This Young Nigga in a Redskin Hat

Did that title offend you?

If it did, should anyone care?

I am back stateside on a lil ameritrip and thinking about the inanity of people being offended on behalf or others. Once you understand that you do not have a right to not be offended, life improves exponentially. Not just for you, but for everyone around you.

I say this from experience. Here is another experience, the first (and most likely the last) time I was truly offended by the word Nigga.

This happened about 5-6 years ago was during my post grad course at the Institute of European Design in Turin, Italy. On one of the breaks from classes, I had returned to stay with folks and sore’ in Rome. I had left my iMac in love the trains in Italy but not lugging that machine around for holidays. The Institute has several other campuses, one being in Rome, so I decided to head over to get some work done.

I find the campus without trouble and once there, though the specifics of how and what about escape me, I ended up having a short conversation with one of the groundskeepers… I’d like to say I needed either directions or he opened a door to one of the labs for me during which my diplobrat of Kenyan origins status came up and that he was from… Senegal or something.*

The next day I returned to the campus there were a few more students around, and thus had no issue getting into the lab. I have been known to zone out, especially when by myself, and drawing, and taking a break in a courtyard from work, in the courtyard in front of a nice old, quaint, school building.

So my mind was nice and floaty, in the ethereal comfort of mind-space when out of nowhere, an anchor in form of a shout, “MA NIGGA!”

I look back and see this guy walking over smiling.

This guy.

My immediate emotion was “Dafuq is this guy callin Ma Nigga?!”

The emotion dissipated fast enough that I doubt it registered on my face. We had an amiable greeting and he went on his way and I returned to drawing.

“Why did it offend me?”

I’d heard the word countless times before this. Sang and shouted in various forms of entertainment, read it, heard it called out to other people, had been called it by people, had used it. So why this, why now? Why this guy?

the answer is two things; context and reasoning.

Having some random person say that to me was quite unexpected at the time. He may have heard the word in American culture, and knowing previously lived in the states, thought it an appropriate greeting. As an African abroad, he may have identified with me enough to feel it was warranted, as an affectionate term to call a comrade.

Not in my book

Not even close to being there.

His reasons were not the same as my reasons to use that word. His reasons did not in anyway seem to be malicious, or descriptive of who I am,  so the offense dissipated before it could hardly register.

there was no offense to take offense to

Now I’ll swing this back around to the Redskins and tie up this post.

What is the context?

Assume it is the most insulting one you can think of.

Why change the name?

Butthurt.

Why so butthurt?

See answer to ‘What is the context?’

*if you were thinking that the guy likely talked to me because I’m black and may have looked African, you are prolly right. That happens. To a lesser extent, in the Bethesda,MD area when people of African origin walked by you they’d kind of nod or acknowledge your shared heritage… I could have been oversensitive to this phenomena as it does not seem to occur anymore on this return trip. In an interesting side note, I wonder if random Mzungus** walking past each other in Nairobi do a similar nod or acknowledgement thing.

**Mzungu is what the general Swahili term for people with white skin. Mzungus being the plural. A topical aside was an interesting point that my Pops made on how this word is generally used as a blanket term for all ‘whites.’ This again shows how the context and actual treatment of the subject matters more than a supposedly offensive term. As though the term could be similar to walking around Europe or north America and referring to all ‘blacks’ as negroes, in Kenya those Mzungus are usually treated with a certain reverence.

What, what? Here’s the posts video. It’s an older one (2007) that people found either hilarious or offensive, somehow came up a few days ago, and with the nature of this post I thought, in for a penny…. enjoy…or get butthurt, not my rAntponsibility.

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2 responses to “This Young Nigga in a Redskin Hat

  1. Pingback: Combating White Oppression | Rant A. Tonne·

  2. Pingback: Can News be Fixed? | Rant A. Tonne·

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