Letters To The Editor-May '98

Nigga or Nigger pg 2

About a month ago I was outside of Amoeba Records in Berkeley and some kids
were arguing, one of my friends was in the conflict and I went to go see what
had happened.  It turned out that these two latino kids tried to start beef
with this white kid, eventually his friend [who was black] went over to help
him.  The one latino kid that was doing most of the talking had said something
that he thought was normal everyday slang, he said "Nigga."  This changed the
conflict into a racial thing, yet the latino kid didn't see what was wrong.
The black kid kept saying that he felt it was disrespectful to be called
"Nigga," but the latino kid kept saying that its just slang.  They're arguing
was going nowhere so I decided to say something.  
I said to the latino kid, "You called him a 'Nigga' right?" 
He responded, "Not really, I said 'Nigga' but it was slang, you know?"
I said, "So its ok to call him 'Nigga' right?"
"I don't know...its just what people say...I don't see why he's taking it
hella personally.  if I called you 'Nigga' you wouldn't trip right?"
"Actually, its still saying I'm a 'Black Object.' would you like to be called
He then started getting offended. "Naw, thats different"
"No it isn't.  You called him 'Nigga', why can't I call you 'Spic'?"
He thought about it.  Then I said, "If you don't like being called 'Spic',
then don't call black people 'Nigga'.  You never know if they're gonna take it
as slang or as something racial.  Think about what you're saying before you
say it"

I think if people would really think about the origins of the word they would
think twice about saying it.  In a Black Studies class I had, some Black kids
were getting mad that they heard Asians and Latinos using the word 'Nigga',
yet they still used it in the same conversation.  Just count to yourself how
many times you hear the word 'Nigga' in one day...you might be amazed how many
times you hear it and who actually says it....

Smurf One

I agree 99% with what you're saying. Especially when it comes to non 
black people being inducted into the nigga school of thought.  It still 
bugs me out that we're proud of this word and make so many excuses for 
why we use it.  KRS should have said, now you have white kids (or 
chinese/japanese, etc) calling you nigger, and you give them dap for it.  
Crazy, if a skinhead white kid was to say it at a Marilyn Manson concert 
we'd all be whooping and hollering.  

Actually we are pretty powerless and pathetic when it comes to 
protesting about peole saying negative things about us.  Like you 
correctly point out, gays, jews and all these other cats, they ain't 
having that.  Remember how they set it on Buju Banton, cancelled my mans 
tours, picketed him, called for his records to be pulled all that.  They 
asked Shabba Ranks what he thought and for saying that Buju was right 
(he did not repeat the Boom bye bye in a batty boy head words only 
agreed with it) he got blacklisted too, they cancelled his scheduled 
appearance on David Letterman, etc.  

Back to us being powerless, racists in the Washington legislature got 
mad when Clinton expressed regret for slavery.  One went on to say how 
there should be no regret because we were rescued from a Tarzan movie. 
Where was the NAACP, C. Delores Tucker and all these so called activists 
and black leaders when the shit was hitting the fan.  "You can't always 
tell who's in cahoots because now the KKK is dressed in suits." When 
guns and roses said spics and niggers get out of my way, what happened? 
Nothing.  WHat kind of power we got. Power to endorse rolex, versace, 
DKNY oh my I'm jiggy.  The apocalypse cometh, people are you ready.

The reason I say I agree 99% is because I feel you place a lot of blame 
on Puff but you can't exonerate all these other cats cause everyone is 
doing it.  If you single Puffy out let it be for his wack rhymes and 
beat stealing tendencies.

J Blaze

Wassup Davey D I'm a Japanese girl and I'm down with hip hop. But I ever and never use the word "nigga" because I know the real meaning. Some Japanese wanna-be use the word not knowing the real meaning. And everytime I hear them say it I say "don't say that." but they say "why ?" I went to Common Sense's concert in February. It was nice until that happened..... Common said "Throw ya hands up if you are a NIGGA. It doesn't matter if you are a black or Japanese. If you are down with me, you are a nigga" I couldn't believe he said that. All the people except me threw their hands up not because they thought they'er niggaz but they could pick up the words " throw ya hands up". ( Japanese can understand only "throw ya hands up" "say ho" "make some noise") I can't say black people sould not use the word because they themselves choose to use it. I'm Japanese so it's not my business. But I think at least we non-black people should not use it and Common should not have said that. The word may empower black people, but I think it doesn't respect themselves.
Peace Makiko Murata

Word ! That's the type of shit I've been having in the back of my mind the longest. I think the "N" word played itself out a long time ago. The sorriest thing is that a lot of these rappers are supposed to be intelligent and all that. I know that it is only used as a term of endearment (as Q-Tip put it) but I think that rappers should have realized by now that rap music is no longer only "a black thing", but that it has evolved into something much bigger than the old school forefathers could imagine, now it's international and has maaaaaaaaaaad influence on people. Where I'm originally from, the population is about 80%-90% black. And it's only because of the influence of rap music that some heads are beginning to use that word. (whereas in the 80's it was hardly used in any rap song, so it can do without). But I think you said it all in your newsletter, about the bias and all, unfortunately some of these mc's out now are too STUPID/IGNORANT to see that. So it's good to have a Davey D or a Chuck D to regularly remind them of their imbecilnesssssssssss. Reach , Preach and Educate. Pay close attention to what you say and how you say it. Because your music is highly influential...... .......but in the end niggas still don't get it. P.S: I saw you last week on this internet show on NBC-europe. You were talkin with this dude (who I think didn't really know jackshit about hiphop, you and what www.daveyd.com was really about) but anyway I tought you represented to the fullest. I encourage you to keep up the good work 'cause there arent many if any Davey D's out there. Keep up the good work. 5000
I feel that the use of the word 'nigga' by blacks has lost its original meaning. It was first used to degrade and demean blacks, but somehow through the years, has been embraced and turned around by blacks to be used as a term of endearment. This is most prevalent in the hip hop generation, however, I know older people (late 30's and up) who use the word 'nigga' when referring to their friends or family members. I think that's where my generation got it from and why we thought it wasn't such a bad thing. I feel that the use of the word by non-blacks or in public areas, however, is intolerable. Regardless if they use it because they feel close to blacks or the black culture, it just doesn't feel right coming from a non-blacks' mouth or blasting from the radio speakers. It's like they haven't earned the right to say it because they can't really ever feel how it is to be black in America, for better or for worse. They just want to belong, and that's cool, but find a way to belong in another form. Just because you call one of your black friends 'nigga' and you don't get stomped, doesn't mean you have been formally inducted into being a black person. Rest assured, if you call a stranger 'nigga', be prepared to defend yourself. Hell, i wouldn't call a black stranger 'nigga' because you never know if that person accepts the word or not. I don't use the word anymore, but my friends do. I try not to say it anymore because of how it's gotten out of hand. Blacks say it in public, around non-blacks and I see how other people perceive it. They probably feel that if they call themselves 'nigga', then they don't care and I should be able to do the same. Non-blacks can't understand the reasons why we flipped it. I don't really understand why, either. I relate it to the word 'bitch', which was flipped by some women to mean a positive, strong, woman. However, it hasn't really caught on. Regardless who says it, 'bitch' is a fighting word to me. If a non-black or a black stranger called me 'nigga', I wouldn't like it. I'd be thinking, "You don't know me well enough to get away calling me that!" Using the word 'nigga' is a private thing and it shows how blacks can turn a negative into a positive. We took a word, given to us by our adversaries, with negative connotations and flipped it into a word with positive meaning. We use the word now to refer to friends and family. However, I feel that we should stop using the word and make up our own word to refer to each other positively. I know of other races that call themselves slang words, but it's private and internal. They don't dare say it in public or in the media. No outsiders are allowed to use it without starting some static. That's how it should be. Keep it in the family or don't use it at all.
Atiim Funchess


I'm glad someone has come to his senses about the use of 'nigga.'  No other
culture has taken such a blatantly negative description of themselves, and
used it to describe themselves, as if that was their original name.  I
don't even think that there is a more offensive word used to describe ANY
group of people except this one.

Trying to turn this word into a 'good' thing is just like saying, "Now all
women can be proud to be called bitches, because we've taken the poison out
of the word."  If that were truly the case, then why is it that, when
someone wants to insult a woman in the worst way, the first thing out of
his/her mouth is 'bitch'?.  Why is it that when we hear a storeowner use
the word nigger, the first thing we want to do is go out and picket?
Obviously, no matter how much the word is thrown out, the negative image
will not be neutralized.

It is especially offensive to me to now hear white folks, even on TV,
throwing out the word 'nigga.'  It's bad enough that they have practically
stolen every aspect of our youth's culture, from the way we wear our
clothes to the way we walk, but this is completely ridiculous.  What's
worse is that we have allowed it, as if it means that now they really
respect us.  I don't think so.  As soon as that white 'hip hop' kid
graduates from business school, believe me, he will throw away the baggy
'FUBU' gear and go out and buy some Jos. A. Bank business suits, and forget
about ever knowing us.

But enough of my ranting.  I really appreciate your accurate view of the
use of  'nigga' and how it is so detrimental to our well-being.  In my
opinion, there is absolutely no excuse to use the word, as it will never
mean anything positive to me.

peace, zenzele

Go To Letters On The N Word pg 3

Go Back Letter's To The Editor Directory

Go Back To Davey D Homepage

[home] [chat] [conferencing] [updates] [what it is]
[politics] [contests] [opinion] [links/photos] [media]

this site is produced by Davey D in association with eLine Productions