nigger was followed by a personal confession. 

“I still use the N-word privately. I'm not proud of this fact. I would never defend my use of the word. I use it far less than I did a decade ago,” Whitlock writes. “I've been battling for years to eliminate it from my vocabulary.”

Barkley, Wilbon and Whitlock all admit using the word.  The only difference is with Whitlock’s desire to dismiss the word from his vocabulary.  Given Whitlock still uses the word, why does he use it, what will it take to keep him from using it, and should white Commissioners be empowered to force black men to stop using the word?

As distasteful as the word is for most of us, isn’t that type of enforcement rooted in a position of privilege that denies black men the right to establish and affirm their own terms of communication? 

Nigger is a complex word.  Who says it and why it is used adds to the violence associated with the word.  If Barnes, Barkley, Wilbon and Whitlock can use it, why can’t Paula Deen.  If black men in the locker room can use it, why can Ritchie Incognito?

The NAACP attempted to end the debate in July of 2007.  Thousands gathered in Detroit for the funeral and burial of Nigger. A horse drawn carriage carried a wood coffin to the grave. The word “nigga was displayed on a ribbon, and there were black roses on the coffin.

 “Good riddance. Die, N-word,” Kwame Kilpatrick, then Mayor of Detroit, said. “We don’t want to see you around here no more.”

Nigger rose from the grave 10 minutes later.  It was heard when a car passed by with windows rolled down with the sound of a Tupac groove.

Black men aren’t ready to put Nigger to rest.  They know it’s wrong to summons memories of how it was used to marginalize their ancestors.  They changed it from Nigger to Nigga for a reason. It doesn’t feel the same when the meaning behind the word has changed. In their minds, Nigga isn’t Nigger when a black man uses the word.

Nigga may not carry the same force as Nigger, but when a white person uses Nigga it all means the same.
Confusion abounds

1 comment:

  1. The African American uses the word and the white racist applaudes and knows that they have won.