Here’s the thing: As a white, non-black person – man or woman – why would you ever want to appropriate a word that is emblematic of a gross history of violence, one at the very hands of your own predecessors? The length to which wypipo go to defend their use of “n***a” is completely and utterly mind-boggling.
Take British journalist Piers Morgan, for instance, who begged the awful question, “Should white girls be allowed to sing ‘ni**as’?” in his latest column. The argument is in light of members of the Alpha Phi Sorority at University of New Hampshire under fire for being recorded singing along to Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” which repeatedly belts out “but she ain’t messing with no broke n***as.”
As if to absolve white men from any wrongdoing when they appropriate the n-word, Morgan further perpetuates this toxic a**, warped a** theory that white boys/men can do as they please.
“I doubt any of them gave it a moment’s thought when Kanye’s song ‘Gold Digger’ began playing, and certainly not any racist thought,” Morgan writes. “They’re young, free and partying and it would have just seemed like any other very popular rap song. So they sang along to it, and that meant they subconsciously sang the word ‘ni**as’ too. So what? They didn’t write the song, Kanye West did. They didn’t make millions of dollars from that song, Kanye West did.”
He went on to suggest that because Kanye made so much money on the backs of his white fans – so to speak – they should be allowed to sing along to the very lyrics of his hit record: “Superstars like Kanye West target and exploit white audiences for their music just as enthusiastically as they target and exploit black audiences.”
Does Morgan really think that Kanye, the same guy who rapped songs like “Spaceship” “Blood on the Leaves” and “New Slaves,” is making music for white people? The same guy who blurted out “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people” on national television? Really? Nah, son. You got this all the way f**ked up. Kanye doesn’t have that kind of power, but his white superiors do.
“I argued then that the only way to stop its use completely is for EVERYONE to stop using it,” he continues, “including black people. To me, there is no difference between ‘n***er’ and ‘ni**a’. They sound exactly the same.”
Again, Morgan, you got us all the way f**ked up, because in no room is “n***er” and “n***a” the same, nor do they sound alike. But that’s some typical white man colonizer s**t to think, so whatever. What you won’t do is promote the idea that white people get to politicize black people about anything in this day and age.
To drive his poor rationalization home, Morgan added: “But if rappers like Kanye West insist on using it, and writing songs with the word in either form, then it is absolutely predictable and understandable that their fans will sing the songs just as they hear them – regardless of the colour of their skin.”
Considering our history of violence, of rape and genocide, of stripping away autonomy to our own bodies, Morgan, you don’t get to step in and tell black people what to do or how to move in the world. And considering that same history, where silence was used as a mechanism for survival, white people don’t get to tell black people to stop using a word reclaimed.