I wonder when any of the hacks from the National Press last took a walk through Handsworth, Toxteth or Moss Side, when they last engaged with the popular culture and lifestyle of Blacks and Asians living in the inner-city communities of the country.
Yes, they are quick to offer an opinion and equally so to judge, but on what basis? What, I ask, do you know about me?
I have read so much bullshit in the last 24-48 hours as to make me both cringe and laugh uncontrollably. So much expert knowledge about the word beginning with N … just for the record, the word is Nigger, and despite this country of political correctness gone mad, it exists. You can colour it as ‘Nigga’ or anything else you wish, but that is merely an indictment on spelling ability.
It is ironic really, this a country in which any insult that I receive would normally come in the shape of the word ‘Paki’, from those far too ignorant to understand that the British Empire did not limit the slave trade to Africa, and that many of us of Indian descent were also ‘shipped’ to the Caribbean.
That is, however, a digression. It just means that people are too stupid to realise that I am a Black man, but also an Asian one, blessed to share the culture and history of 2 great races.
There is a misconception in this country that the word Nigger is limited to certain scenarios and people:-
- Groups of Black youths in the USA, the rap music generation, who may greet each other as a term of endearment
- In books chronicling Black History
- As a racial slur
This we know, because … … …
Oh yes, because the journalist from a different community told us so. Am I cynical, yes the fuck I am, and with every justification.
Agreed, it is used as a ‘greeting’ between Blacks, but do not for a second imagine that it is not used between Blacks in less savoury circumstances, and do NOT even think about suggesting that this is limited to the streets of Compton and Harlem.
I will almost guarantee that if you see a Black on Black fight in the UK, you will hear the word Nigger used on more than one occasion.
Now I ask the question, does that constitute racial slander? Of course it doesn’t.
Semantics and context can of course be everything. I refer to a quote from the American journalist, Robert Lindsay:
“Who should be allowed to use the word?
Obviously, Blacks will keep on using the word themselves, as is their right. Further, Blacks can decide how, where and why they use the word, if at all. It’s only fair to give Blacks ownership over this word, which is really their word.
Blacks are perfectly correct that Whites should not use this word, and don’t give us that phony, “Well, Blacks use it, so why can’t we?” nonsense.
Semantics is a subfield of Linguistics. In Semantics, we say that words mean whatever people who use them say they mean. End of story. Nigger has one set of meanings when Blacks use it and another set when Whites use it. That’s not Black hypocrisy; it’s the way humans use language.
Should racists be granted the right to use the word? No, they use it as a weapon to attack others.”
The insinuation from the British Media in recent days is that a Black can use the word, and nobody else can. However, those are again the rules of those who live in a world far detached from that in which it is in use either as a term of familiarity or insult, from those who watch and judge from their Ivory Towers.
If these very same have no understanding of how the word is used in our own inner-cities, how on earth can they be in judgement of how it is used, perhaps, by one of Hispanic culture?
They have no idea about the modern and colloquial usage of a word which I, admittedly, find abhorrent, but accept as having meaning far beyond that by which it has historically gained notoriety. In the particular case in the limelight right now, the word in question was actually ‘negrito’, one used commonly in Latin South America and not considered to be a slander, racial or otherwise.
Am I saying that it is acceptable for a Uruguayan to call someone a Nigger or ‘Negrito’? Not for a moment. Am I about to stand in judgement of that individual? Similarly not.
However, I do have the intelligence to understand that this word, unfortunately, has multiple contextual uses, and though we may deny it, it only accentuates our ignorance that they are all in use right on our doorsteps.
I do not know if Luis Suarez was racially abusing Patrice Evra. The fact that Evra felt insulted was enough to merit serious investigation. Only Mr Suarez truly knows his own intentions, the rest of us are in nothing other than a state of conjecture.
What I do know is that the British Media and public have illustrated a sad ignorance not only of its own multi-racial culture, but also vilified a man without taking the opportunity to educate itself about his culture. It is a very sad indictment of the standard of journalism in this country and of our society.
When the FA is able to release its evidence and decision making criteria, I will read with interest. For now, I will say that Mr Suarez said something that was extremely ill advised, but would have been acceptable in his own country. Many of those judging his use of it do not even have the faintest idea about how it is used in their own.
Rarely do such cases of Black and White come with such a deep shade of grey. This situation demands our attention, not in hysterical denigration of an individual, but in educating ourselves and behaving with objective reason. We all own beautiful glasshouses, but the view is that which we choose.