Twenty-six letters and 52 sounds comprise the English alphabet. On individual merit, each letter is relatively hollow. In varying combinations, however, they each hold the power to impel human beings to deeds both noble and abominable. They are a dexterous series of sounds based on the general principle that each one represents the phonemes of the spoken language. As a writer I believe in the acute power of words; the formation of a cluster of letters and the orchestration of a band of words is virtuosity. Words are of colossal import. Etched into cave walls, carved into wood and scored onto tablets, they form the ineradicable foundation upon which our ancestors fashioned empires. Words generate impressions, paint mental images, deliver notions and create expectations. They build psychological associations. They both command and convey our thought processes. Since thoughts determine actions, there is a constitutive equation between the words we use and the results we affect. A good salesman knows that a successful transaction may depend upon choosing the word ‘invest’ instead of ‘spend‘. A motivator knows to erase the word ‘problem’ and replace it with ‘challenge‘. A wise man knows the vastly cavernous difference between the word ‘Black’ and ‘Nigger’. The power of the latter lies in its original usage: the establishment and the continuation of racial superiority. The N Word is a true ethnophaulism. Such words are the vocabulary of revulsion, the verbal manifestation of deleterious feeling. Few such vehemently loaded words exist.

‘We must completely annihilate the mother tongue of both the new nigger and the new mule, and institute a new language that involves the new life’s work of both. You know language is a peculiar institution. It leads to the heart of a people.’
Willie lynch, Plantation owner.

‘A Klansman said, ‘Nigger,
Look me in the face –
And tell me you believe
In the great white race’

Langston Hughes ‘Ku Klux’

Nigger is most commonly believed to have been popularised by the phrase “nigger in the woodpile”, a US slave-era phrase denoting escaped slaves hiding in train-transported woodpiles and has been used to oppress, dehumanize and brutalize a people. It is a word that was used exclusively in a derogatory sense to denigrate, psychologically subjugate, and to mentally scar the individual identities of blacks in the United States by white aggressors and thus it remains.

The N Word was stitched, sewn and tailored as a means of controlling the masses of African people forced to toil in the Slave States for hundreds of years. Slave owners and colonialist masterminds developed a plethora of means to control their newly acquired property, the principle method being that of ‘divide and rule’. Language was fundamental to the psychological tactics employed to create subservience. Physical containment was created via psychological control and language was brandished as the powerful tool that it has always been; members of the same tribe were placed on different plantations to prevent communication between them lest a mutiny should form and inhumane terminologies like Nigger were introduced with the sole purpose of psychologically battering an entire people until they bought into the belief that they were not worthy of respectful titles, names, or respect.

Some consider it mind control when the military or prison officers use techniques that belittle or dehumanize recruits or inmates in their attempt to break down individuals and make them more compliant. Some might consider it mind control for coaches or drill instructors to threaten, belittle, physically punish, name call or physically fatigue by excessive physical exercises their subjects in the effort to break down their egos and group identification.

The N word was a big stick shaped specifically during the swashbuckling era of slavery to ensure that African Americans were constantly reminded of their subhuman status. The stench of corpses still lingers. The word is inextricably spliced and tethered to centuries of brutality on black psyches and calumnies cast on black bodies. It cannot be scrubbed away, sun-bleached, washed-out, or purged.
Historically In the UK and the USA, The N Word was freely featured in branding and packaging consumer products, Brazil nuts were called ‘nigger toes’. Dark-fired tobacco’s were marketed as ‘Nigger Hair Tobacco (complete with an image of an African woman bearing the archetypical bones through her nose and lips used so frequently to depict Africans as alien). Tinned black shelled oysters were branded ‘Niggerhead Oysters’. Our ancestors suffered true degradation at the hands of the crude marketing that profited from their subjugation and bravely demanded its end. Yet while the savage generation that birthed The Word reluctantly discontinued its media use, Gangsta Rap promptly picked up their discarded baton and continued their legacy, brandishing the term so effectively and with such relentless venom that, even if so inclined, the original saboteurs need not bother. In 2013, we are privy to liberal dosages of The N Word in comedy and in music, in cinema and among a nation of eager consumers; but no amount of statement abnegation, gainsaying, or reprieve makes it condonable.

The N Word may be feasibly viewed as an umbrella term; a means of saying that blacks have the negative characteristics of the Coon, Buck, Tom, Mammy, Sambo, Picaninny, and other anti-black caricatures. ‘Nigger’, much like the caricatures it encompasses and implies, belittles, and rationalizes gross mistreatment. The use of the word or its variants by blacks has not significantly lessened its sting. This is unsurprising given the historical relationship between European Americans and African Americans were shaped by a racial hierarchy which spanned three centuries. It cannot now be willed out of meaning and purpose because some of us bizarrely, and somewhat apologetically, decide it is so. Anti-black attitudes, values, and behaviour were once normative. Historically, ‘Nigger’, more than any other word, vented a deep personal antipathy and institutionalized racism.

The Gordian knot trussed haphazardly by deified celebs who recklessly administer The N Word with a new breath of life, is that there is no barometer, no blueprint. There are no allegiances, constancies or well-informed explanations. They are uneducated, gobbling, soulless and entrusted with the minds, development and tongues of a global generation.

‘… they say that the mind has a strong drive to correct and re-correct itself over a period of time if it can touch some substantial original historical base; and they advised us that the best way to deal with the phenomenon is to shave off the brute’s mental history and create a multiplicity of phenomena of illusions, so that each illusion will twirl in its own orbit, something similar to floating balls in a vacuum.’
Willie Lynch

Last year, Barbadian pop singer Rihanna was the centre of a commotion caused by a Dutch issue of the glossy women’s magazine Jackie. The magazine featured an article entitled ‘the ultimate Niggabitch’ and the fallout was to dominate headlines for weeks following. An irate Rihanna took to modern-day thwacking tool twitter to stage a retort which branded the magazine a ‘poor representation of the evolution of human rights’ snarling ‘u paid to print one degrading an entire race!’ and proffering their contribution to the world as to ‘encourage segregation’ and ‘to mislead the future leaders to act in the past!’ with ‘the intent of abasement’. Her comeback was laudable enough and the editor, Eva Hoeke, quickly resigned from the publication stating ‘The term ‘niggabitch’ came from America and we solely used it to describe a style of dress … I should have counted to 10 before taking un-nuanced stands through social media channels’.

One could suppose that Hoeke was glaringly aware that the use of The N Word was an express-bound ticket to global outrage, making her an outright racist who steeple-chased the chance to affront the black race. However, given her rather sizeable salary size and status, one could also suppose that that, due to mortal media doses of ignorantness and a wealth of black artists whom sputum the word at every chance, there is a genuine belief held among Europeans that this word is simply an American craze; one which embodies the modern cool from gun toting’ rap sheet rappers and the songstresses whom eventually cave-in to the Gangsta rap cash machine to propel their careers (Rihanna may well have started off chirpily warbling Pon De Replay but by her third album she had morphed into a self-titled Good Girl Gone Bad and debuted the words ‘thug life’ tattoo across her chest as a tribute to the guns, violence, and crime embodied by a Gangsta Rap ideal). Hoeke’s defence stated that the trend for the word in modern culture meant that she believed the article to be au-courant, both in content and language, to a hip generation – she believed the magazine was ‘speaking their language’.

We may well never know which theory of the applies to the Hoeke incident but sadly we do know that Rihanna managed to both substantiate Hoeke’s contention and prove to be an utter letdown when 16 months later, holidaying with friends she took wistfully to twitter to post a sunny photo of herself holding a friends toddler. In the caption she labelled the baby: ‘My Lil Nigga.’
And so it would seem that the condemnation of The N Word and her alleged concern for the well-being of her fans that she applied so liberally a top-selling magazine branded her a ‘niggabitch’ simply does not apply when she herself vomit’s The N word before 2,880,882 impressionable twitter followers and at the expense of a baby.
Similarly, one would be forgiven for being confused by Snoop Dogg’s cyber assertion that the American populous immediately boycott voting for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney because he ‘looks like he uses says nigger all the time’ before unleashing a baffling list of reasons to re-elect President Barack Obama instead, all of which reference Americas first black president as ‘Nigga’.

Words possess their own ripened meaning, identity and history. Their meaning may be added to, but never subverted. Nigga means Nigger. The spelling concerns me not a jot. If you for a moment consider the African American vernacular, for which entire reference books have been created for translation and application, many of the words that end in ‘er’ are substituted with an ‘a’. This changes the spelling of the word, but purposely the meaning of the word stays intact. It is a matter of phonetics not definition. Gangster is pronounced and written as gangsta, but delineates the same lifestyle. The word murder may be pronounced and written as murda, but it does not reform the act. To argue otherwise is absurdity. Abject nonsense fathomed up to make everyone feel better about using a heinous term of enmity. If an honest man’s son was to one day turn to him and say ‘Daddy, am I a Nigger?’ is he to look into his eyes and say ‘Yes dear son, but you are a Nigger with an ‘a’ not with an ‘er‘…? Semantic games of the lethal kind.

Celebrities now enjoy expectorating The N word with grandiloquence that is reminiscent of sneering superiority of slave owners of old. Snug in the knowledge that there is little repercussion or retort, and the deplorable advancement of their insidious careers via the generated publicity.

When comedian Chris Rock visited the UK and appeared on the Jonathan Ross show the audience was privy to an N-word filled exchange that made the jaws of the conscious community hang heads in ignominy as the live audience laughed uproariously.

Jonathan Ross – You like black people but you don’t like niggers?
Chris Rock – Are you calling me a nigger?
Audience – Laughter

Once conscious ‘raptivist’ Common, the rapper who bought us Love of My life (An Ode To Hip-Hop), it seems his occasional proclivity for damaging his own community is not only disappointing to those of his fans with a degree of wherewithal but also to The Great Maya Angelou who was recently crushed to discover that a track they had worked on together had been taken away and peppered with a word she quickly deemed word ‘vulgar and dangerous’ to the black community before commenting dejectedly that she ‘had no idea that Common was using the piece we had done together on a track in which he also used the ‘N’ word numerous times’ to the New York Times. Common would claim a weak defense by asserting that the word is ‘a part of me’ before trying and failing to argue the use of The N word was the only way he could create a song that effectively resulted in droves of young people hearing it and feeling like they could really accomplish their dreams.’ Never an honest word, never an apology once the conscious artist has crossed over.

Accepting that in the modern era The N Word is a lyrical mainstay bleeped over on daytime radio or whimsically disguised as ‘neezy’ is one thing, but the use of it as a title name of a hit single and global tour by two of pop hip-hops kings is colossally disturbing. This leads us into what is perhaps the most disturbing N Word episode to dominate headlines in recent months: Jay Z and Kanye West’s fatuous brainchild, ‘Niggas in Paris’.

The single debuted at number 75 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on the week of the album’s release, after all the fusion of two of the world’s biggest selling rap icons was a sure-fire cash cow. The song peaked at number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100, sold 3 million digital units in the United States and won Grammy awards for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Such was its success that Kanye and Jay-Z went onto produce a ‘Niggas in Paris’ tour spectacular live in Paris. The shows sold out in 30 minutes. On their debut night, they performed the song ‘Niggas in Paris’ a groundbreaking total of 11 times before an 18,000 strong audience.

Undoubtedly a windfall for their bank accounts, the title choice had a calamitous domino effect on their own community, fans and otherwise.

Curiously, perhaps, actress Gwyneth Paltrow took to Twitter to bellow her adoration for Niggas in Paris and bore the brunt of a minute outcry. Still, no apology was necessitated when some squirmed at the thought of a white woman wielding The N Word via social networking because her reply was simply ‘Hold up! It’s the title of the song!’ That, and the bevy of black celebrities, including rapper The Dream, who swiftly jumped to her defence.

Soon after, All-American actor Alec Baldwin (not beyond the realm of verbal abuse since being caught dubbing his young daughter a ‘selfish little pig’ some years ago) was this year alleged to have called celebrity paparazzo Tracy Morgan The N Word. A chagrined Morgan demanded an apology. Instead of immediately issuing one such act of contrition, Baldwin instead took to using the word again, only this time on Twitter and by way of quoting Kanye and Jay-z’s anthemic hit, ‘I love that song Niggas In Paris!’ In doing so he made an ear-splitting, if not rather Machiavellian, statement and it read clearly in the escape clause: ‘What is the difference between my heaving this word at a black man, and my quoting a song by a black man?’ and, ‘Am I expected to apologise for calling a black man this word in the street but unimpeachable if I quote a song?’ In essence, Baldwin had crookedly noted the hypocrisy loud and clear. In doing so he cunningly snatched his opportunity for exoneration by making himself the casualty: a casualty of a community’s inability to decide whether the word is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. A well seized opportunity to make the confused black community appear to be the architects of their own decay.

In taking the decision to squiggle a hit single and tour with The N word as its nub, Jay Z and Kanye West willingly furnished the world over with exoneration; they had taken their tsar-like hip hop status and given their blessing that the world may, and must, use The N word. The painful shockwaves the more conscious sector of the community would have to endure at hearing scores of rap loving children bellowing ‘have you heard Niggas in Paris?’ down the high street of an evening simply did not matter to them. It was a masterstroke, the enforcement of people to use The N Word in order to request their CD in the store or invite a friend to a concert; a dandyish money making scheme hatched by two media whores adept at selling their souls for a weighty price.

Both are, after all, extremely shrewd hustlers; Jay Z’s own earliest endeavours to earn a few bucks include a timeline peppered with assault, attempted murder and drug dealing – it is no stretch of the imagination to consider that he is capable of mass exploitation. As to his reasoning, Jay-Z has attempted to sound indifferent to the impact of the word on numerous occasions.

‘Oprah, for instance, still can’t get past the n-word issue (or the Nigga issue, with all apologies to Ms. Winfrey). I can respect her position. To her, it’s a matter of acknowledging the deep and painful history of the word. To me, it’s just a word, a word whose power is owned by the user and his or her intention. People give words power, so banning a word is futile, really. “Nigga” becomes “porch monkey” becomes “coon” and so on if that’s what in a person’s heart. The key is to change the person. And we change people through conversation, not through censorship.” Jay-Z
This kind of half-baked statement is symptomatic of a failure to accurately assess the context and relativity of The N Word. That would require a degree of scrupulous accountability simply not characteristic of most of the celebrities endorsing The N Word. When Jay-Z says ‘people give words power’ he is spot on. Only in this case he is so deludable that he refuses to accept that he is the power-giver in question. We can firstly wager that if The N Word it were as Jay Z puts it ‘just a word’ it would have not made it to the drawing board for single (and tour) title contenders. Jay-z, whom has earned a veritable fortune from the B and N words (his constant profitable overuse and prominence of them both somewhat contradicting his argument) is hardly in a position to accuse others of giving words power. He has done so with vulgar superciliousness. The relentless proclivity for celebrities to tut ‘it’s just a word’ whilst the cash register ding-dong’s is not a conversation. It is bamboozlement. Intellectual understanding precludes investigation and thus far we have been afforded none at the hands of those profiting from its usage.

His buddy, multi-platinum selling Kanye West has proven his appetite for selling his soul to the highest bidder time and time again. During a semi-conscientious phase he penned Diamonds are Forever critiquing the African diamond trade before just months later, lulled his weakness for dollars and attention, appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show to debut a set of new diamond teeth, claiming to have removed his real teeth and adding that he thought a row of diamonds to be “cooler” than teeth.

The ill-starred knock-on effect of their avarice was rippling. Hip-hop heavyweight Chuck D was abused in France by fans that he purported to be merely mimicking Kanye and Jay-Z when they branded him The N Word. Exasperated, he sat in his hotel room in Lyon and publicly lamented that he should travel to France only to have to instruct the French community that he is an African man worthy of respect, not a Nigga in Paris. At the time there were countless reports that Kanye and Jay-Z were blameable for giving French people cart blanche to bark ‘Niggas in Paris!’ at mortified black tourists. Chuck asserted that he expected these black icons (whom are fully aware of the full context of the word’s magnitude, legacy, and meaning in the United States) not to readily educate white foreigners that the word is acceptable. He added that due to rap, millions of white fans have been privy to ‘black men calling themselves nigga like happy ass slaves for 20yrs.’

The happy ass slaves he alludes to is the usage of The N Word by African Americans in the presence of their slave masters. He refers to the artificial self-deprecation that was once a method of deflected responsibility used in hope of escaping the demoniac wraths of colonial overseer and master. Using nigger as a self-referential identity term was (and I propose still is) a way of avoiding white suspicion, of putting the slave owner at their ease. In context, a slave who referred to himself, or another black man, as a nigger fully assumed the master’s perceiving him as a slave who had dutifully accepted his societal and entrenched sub-ordinate role as private property, thus, not subversive of the authority of the master’s white supremacy. The slave master heard his property refer to himself with the self-abasing slur he had beat into him and upon hearing it ooze odiously from his black lips felt a bullyboy sense of achievement, and safety, that his venture capital was a happy ass slave. Dig it.

No degree of appropriating can rid it of its blood-sodden history. In Nazi Germany, the term “Untermensch”, usually back-translated to mean ‘Sub-human’ became an infamously derogatory term used by the Nazi’s in reference to the Jewish people. It was a term used candidly and reiteratively in the deluge of fascist discourse spewed at the time, the most notorious of which was a 1935 publication with the title “Der Untermensch” an anti-Semitic tirade demanding the annihilation of the Jewish community. Let us now dare to imagine if the Jewish population, some six million less after having been systematically slaughtered in the holocaust that ensued, now unrelentingly bellowed and yawped the term out to each other at nightclubs and street corners; if they were to spit it like a loving sobriquet in Klezmer and movies. Someone would indignantly surmise they were exuding signs symptomatic of a paradoxical psychological phenomenon, mentally hogtied to their executioners. They’d insist that to constantly disgorge a term so brimming with brutality is akin to a hostage exhibiting symptoms of Stockholm syndrome. The level-headed would contend they must elevate their terminology beyond the precepts of their ancestor’s spiritual and physical slayers and refuse to ever again be trademarked by such abominable terms. Yet modern black entertainers embrace our own derogatory epithet and justify it with a disturbing loyalty.

Still, the response is relatively minimal. Celebrities increasingly predicate, directly or otherwise, that the black community no longer has the right to express offence since it is black entertainers who brandish the word at every opportunity, who entertain audiences and profit from its use. Black celebrities are ceaselessly being seen to gripe at the rasping sound of a white person hawking up The N Word at the black community shortly before they themselves vampirically swoop and feed off the same entrails. The consequence is utter bedlam.

In the USA, the confusion over the morality of such interception is reflected in more and more educational calamities. Last year the Valley Traditional High School was at the centre of a racial controversy when teacher Paul Dawson spewed ‘sit down, Nigga’ at student Keysean Chavers. In most cases, incidents of abuse in schools are an open and shut case. Particularly in our modern politically correct and apparently genteel world wherein a teacher can be frog marched off school premises for as little as adding a student onto their Facebook account. When it comes to one of the most damaging words ever to have existed however, and with thanks to popular culture and the immeasurable mis-education of the new black generation, this case wasn’t. Dawson promptly claimed that he understood, of course, that The N word is a racial slur but claimed that students use the word nigga ‘as often as they say “dude” or “hey, man.’ He then added that as much as he personally dislikes like the word, he strategically utilised the slang version as a way to feel more comfortable with black students. The upshot was that Dawson was suspended for mere 10 days without pay and sent to diversity training. The trouble was that Keysean, is a freshman at Valley, a Boy Scout, a football player, a member of the ROTC, an honor roll student (and still in Paul Dawson’s classroom) followed his musical icons into an abattoir, spitting the word at his friends and responding to the sound of it, in the way he has been taught to do so by rich halfwits but nothing prepared him (least of all Snoop or Kanye) for the sting of being gashed with The N Word.

The final word thus lay with Dawson who bewailed ‘Why is this word used so frequently? So I just don’t understand it and I’m trying to understand it. I need help’. You and I may know that any academic who has taught children for two decades in the USA is more than aware that labeling a child with The N Word is an abusive act, but the hassle here stems from modern black legends who gleefully administer ammunition to racists and save them from castigation for a cash in hand pact.

When Spike Lee ingeniously produced hit satire movie Bamboozled the concept behind his commentary on race, television and black images in the media was disturbingly effective. In the movie, a black Harvard-educated corporate executive of a failing television network hatches a program called ”Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show.” The program is a national success, ratings soar, it saves the ailing network, wins its Black creator Emmy Awards, and initiates a national craze for donning the blackface mask. This movie, while many find it challenging, is an exact parody of the presence of the N word in Gangsta Rap. The N Word has become the liet motif of popular media and we rarely see the tragedy when thousands of black and white fans dance at rap concerts, mouthing The N Word any more than a fictional ‘The New Millennium Minstrel Show’ audience saw the tragedy as they paraded masks seeped in a violently racist history.

‘Ol’ Dirty Bastard’ used the term 76 times in his ‘Nigga Please’ album. All the while, I suspect our exceedingly desensitized psyche would like to feel our stomach knots, our hearts sink, our throats close up and our fists clench like Tommie Smith and John Carlos’, but the process of desensitisation is a slow, certain, subliminal process and our hearts no longer responds to our brains. Our jaded sense of principle would like to stand up and object to our history of pain laughingly twisted for entertainment purposes, but then somewhere in the murky neglected depths of our minds we are reminded that our once elevated consciousness suffered a blackout in the whitewash and will now only allow us to respond with hebetude as we slalom around in a trance. If only we could grieve and grouse each time we heard the word that in 2013 formed an integral part of 27-year old child-killer George Zimmerman’s vocabulary as he sat emailing his friends on the subject of those he spent his evenings hunting in his night job as neighbourhood watch co-ordinator. For, eventually, he would telephone the Sanford Police Department during a shift one evening and report a young black boy for merely ‘just staring’ and ‘walking very leisurely’. Despite being advised to leave the boy until police were despatched, Zimmerman would instead hungrily chase the child (who spent his final terrified moments screaming desperately for help) before he shot 14 year old Trayvon Martin dead. Zimmerman’s act of brutal homicide was an inevitable realisation of the tick-tocking neoplasm of hatred that had long lingered inside him; his constant spewing of The N Word its keenest symptom.

After his brutal murder, it was the fact that young Trayvon had, in youthful greenness, labelled himself the ‘No Limit Nigga’ on his Facebook page that would ironically give republican America the metaphorical ammunition to defend Zimmerman and all those who would gladly shoot a black child given half the chance. But no-one had yet had the chance to tell Trayvon that the word he and his generation had been taught by Gangsta rappers, the rappers who had encouraged this child to label himself in such salacious terms was the word a man might one day use to load his gun and lynch him in a dark street drooling nigger into his ear as he begged for his life. If only we could recoil, squirm, struggle and thrash at the sound of the word that they assibilated into Emmett Till’s (‘The nigger who did the talking‘) boyish and bloodied ear as he lay dying. A word so deadly that they might well have used it to load their guns before they shot him in the head instead of bullets. A word so massively corpulent that they may well have barb wired it to his 14-year old neck instead of the cotton gin fan that would tug him to the bottom of the river where he would dwell for three days. A ropey word once tightly wound and hung around necks to bear a strange fruit, ‘blood on the leaves and blood at the root’. A word that would be the last term young boy Stephen Lawrence would be labelled with by five youths who would run towards him one bleak night and tattle ‘what, what, nigger’ before plunging the sharpened word five inches into his chest and arms. For then, when Malcolm said ‘You’ve been hoodwinked. You’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been led astray, led amok. You’ve been bamboozled.’ He would not have been looking at us as we sit clap clap clapping to the rapping sound of our own demise on full volume and repeat.

‘A hundred times a day they used the word nigger and thus they never did see me’ Malcolm X

In 2008 top selling rap artist Nas insisted on entitling his new album ‘Nigger’. His reasoning was that wanted to make the N word as accessible and digestible as any other. ‘I wanna make the word easy on mutha***as ears’ he explained. ‘You see how white boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ’cause it don’t have the same sting as ‘nigger’? I want ‘nigger’ to have less meaning than ‘cracker.’ Quick to come out in his defence was fellow rapper Akon (we might at this point note that at the time the Senegalese rapper had been at the heart of a controversy owing to a brutal on-stage sex simulation with a child and hardly in a position to comment on intelligence) who said, “That’s intelligent,” Akon remarked as though he were a wise arbiter, ” … If you teach our new generation that it don’t mean nothing, then it won’t be nothing. It’s just a word. That’s all it is. You create the power for that word when you support it in a negative way.’

A fantasist may claim in alluringly roseate tones that the way to defeat an enemy is simple: steal their ammunition by imagining the word anew. What a deliciously auspicious concept. It is also a superfluous one given that ‘Nigger’ is an antediluvian expression of acute racism. One that does not wither, wane, deteriorate or decline while we deafly pretend it does not sting. One that like a mythical vampire gains vigour the longer it is perpetuated. It grows cunning, deft, and dexterous never for a moment lessening its purpose as a linguistic abomination, instead gaining prominence as the most infamous word in American culture. Some words, in kinesis, carry and gain more weight than others. At the risk of hyperbole, is paedophilia just a word? Quentin Tarantino bequeathed The Word before his vast audiences 38 times in the movie ‘Jackie Brown’. On the one hand we could say nonchalantly say that this word is prevalent because it means so much less. Be assured, if it meant less, it‘d be used less. On the other hand one might look at the generous lashings of this word and assert that the very purpose of ‘subliminal’ word is that whether it be inaudible to the conscious mind (yet audible to the unconscious or deeper mind) or ‘just’ a word transmitted briefly and rhythmically and unperceived consciously yet perceived unconsciously, it has influence. Subliminally repetitive messages gain their potential influence from the fact that they may be able to circumvent the critical functions of our conscious mind. This method to influence or persuasion is peculiarly powerful. Proponents of the power of subliminal influence will state the influence is generated over time.

For a moment let us humour the balderdash attributed by some to the need for us to redefine The Word for the sake of self-interested reassurances. ‘The original meaning of the ‘n’ word had a connotation connected to the gods…’ or ‘The word N-G-R means GOD in ancient Egyptian…’ ‘Many African words denoting people or important people starts with N…’ These are wonderfully haphazard examples of clutching at half-baked etymological theorem. I for one do not live in the same vein as a conspiratorial numerologist might; avidly seeking meaning where I choose to see it. The first step to healing is not in self-deception. It is in facing the facts of the reality that is increasingly laying siege. Burial, camouflage, closeting, seals of secrecy, smoke-screens, and warped veils of secrecy, are not remedial tactics they are hazardously hallucinatory.

There is also the argument made by those whom sheepishly peek from behind a delusion and say ‘It Is Only another Word for Black’. They would be wrong. For almost every European country has one noun for black and a separate pejorative term for ‘nigger’. In Dutch, neger is neutral, zwartje (little black one) can be amicably or offensively used, nikker is always pejorative. In French: noir is neutral; nègre is a racist colonial usage. In Russian: negr (“негр”) is neutral, chyornyi (black) is moderately derogatory slur, usually applied against Middle Eastern and Caucasian people, ‘chernozhopyi (“black-assed) is the harshest generic racist slur for non-white people.

Where ‘nigger’ had slipped off my back before, wherever I heard it now, I stopped and looked at whoever said it. And they looked surprised that I did.
Malcolm x

The N Word was used a record-breaking 213 times in ‘Django Unchained’. However, his was not necessarily an instant cause for dismay on my part. The film is after all, set in 1858 during a time when The N Word was the sole term used in reference to black people (who would not be accepted as or referred to as black for another century and addressed as African American even later). In a historical account, for the sake of accuracy and for a new generation to understand the brutality of their history, they must be privy to the austere reality that for decades black men and women were only ever referred to venomously as nigger in order to understand that its modern usage is simply unacceptable. In the lynching short story, A Party Down at the Square the N-word appeared over 40 times. It contributed a ferocious realism to the story (one that was so effective it made me qualmish) and force-fed the reader a deeper understanding of the racist mindset, of how the N-word helped to ingrain and express the racist thought processes of the white narrator. It is the seepage of his hatred, rising like bile up from his soul and onto his tongue.

Similarly, the renaissance poetry of the 60’s used a similar tactical approach; it was a revolutionary art form. The creative domain has not yet eliminated elevated expression from our collective vantage point. There still exists the audacity, backbone, bravery, bravura, daring, and dauntlessness that speaks across generations, pulling no punches. There still exist the challengers whom dare stand, fist clenched, unapologetically pitching the truths in the spirit of the Panthers, Garveyites, Stono Rebels and Pan Africanists. There is no call for a blanket boycott for music that speaks with venom and passion. With intention firmly in place, rectitude needn’t always be whispered in airy tones, it can, and must, be screamed lewdly, proudly, ouchly.

This, however, is not what the so-called modern artist attempts to do.

When inaptly named Tyler The Creator was Punk’d last year no amount of bleeping could disguise the fact that he almost compulsively hurled The N Word at his white friends as though it was indispensable. Unsurprisingly when he was eventually asked about the frequency of which he uses the word Tyler The Creator claimed he doesn’t mind if White people use The N Word and added that it is caring that ‘keeps the racism alive’

The problem here is that Tyler the Creator a 22-year old alternative rapper is lauded among a global fan base largely comprised of white teenagers who view him as the very epitome of tattooed coolness. And so it was speaking on their behalf that he explained,

‘We don’t actually give a fuck about that shit. Mothafuckers who care are the reason racism is still alive.’ When confronted about view of the term as a derogatory one, Tyler said, ‘I guess people my age, we’re not even thinking like that. When you think like that, you keep the racism alive when that’s not even on our palette.’

This is an issue of attribution and accountability. William Ryan coined the phrase ‘blaming the victim’ in his 1971 book Blaming the Victim. In the book (which he wrote to refute Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 work The Negro Family: The Case for National Action), Ryan described victim blaming as an ideology used to justify racism and social injustice against black people in the United States.

Moynihan claimed that three centuries of atrocious treatment at the hands of whites had birthed a series of chaotic disruptions within the black family structure which had manifested itself in the high rates of illegitimate births, absent fathers, and single mother households rapidly prevailing in 197‘s America. Ryan asserted in response that to accuse a race of low incomes, high incarceration rates, as though they were somehow genetically programmed to fail was a case of white America smoking out satisfactory reasons to be openly racist.
After Baldwin’s twitter tribute to Kanye West (in which he claimed to have written his own track entitled ‘Niggas in Montauk‘) he went onto label anyone who thought quoting the title was racist is a ‘disgrace to the human race.’

Blaming the victim is essentially a highly manipulative tactic typically employed by abusers looking for a cowardly get out clause. The fact that black actors, entertainers and rappers are now jumping on the Moynihan bandwagon and thinking up ways to blame those offended by The N Word is more than disturbing. It is an attempt to shift blame, jettison responsibility; It is a low down dirty way of ensuring that they are never culpable for the words that come from their very own mouths. It is high-end manipulation. Whether it is Alec Baldwin bawling The N Word at a black photographer in the street, Tyler The Creator or Jay-Z – the default is to blame the offended, not the racists who conceived the noxious word and certainly not themselves. For they, it would seem, are miles beyond reproach and furthermore earning far too much money from having picked up the slave masters gilded torch to care.

‘Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other.’
Malcolm X

There are a medley of reasons why modern icons would value their piggybank more than there community‘s wellbeing. The first worth expounding is the perennial suggestion that black people cannot be racist. It is a myth. If one, as Malcolm put it, hates himself ‘to the soles of his feet’ then he hates the very same in other people. Hatred is a cancer, and racism is a cancer that spreads to inconceivable body parts and vital organs, soundlessly, systemically and, eventually, fatally. For hundreds of years there has been an agenda originally birthed by colonisers who quickly realised upon their arrival in Africa that is they if could not physically dominate a people then their best bet was mental warfare then to convince them that they were inferior until they hated each other was their best bet.

In my bag here, I have a fool proof method for controlling Black Slaves. I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 years. I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves; and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences, think about them. On top of my list is “Age” but it is there only because it begins with an “A.” The second is “Color” or “Shade,” there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantation, status of plantation, attitude of owner, whether the slaves live in the valley , on a hill, East, West, North, or South, have a fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action but before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than adulation, respect and admiration. The Black Slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generation for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

Don’t forget you must pitch the old black versus the young black and the young black male against the old black male. You must use the dark skin slave vs. The light skin slave and the light skin slaves vs. The dark skin slaves. You must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect and trust only us.’ Willie Lynch.

Even when this piece’s authenticity is dismissed entirely the, new terminology “Willie Lynch Syndrome” is now used to explain the psychological problems and the disunity among Black community and certainly does much to explain the purpose and intent (be in conscious or otherwise). Scholars such as Kenneth Stampp in his crucial work ‘The Peculiar Institution’, used historically accurate records to expose and confirm the established rules that were to mould men as slaves. All of them pertained to the tactics that so successfully elaborated, with full intent, the colonialist methods which have evidently reverberated. The Willie Lynch speech serves a vital purpose of reminding us of colonial intent, and its sheer prosperity.

Every time we witness situations whereby black South Africans attack black immigrants, setting their bodies, their houses and their businesses alight, despite and In spite of the fact that Zimbabweans, whom, like their neighbours, have relinquished shackles. Despite the glaring fact that If there is any place on earth where the unfortunate and unheard of Zimbabwe ought to be able to seek refuge, it is across their border. Instead, they find institutional indifference and cultural bigotry at the hands of their fellow African. We are reminded.

Whenever we witness that 15,000 young black men have been brutally murdered by young black men in in-fighting between a pair of African American South Central LA gangs, the Crips and the Bloods (which have estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members). We are reminded.

When we remember that, the Germans selected the Tutsi’s as a superior ‘racial’ type whom, because of their apparent “Hamitic” origins on the Horn of Africa, were more “European” than the Hutus they oppressed. We know that eventually, the basic positions of rule allocated by these Colonialists would turn into the overall governing body of Rwanda years on, as they hacked limbs from those as though they were simply puppets on strings. We are reminded.
Every time we are reminded, we observe that a generation of children’s favourite music form is but a cudgel in the hands of an age old philosophy of Anti-Blackness.
One must consider that for a black British generation whose bonces have been so pumped with the American chimes of gang warfare that they see nothing tragic in brutally slaying boys whom look like themselves over ‘ends’ that are nothing but concrete slabs laid down hundreds of years before their ancestors had even stepped foot in England, hurling the N word about is the least of the damage they are willing to do.

If we can read these piece years onwards and catch its drift, then we are reminded. The ‘Willie Lynch Syndrome’ accounts for Black disunity as a psychological trauma of slavery. It seems that a long career of intricate bamboozlement appears to have obliterated from Our Minds the triumphs of generous forbearers who, for us, bled in every vein when all the while the colonialist beacon shines bright.

Shutters up, doors open, coffee machine on: The body politic of Willie Lynch is in business and it’s booming.

When 50Cent was asked if he’d consider dropping The N Word from his songs, he responded: ‘I’ve made it this far without having to compromise myself,” he said. “Ain’t no changing what I’m doing now.’ In his pecuniary proselytised mind he now tragically believes that omitting The N Word that defiles his ancestral soul and community, from the records listened to by millions is the compromise. The irony is overbearing. For as long as we wade haplessly in blindness the use of this word shall remain immovable. Thus, we must remain immovable. The avid consumers of Gangsta Rap must acknowledge the extent to which they purchase shares in their own state of disgrace with each CD. Snoop Dogg spits on centuries of progress earned by bondage and bull work when he so obtusely expels ‘Black Nigga’ at every opportunity before a generation of young disciples.

Bear in mind here, that in the middle of an AIDS crisis among the African American community that now kills more black people than it does homosexual men, Kanye West (who once steadfastly claimed on live television that Bush ‘doesn’t care about black people’) showed his own hand of cards when he listed the only reason ‘niggaz’ should wear a condom is to protect themselves from gold diggin’ bitches.

The gist of all these observations is that Kanye, 50Cent, Rihanna and the countless more, are the modern Felo De Se, those whom ends their own existence by their own hand, those whom determinedly lose their life while engaged in the commission of malicious acts. They are the homicidal, suicidal maniac with a globally distributed record deal and millions of worshippers. They are utterly incapable of ascesis. These so called artists are teaching a generation self-hatred. A self-hatred that festers, contaminates, clutches and has far more financial leverage than traditional concepts of love. And yet, we allow the Snoop Dogg’s and 50 Cents of the world educate a generation on how to define themselves with a word born of necrophilia.

We have the power to organise chaos, but the time to do so is now as we sit on the side-lines of a generation children whom now refer to themselves proudly as nigger. Frederick Douglas once said ‘we say to every coloured man, be a man where you are’. Celebrities are the modern day preachers, pastors, popes and role-models for a consumerist celebrity obsessed generation. It is time they stepped up to the plate.

We, the modern Black community, live in a time when the president of a country where African American’s did not have equal rights until the 1960’s, is a Black man. We enjoy that privilege vicariously through him. We do so say so standing upon the shoulders of those who died and suffered not in vein so that we may stand before all and be called say ‘we are worthy of accolade and respect’ and never for one moment settle for NIGGA/ER.

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