Peckerwood, PLEASE

Somebody please tell me...why the hell do some white folks get all bent about being socially forbidden from using the word "nigger" in casual context? What the fuck is wrong with you people? 

 

Is your arrested development so acute that being told you shouldn't use a word just pushes you into a foot-stomping hissy of righteous indignation? Would your miserable life somehow be turned into a heavenly garden of rainbows and unicorn farts if only you could utter the word one time? Is the fact that someone enjoys a certain social loophole that you are denied really grinding your ass that bad? 

 

How about this? You don't use it because it's disrespectful. Isn't that enough? 

 

My dad is almost eighty years old, my mom a few years younger, and both are as politically conservative as they come. They are a decade older than that gravy-pimp Paula Deen, and both grew up in the Jim Crow south. I have never once heard either of them utter the word. When I used the word, as a very young child, they sat me down and told me the word was inappropriate. 

 

Not because it was politically incorrect, or because it was inflammatory and could engender confrontation. But because it was disrespectful. Period. 

It's a word of contempt and hatred, of precisely focused fear and violence. What good can come from using it in response to being called a "cracker"? Is it going to reinforce some deep-seated resonance of the rights you enjoy? Does it somehow make things "balanced"? 

 

Hell, no. You're just dusting off your ignorance and taking it out for a stroll down Dipshit Lane. 

 

I mean, I have no problem with it being used in an artistic context. In Quentin Tarantino's hands, or Lenny Bruce's, or Dan Jenkins', to cite three white artists who have used the word in their work, it becomes a term of descriptive revelation and vivid honesty, highlighting the folly and hatred inherent in those who casually use it. Black comedians like Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx used the word extensively, in an effort to soften it's blow. 

 

Hell, if some rapper wants to use it, to take the word back and strip it of it's power to degrade, I'm all for it. He can say it all he wants to. It doesn't magically make me look like less of a four-toed, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodyte when I use the word. 

 

And frankly, since we're airing our grievances here, the fact that said rapper has to grab his belt buckle and slam it up against his nuts to keep his Levis from hitting the pavement is far more ridiculous, to me, than my being denied socially accepted usage of a six-lettered word. If that makes me an old cracker racist, then so be it...I still think it's simple public decency to just pull. Up. Your. GODAAMN. PANTS. 

 

And I don't give a rat's red ass that Charlie Rangell thought it would be a good idea to trot out the ol' "cracker" tag when he referred to the pig-ignorant fucks who fought, violently, against civil rights in the Jim Crow south. If he really has issues with all white folks (and I don't think he does), he's burning up his goddamn karma points, not mine. And referring to him by such a hateful term, in retaliation, as some have suggested we Caucasians be "allowed" to do, only serves to demean both sides. 

 

"Cracker", or "honkie", or "ofay", or "blue-eyed devil"? None of those terms have the force of history behind them. Sorry. It's hard for me to get too upset. Perhaps if someone called me a "republican", or a "New Orleans Saints Fan", I could work up a little indignation. 

 

I have used the word "nigger", when not specifically discussing the word, at least one other time in my life that I can recall. My friend Tim Lowe and I were at the 328 Club in Nashville, checking out Public Enemy. I think it was 1991. We were leaning on the bar, and I was bopping my head and singing along. I kind of shocked myself when the line "This is what I mean, an anti-nigger machine" rolled effortlessly off my tongue. 

 

Terminator X made me do it. Way to go, Norm. 

 

And one more thing. Why do some keep referring to it as "the N-word", other than in goose-necked attempt at misplaced political correctness? We know what the word is. Coyness doesn't really buy you any points, here. If your credibility in such matters is so wobbly that the mere mention of the word as an objective noun is going to cause others to look at you askance, there's probably a little more going on there than you want to admit. 

 

If I have failed to offend anybody with this late-night rant, I apologize. I sincerely tried.

 

 

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