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Another post about who can say the n-word.

For a lot of Black people, there’s race and there’s culture, and both of them have a place in the n-word conversation.

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Looks like y’all dragged Remy Ma for not being all that bothered by non-Black people using the n-word. I’m gonna attempt to explain that viewpoint, not on behalf of all or even most Black people, but there is a real corner of the community that really isn’t that bothered. TBH…….I think there are way more New Yorkers who don’t really care than will publicly admit because I swear to god nobody says “nigga” more than a 16 or 17 year old Puerto Rican or Dominican from Washington Heights or the Bronx, esPECIALLY the girls.

I grew up in the South. If you say anything that even SOUNDS like the n-word, I’m ready to fight.

A White: **mumble mumble**

Me: WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SAY???

A White: Dude I said Nintendo! Do you want to play Mario!

Me: Well…enunciate better before you get popped.

That’s how I grew up.

I moved up here ten years ago and it’s nigganigganigganigga all day on the 6, on the A, walking around the Heights, working in the Bx. You cannot escape non-Black people saying nigga all day every day and you can’t fight or get mad at everybody. You become immune. It becomes part of the urban slang, part of the lexicon of brown neighborhoods.

Cardi B. got lucky.

I love her, y’all know I’m Bardigang 100%, but come on — that girl did NOT identify as any part of the African Diaspora until she got famous. She was just another Dominican chick from the Heights and 75% of them get mad tight when you imply that they come from slaves too. But they all use the n-word, including her. She pulled out that Trinidadian card so fast and we gave her a pass, because she’s so hood.  And that’s where I am with the n-word. It’s partly cultural.

JLo is Puerto Rican. 

I guarantee her 23 & Me has a good chunk of African ancestry. But when she said the n-word, the backlash was swift and she never did it again, because she’s pop. She’s not hood. She might have grown up in the Bronx, but she left that behind, and she doesn’t *look* like us. Cardi has my hair. She talks like the girls on the corner. She’s hood, she’s hard, she’s culturally closer to “nigga” being part of her lexicon than JLo, so after the backlash, we gave her a pass.

For a lot of Black people, there’s race and there’s culture, and both of them have a place in the n-word conversation. Ben Carson is Black. Fat Joe is Puerto Rican & Cuban. If I’m chopping it up with both of them, I’m more offended if Ben Carson drops the n-word than Fat Joe.

So when we say only Black people can use it, technically that applies to a huge chunk of Latinos because they share the same African gene pool, but so many of them deny that ancestry, so it shouldn’t count anymore since they’re not embracing their Blackness. When we say only Black people can use it, technically that applies to all Black people, but there is a very real segment of Black America who would not be saying “nigga” as “my dude” and it would feel distinctly out of place and/or offensive (Bill Cosby, Stacy Dash, Don Lemon, etc.) And there’s a middle part, where the culture is there but the Blackness isn’t, and that’s Puerto Rican high school girls on the 6 who will literally die if they don’t say nigga every 13 seconds.

So, as far as the n-word goes, there are

Black people who say only Black people can say it.

Black people who say nobody should say it.

Black people who say anybody can say it – it’s just a word.

And there are Black people who take each person on a case-by-case basis. Some Black people CAN’T say it, and some non-Black people CAN – maybe they shouldn’t, but it’s not bothersome enough to get mad about when they do. That Remy, and a lot of other people who won’t admit they feel the same.

Oh, btw, none of this applies to white people. You can grow up in Brownsville and I will still push you into oncoming traffic for saying the n-word.

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History

Take this Jim Crow era literacy test for Black people.

I have a master’s degree, and I failed on the first question.

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I know what a literacy test is, but sadly, I’d never looked one up to see what the questions were like. During Jim Crow, they were used to keep Black people from voting. Some poor and illiterate whites got caught in the net as well, and that makes sense for a country who, when founded, only gave voting rights to landowning whites, but the purpose was to keep Black people from being heard. Former congressional candidate Gary Chambers Jr. posted a literacy test today, and you can’t pass it. I can’t pass it. No one can pass it.

This particular test from Louisiana in 1964 was to be administered to anyone who could not prove they had finished 5th grade or higher, which would overwhelmingly apply to more Black people. We had less access to education and were more likely to quit school in order to work the land and help our parents keep a meager roof over the family’s head back when so many Black people were sharecroppers.

And there’s no uniform key for this test. The white registrar reads the answers and decides whether you answered correctly or not. I’m sure this test, on the rare occasion it was given to white people at all, was graded more leniently when the hand turning it in wasn’t colored.

So. Take it and see if you would be able to vote in Louisiana in 1964, less than 60 years ago.

Ten minutes to complete 30 questions is about twenty seconds per question, and you have to get every single one correct. If this was an actual literacy test, I would pass with flying colors, because I can read well enough to know that some of these questions are unanswerable, but it’s not about literacy. It’s about creating a standard that no one can meet and then applying it unfairly to Black people. It’s giving Black people additional burdens to be perfect that white people don’t have. It’s disparaging Michelle Obama for showing her arms in her White House portrait even though Melania has nude photoshoots online. It’s arresting Black people for marijuana at 3 times the rate of white people, even though the same percentage of Black people smoke weed as white people. (x) It’s Black college students being just as likely to find employment as white people who didn’t even finish high school. (x) It’s cops shooting unarmed Black people and taking a white mass shooter to Burger King. (x)

A lot of Black kids heard this refrain from our parents growing up: You have to be twice as good as the white folks to get half as far. However. When the judge and jury of your achievement is White America, you can still fail the test they never even have to take.

 

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Race

A moment for Gwen Berry

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It’s so funny to me that Conservatives think we care what they have to say about Gwen Berry being unpatriotic when those same people don’t care that the Capitol was stormed and vandalized.

One of these is a protest.

The other is a crime.

**Black lady turns away from the flag.**

WHAT A DISGRACE TO AMERICA!

**White people break into the Capitol and erect a gallows to hang elected officials.**

awwww economic anxiety 🥺🥺🥺🥺

 

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Race

France is giving the United States another Statue of Liberty.

Another symbol of liberty to a country that’s still oppressing its people.

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NYC has another Statue of Liberty on the way. France is sending us a smaller version to be placed on Ellis Island just across the water from Liberty Island where the original stands as a beacon to freedom…or something.

This new bronze statue, nicknamed the “little sister,” is one-sixteenth the size of the world-famous one that stands on Liberty Island.

“The statue symbolizes freedom and the light around all the world,” said Olivier Faron, general administrator of the CNAM [National Museum of Arts and Crafts]. “We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship.”

(cont. CNN)

If you want to put a symbol of “freedom and light” anywhere, it shouldn’t be in the United States.

If you want to give the Statue of Liberty to the United States all over again anyway, give it in the spirit with which it was originally intended in the first place — as a gift to celebrate Black Americans.

I grew up with the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of hope and freedom for immigrants. “Give us your tired, your poor…” and all that, but Lady Liberty had been there for twenty years before those lines by Emma Lazarus were inscribed onto a plaque and installed at the pedestal. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of immigration (the voluntary kind, not the shackled and chained way most Black people got here) for two reasons. One, immigrants latched onto the massive sculpture, which is understandable because she was the first image of New York for most European immigrants arriving by boat on the way to be processed at nearby Ellis Island. Two, the creator, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, pitched the idea to raise funding from Americans in the most general terms of “liberty” without specifically referencing Black Americans. His plan worked since the United States did indeed agree to pay for the pedestal if France paid for the actual statue, but it was a pivot away from the original idea.

Édouard de Laboulaye was a French abolitionist and it was he, along with his social circle of abolitionists, who conceived of a massive gift to present to the United States after the Civil War — once slavery was outlawed. The proposal of Lady Liberty initially held broken and shackles to signify the broken chains of slavery instead of the tablet she holds today. The chains eventually made their way into the final version down around her feet, the original significance lost to most people and barely noticed.

The years immediately following the Civil War were filled with promise for Black Americans and de Laboulaye wanted to recognize that. We made great strides in education, civic engagement, and politics, but the South regained its footing and struck a compromise in the 1876 Presidential Election that saw federal troops removed from the Old Confederacy. Black people were back in chains, invisible shackles placed on our communities through coalitions built between lawmakers and law enforcement, private businesses and private citizens. When Bartholdi finished Lady Liberty, there was no way to “sell” the idea to the United States as a celebration of slavery’s end. Black America hated the idea, because we were being oppressed, terrorized, and murdered, and White America would’ve scoffed, because they were doing the terrorizing. She was pitched as a symbol of liberty, immigrants saw her as the first welcoming image of the United States, and then the government solidified that feeling by using words from Emma Lazarus.

Today, it’s more important than ever to remember why the Statue of Liberty was conceived in the first place, not a symbol of general liberty and freedom, but as a symbol of Black liberty and freedom. We are still fighting to have our history accurately taught in schools. We are still fighting to be the country de Laboulaye thought we were becoming when slavery ended. And we are still fighting to live up to the promise Lady Liberty has symbolized to millions of immigrants. This little sister will probably be all over the news as we get closer to July 4th, so whenever you see her, make sure you remind somebody that the Statue of Liberty was supposed to be a gift to celebrate the end of slavery, but the US put Black people back in chains too quickly for her to actually symbolize liberty and freedom for us.

 

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