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How America Made Niggas!!! (Part II of Four: Apathy and Excuses) Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, PhD   
Monday, 19 June 2006

Anthony Samad
Anthony Samad
In the second part of this series, I want to examine why African Americans, Blacks, Negroes, Negritudes (whatever we choose to call ourselves) can’t seem to escape the word Nigger—and its afterbirth, Nigga. Since last week’s column, I’ve received hundreds of e-mails with varying reactions to this series. Everything from making excuses as to why we shouldn’t be offended by the word—because “the Bible” tells one reader that God’s real name (MiNigri) and Gods’ real land Nigritia are the origins of the word that should cause us to embrace it forever, to another reader being apathetic about the word’s use—telling me “I need Jesus” for wasting my time (and column space) trying to convince Blacks (and others) not to use the word anymore. Uh…yeah, right. Both agree that the word will never die, and both cite the Biblical justifications why we should leave it alone. All I can say is, “My people, my people…”

Part of the reason “nigger” has survived is because we, as a people, have refused to kill it. Black people can find a reason “to do” or “not to do” anything. From not spending with each other, to not voting, to not taking care of ourselves (and our health), to not pulling our children out of failing schools, to not chasing drugs and gangs out of our communities, to reasons for using the word, nigger—if there’s an excuse, some people will find it. Black America, in the collective, find reasons not to succeed. It’s part of the construction of “the Nigger,” to be so incomplete that “it” can’t complete anything. I call the Nigger “it,” because it’s not a person, but a thing—a creation whose humanity, identity, heritage and sense of being was taken and replaced with ignorance, dependence, greed, jealousy, false hope, despair, apathy and excuses. That’s a helleva creation.

The origins of the word that I’m aware are “dead people,” “dark,” “destitute” and other negative connotations. Name for God? That’s a new one on me. The state of Black America is so destitute that America made the word synonymous with black people and put it in their dictionary (Webster’s). Not until the NAACP got them to take it out a few years back, was there even an acknowledgement that the world essentially equated a whole race with the word. Not because that’s what we are, but because of what aspects of the race had become. Nowhere on the face of the earth is there a race of people that control $600 billion dollars ($900 billion by 2010) and can’t resolve the problems of its own community. Nowhere on the face of the earth does the level of distrust within the race exceed the level of trust outside of the race. Nowhere on the face of the earth is the level of self-hatred so great that one can’t stand to look at the other without wanting to kill the person that looks just like them. That’s what Niggerism has produced. And nowhere on the face of the earth does a whole race of people let anybody and everybody call them out of their name, and get indignant about trying address it. Made in America, with a “flip” switch, a “kill” switch and an automatic “reboot” switch, the Nigger turns on and never turns off. Even if they find God, even if they find love, even if they find money—there is a built-in “default switch” that triggers something in our people trying to come into a new knowledge, new self, a new being and next thing you know, the nigger is back, still there and can’t escape himself—his condition—or his mindset. And he replicates him(her)self over and over again. Generation after generation. People are calling it different things; Negro relapse syndrome, Post-slavery syndrome, whatever you call it—there is a recognition that black people have been psychologically injured and never had therapy to bring them back into their “right minds.” The most common association with the term “nigger” is crazy, an acknowledgement that African Americans are not in their right minds—not when someone can call you something you know is meant to demean, and you’re alright with that. Now, that’s crazy!

Half the race is apathetic about how the world sees them, the other half makes excuses for how the world sees them, and both are okay with that. What’s wrong with that picture? Black America is so embarrassed, and at the same time, so defiant, that both Nigger—the word, and Nigger, the creation, survive while all else about Black America dies in the process. Nigger is not going to just go away nor is it going to be elevated to godliness. Nigger will go away with a concerted effort to make it go away. Let’s not b.s. ourselves, turn our heads or make more excuses.

Apathy and excuses are not substitutes for pride and dignity. It only prolongs the existence of a word meant for no honorable purpose. Why should we excuse or ignore its continued use?

  • Anthony Asadullah Samad is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of 50 Years After Brown: The State of Black Equality In America (Kabili Press, 2005). He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com

 

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