Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not a nigger after all.

The other day, I remembered something from when I was young enough that someone else combed my hair. Not a HUGE moment, I just felt like sharing it.

My aunt was combing my hair and I guess it wasn't cooperating. She said something in-frustration, which lead to the following exchange:
"This hair is actin' so niggerish!"

"I guess it has to since it belongs to one.

Your hair belongs to what?

Me. A nigger.

No, baby. You’re not a nigger.
That was news to me.


I guess that's one of the side-effects of Black families casually tossing that word around.

9 comments:

B. Good said...

You had hair? :)

Ok, I know that wasn't the point of the post. But at least she assured you that you aren't one of "them", right? *sigh* I know, I know. We must do better.

Miz JJ said...

I think we toss around those terms without thinking how they will really affect people. At least your aunt tried to make it better.

I had a similar type of experience in Trinidad as a teen. My older cousin told me to get out of the sun because I didn't want to get "dark". I was like hell yah I do that's why I am sitting out here, but she meant I should try to preserve my "light" skin by staying out of the sun. It's all so crazy to me.

West said...

Yeah. I'm glad she corrected me and I'm hopeful that she gained something from the experience. Still, I know that many in my family have used that word rather liberally in the years since.

There's so much that "our" children are exposed to, of which I think many of us are unaware. I'd like to see more deliberation and explanation within our community.

Clarence said...

That's on a whole other format that you were able to get clue like that and have it stick. Big ups to your aunt.

We do toss it around pretty liberally (can we blame Rap City in the Basement and other forms of media? Probably).

I'd posit that the freedom to toss it around rests more with our generation than, say, Ma and Pop Dukes (I remember when Ma Dukes went upside my head the first time she heard me drop it).

Solid post, bruh. You should animate this, and get it into BET Animations rotation.

Angie said...

I wonder what your hair was doing that conjured up the word "niggerish" for your aunt. : )

West said...

Clarence: Thanks.

angie: Nothing special. It was just nappy, I think.

DJ Black Adam said...

Like Treach from Naughty said:

"That's happy to be nappy!!!"

Lola Gets said...

Dont you just love it when older people make simple, yet profound statements? I wrote a post about something my dad said to be recently - check it out!
L

Ed Cunard said...

We do toss it around pretty liberally (can we blame Rap City in the Basement and other forms of media? Probably).

Something hit me while re-reading The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man by Paul Weldon Johnson--this isn't even as new as we may think it is--Johnson's unnamed narrator has guys in New York City throwing it around casually in what I imagine is the late 1800s/early 1900s--the novel doesn't tie events down to a specific year.