Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What's up my Niggas?

I haven't been writing recently. I had started something on Ted Kennedy earlier this week and I was going to see if I could tie his relationship to his father, the late ambassador to the Court of St. James, with my relationship to my father the late civil engineer from New Jersey. But it wasn’t really going anywhere close to a place that I was going to be comfortable with. So I thought it would be better to let that idea season a little, ferment or even pickle before I tackled it. Also, I would need to get some old pictures digitized first so the piece would come out right.

Then I thought about saying something about China and the earthquake and its relationship to the Olympics later this year or the amount of money that might be diverted from covering American expenses to covering their losses and caring for their people. But I’m no Milton Friedman; economics for me is micro rather than macro. It’s about being able to cover the bills and figuring out how to keep a little for the fun projects.

What was left, the cyclone in Myanmar and the government there and their refusal to accept foreign aid? Or maybe I could write about the dismissal from the force of four police officers in Philly for the beating of the 3 suspects just the other week? Juicy, but it would take talents more than mine to do it justice. Maybe I could write about the World War I munitions that are being washed up on the Jersey shore again in time for Memorial Day. Makes you wonder how frightened people were back then about Kaiser Bill landing in Atlantic City. But the couple of lines you just read would be all that I could write. So I shall take a stab at swearing.

When I was a child, a friend of mine who was about 2 years older than me, a big deal in those days, flipped the birdie at me and asked me what it meant. As easy as a whore begging for crack on a cell phone, I sang out loudly and clearly, “fuck off,” proud in my knowledge of life and the world. Except of course I couldn’t have been too knowledgeable otherwise I would have known not to say that in front of my own house. Because just as I was about to shine in my own glory, the front bedroom window shot up and my mother leaned out with nostrils flaring screamed, “If…” and I don’t remember the rest. But suffice It to say, she has never heard me swear again.

In fact I never used swear words, curse words, vulgarities except for the minor ones when I was growing up at all. My friends and other people would comment on how I would never swear and that I was just trying to behave like a snob. But I didn’t really care what they thought as long as most of them thought I could beat them up anyway. See, one well placed fight and the right reputation true or not will do wonders for you. Something I learned by experience. It hasn’t been until recently, maybe the last 10 years that I started to swear.

Now I’m not talking of the, “blast, damn, shit, fuck,” that you scream when you stub your little toe in the middle of the night. I’m talking about using these same words in ordinary conversation. I’m talking of using these words as adjectives, verbs, adverbs and even nouns when I want to get a little creative all in order to get the simplest of points across. I bring this up because, although I don't believe my language skills to be superior to anyone else’s, I believe that it is important to be in control of what I say, and how I say it. How I communicate and how I want to be understood. I feel that words are important, and the choice of words doubly so. Being born in the 60’s one word I have never used to describe anyone or call anyone is Nigger.

Nigger, the word conjures up visions of George Wallace and the early civil rights era. It brings on a feeling of being less than or not worthy of. But it can also bring on a feeling of comradery or fellowship which I don’t seem to be privy to. Nigger is not a word that I have been frightened of using or even easily offended by it being used to address me, but it is a word that I have found to be real tricky for me to use.

I came across this Youtube video from FIVEblackgUys that may express some of the thoughts that I have about it more than I ever could. What do you think?


  1. The video is CLASSIC! I have to think on this one. IS Nigga ever appropriate?

  2. Bap - I think just because you have to think about it, means that there may be situations where it's not appropriate. If that's the case, then why risk the chance of encountering those situations. But then that's just my take on it.

  3. china should make us all count our blessings

  4. T - If china should ever pull back suddenly and financially, people would see our blessings disappear almost as quickly.


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