Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DJ Khaled Says He's A Nigga

Here we go again, with people thinking that they have a right to reclaim a slur when they don't belong to the group which the slur is commonly aimed at. DJ Khaled who is Palestinian recently faced some push back over his decision to claim the identity of nigga.  Apparently it's all about love and understanding for him.



 Transcript
Interviewer: I personally don't give a fuck about but I see it everywhere, DJ Khaled is saying the N Word
DJ Khaled: Yeah, I mean, I'm a nigga, you see what I'm sayin? You see if somebody ever took that in a what's that word arrogant?
Interviewer: Arrogance?
DJ Khaled: Yeah if somebody thinks it in another way they dumb
Interviewer: They not takin it the right way man
DJ Khaled: They take it to - like I'm trying to - I grew up like that; it's actually actually a slang. It's a positive word the way I use it. The way Ace is using it. If you think like that, that goes back to the internet. You know the hate.  For me to say I don't say it, we're the best oooooh we nigga we the best
Interviewer: Weee
Dj Khaled: We, that's what I'm talkin about. Niggas that think that think that is dumb fucks. You see what I'm saying? Yeah, once again I'd like to do a shout out to all the fans, and all the people that love. You know what I'm sayin'? It's like love is music.
Interviewer: Explain that
DJ Khaled: You know what makes me mad? It's like when I grew up, niggaas was calling me sand nigga. Now, that’s ignorant, because there’s only one way to say it. You can’t say, ‘Yo what up my sand niggaa?’ That’s not the way we grew up in the streets. When I say ‘What up my niggaa,’ I say that to Green Lantern all the time. ‘What up my nig?’ That’s just me greeting you with love, but if somebody takes it another way, they dumb, man. That’s like, dumb. Like, they dumb.”
So you see how it works, a slur directed at him is a problem, but even though he isn't Black, he feels that he can say nigga with love.  His use of the word nigga may not have the same historical context as when a White person says it, but it does not mean that it ceases to be slur and does not trigger a vicious legacy of dehumanization.  The bottom line is that you cannot reclaim a slur, if you are not a part of the group that the slur is aimed at.

DJ. Khaled is facing a backlash for his language, and instead of admitting that what he said was hurtful, he justified it by saying that he grew up that way.  I wonder if he is friends with V Nasty and Kreayshawn? A decent person would at the very least reconsider hir language -- after all -- the derivative of nigga and the word itself is hardly dubious. No Black person is a hater for not wanting to be addressed this way, or being upset by him deciding that it is appropriate to self identify as a nigga, because he will never have to deal with the stigma that this word implies.  As a man of color, he will have to negotiate racism; however, even racism aimed at  Blacks, varies based on a multitude of circumstances.  His lived experience as a man of color, does not negate the lived experience of Blacks who are upset by his usage of the term nigga.  If he truly must reclaim a slur, he can start with the one aimed at him.

I don't know what it is about slurs that bring out the ignorance in people.  If they are not actively trying to falsely reclaim a slur, they are inventing them so that they can claim that they are marginalized.  Over at Danny's Corner of the Universe, a woman asked, 'if the expression White trash racist'? Between that and red heads worried that they are going to be bred out of existence I have had enough. Suddenly, being marginalized is cool and everyone wants in on the game.  For the record, White trash is not now, or ever will be racist.  It is a commentary on class and that is as far as it goes.

These repeated conversations are exhausting, but I keep trying to have them, because I firmly believe that all slurs are dehumanizing.  I personally am not a fan of reclamation, because I don't believe that you can alter the meaning of a word that is entrenched with hate to render it harmless, but I do believe that people have the right to negotiate the slurs aimed at them as they see fit.  When Dj Khaled uses the word nigga, all I see is a man so arrogant that he believes his desire to use a word out weighs the feelings of those who have been harmed by the word.  There will always be a few sycophants who are willing to give you a justification of everything from slurs, to blackface, but if the speaker truly wants to respect the Black community, the answer is not to reject, or attack us when some of say that we are hurt. A yes from one of your uncle tom buddies does not represent the opinion of the rest of the community.