OK, going into the deep end of the pool here. Got into this today with my therapist. I have NEVER had an appreciation for rap, hip-hop, what have you. I recorded a blues album back in ’82 with a producer who’d represented Curtis Blow, one of the early pioneers. Thru the decades I’ve encountered some tracks I admired, artists whose prose or rhythms I found compelling…but there was SO much else that struck me as just noise and misogyny and violence and self-hatred…
So I’m talking to my therapist today about my gym and working out and their sound system pumping rap. Lotta people have their own ear phones…just not how I roll. Lotta people of color train/work out there, Lotta accomplished/aspiring athletes. Met Jose Conseco there once; Wilt Chamberlains photo is on the wall. And a lotta other people; Middle Eastern, Jewish, elderly, ALL affluent, make no mistake.
But I’m thinking, in this era of #MeToo and safe spaces and…I mean, I sit or stand or recline and as I do, I get to hear Nigger. Nigger. Nigger….And I get TIRED OF IT. I feel like a feminist compelled to hear TITTY. PUSSY. CUNT. all throughout their workout.
So…Is it me? Am I out of line? Am I a snowflake? I have NO pretense to being Hep or Hip or whatever the fuck is now in step with modernity. THAT train left the station some time ago…and I’ll cop to that. 🙂
But seriously. Am I being triggered – righteously – by a word that has perhaps been reclaimed by more recent generations of people of color? Like gay people reclaiming FAGGOT? And how is that working out? I don’t wanna limit or diminish ANYONE’S self-expression. But that word was fundamental to my youth…and it was a word that was a call to arms for me. Growing up before integration in America, living abroad in the 50’s and 60’s, encountering both people who’d never even SEEN a person of color! And people that HAD…and wanted to dehumanize me…diminish me…invalidate my humanity. I was NEVER physically imposing…but I WOULD show up!
So hell no, I won’t go. This is perhaps generational. I love words and language….but I’d guess I will never in my life become comfortable with hearing the word “nigger” spoken aloud in my presence among strangers… especially white strangers.