Have a problem with the title to my diary? Which word in it? Was it one of them, all of them, or none of them? Because it seems we now have a front page diary that contains the phrase Niggaz as well as a front pager who regularly drops Niggaz in comments. Because if I may quote "The young people these days don't attach any stigma to the word, and I'm well aware of that. Here in New York, all races use it among themselves." Really? Is that the now the standard on Daily Kos front pages? Comments are one thing in of themselves, but front pages?
Young people also use terms like Bitches, calling something they don't like "gay" (while at the same time being very pro-marriage equality) all without attaching any stigma to it. Don't believe? Just Google "Niggaz be like" and "bitches be like" and you'll see stuff like this:
Because just as battle of the too common usage "on the street" of the term Niggaz and Bitches is being waged, there has been a parallel battle being fought just as hard to stop people from saying "that's so gay", when what they really mean to say is "that's so horrible". I bring that up because people not "connected" to the black community and the N-word battle have all heard about that fight.
We have all heard (mostly) young woman referring to their friends lovingly as a "bad bitches". We all know that Black people saying: "that right there is my nigga" and people seeing something lame and saying: "that's so gay!" is something that happens every day. It's just like some exclaiming "that's fucking awesome" without attaching any sexual meaning to it, even though the expression itself is profane. The question I'm asking everyone reading this diary, is do we as community want these expressions as regular features by people who have such a large voice in our community? Should Daily Kos be a place where diarists write that Congress tried to "Jew the President down" on spending just because "people on the street" use that expression? All the expressions mentioned above aren't used literally by the majority of people who utter them.
Just to make sure I'm clear, the "kids these days are saying it" can be used as an excuse to offend every group and everyone on Daily Kos. If it's no big deal to use once common expressions the kids are using, why not use all their common terms? Since the "kids say them" is the justification for constantly saying one of them, why not all of them?If you want to be "real," the cats in the hood dropping terms like Niggaz everyday are also dropping bitches, and using gay (or the f-slur) to describe crap they don't like. Go ahead and name me a real hood where these cats only drop Nigga and not the other two. Why only only be partially "authentic"?
The Indianapolis Freeman’s Sylvester Russell, its main drama critic, knew his racism quite well and staged a sit-in sixty years before they became common. He had no use for “nigger.” Yet he casually noted in 1904 that “The Negro race has no objections to the word “coon.” And in his time, “ace boon coon” was current slang among blacks for “best friend”--and is still used in warm irony now in some black quarters.Yeah, I know the kids want to believe they invented the world, but this has been going on a long, long, long, time. Yeah, and not to keep flashing back, but these same rappers are dropping bitches in their songs and they aren't always using it as a slur. So why draw the distinction and not use both?
To be sure, the word elicited controversy just as nigger does now. The following year Russell interviewed black stage composer superstar Bob Cole, who was dedicated to showing whites blacks’ dignity by doing his vaudeville act in black tie and writing gem-like “genteel” songs (the one with any resonance today is “Under the Bamboo Tree”). Cole said “The word ‘coon’ is very insinuating and must soon be eliminated.”
But then, Cole had no problem with, of all things, “darkey”!
The upshot of this gaslight-era ethnic lexicography is, quite simply, plus ça change.
The reason one might feel that one has been hearing the black use of the N-word “lately” is because one has heard rap only “lately,” and because only “lately” has there been a regular string of black stand-up comedy shows on television and black comedy films. Before all this, the same stuff was going on, just largely unrecorded--i.e. in spoken language, always thriving, be it on the streets of Detroit or Kiryas Joel.
OK I think I made my point. So let's get to the meat of it. Why did I write this diary and what do I want to come out this?
This is in many ways similar to that old historical battle on Daily Kos over swearing in titles. Yeah, we're all (or mostly) all adults and yeah, we all have or have heard other adults swear. We're not going to fall into heart palpitations because we have read swearing. Yeah, and people cuss all the times in comments. But go ahead and read diaries and you don't see a lot of swearing in them.
Most diary writers on Daily Kos can Code Switch "moving back and forth between language, dialects, and idioms". I know this because every survey of Daily Kos shows the majority of members are either professionals, gainfully employed, or have been one of those two things in the past. The vast majority of people in those two categories above aren't regularly dropping F-bombs at work or with their customers. It's just not happening. So, yeah, we can swear at home, in the bar, when cut off in traffic, we also are hearing swearing when we go the movies, pop on our I-pads, or watch YouTube. We do all that but we're not swearing every moment in our careers.
The diarist who prompted this diary has a professional career. I know they can code switch. They couldn't be effective in their career if they didn't. They simply chose not to code switch. I worked landscaping when I was 20, I worked with some grown men who honestly couldn't go 4 sentences without dropping an F-bomb. Does anyone really believe the same can be said of any Frontpager on Daily Kos? Really?
When I go to the barbershop, I hear the brothers saying things like "I voted for Obama, that's my Nigga." I hear sisters saying, "I can't wait for Hillary, she's my girl, that woman is one badass bitch." But is that the type of political and social commentary we want on Daily Kos? If we do, you can find these types of memes being posted all over Facebook and Twitter. Things like these images below, because we hear them said on the street?
So what is it I want?
Let me start out with a list of thing I DON'T WANT:
1) I don't want to write a diary asking Big Daddy Markos to ban folks for using Niggaz, Bitches, That's gay, Jewed down, etc. We're grown folks. We shouldn't have to run to Big Daddy every time we have a dispute. Folks know when they're wrong. Some folks just like to cause controversy and generate big online fights, "pie wars," for whatever thrill they get out of it. We're grown folks. We shouldn't have to be reminded to act like one.What I want from Daily Kos diarist from the person who just activated their account to front pager is for them to handle themselves and their business like grown folk, period. You're grown. Conduct yourself like you are.
2) I don't want to start a big meta war. I'm not going to get involved in any back and forth. I've been here at D Kos a long time. I know how these things so often go. I write "stop using Niggaz," someone writes a counter diary "but rappers use Niggaz so why can't I," someone eventually writes a troll bait diary (containing nothing but Niggaz, Niggaz, for like twenty paragraphs). Kos steps in bans the worse offenders and we get a bunch of GBCW diaries by long-time diarists. The community splits, and it takes weeks of healing. See, I'm not playing that. I'm writing this diary, saying my piece, will respond to comments, then I'm through. Like I said, we're grown folks, we shouldn't have to be reminded to act like one.
3) I'm not going to ask people to become HR vigilantes when folks drop Niggaz. I have both a life and a wife and I don't have time to go chasing down irresponsible folks. I mostly ignore comments I don't respect, and I don't read diarists I think are just troll baiting. I drop hide ratings on the worse offenders if they so merit it and move on. I'm not about to start another lame Daily Kos flame war. (See the big daddy comment under number 1). But front pagers' diaries represent the face of this community, and this is a community I care deeply about. Daily Kos may be Markos' "car," and he can give the keys to it to whomever he chooses. But friends don't let friends get into car crashes. I'm going to do what I think is proper when I see "Niggaz" being dropped. Like I said, we're grown folks we shouldn't have to be reminded to act like one.
4) I don't want to see another version of the WORD POLICE diaries happening. Folks will just start arguing over definitions of words literally for days, just to hear themselves talk. I doubt the sincerity of many of the counter arguments to them. I've been there, done that. My opinion is that if to be true and accurate to a story you need to swear go ahead. Like I keep saying we're grown ups. I've rec'ed hundreds of diaries over the years at Daily Kos with swearing in them. But does anyone want to read woman Frontpagers who keep referring to Hillary as "that's my bitch", or Jewish one saying "Obama needs to Jew the GOP down on defense spending", or LGBT ones saying that Mitt Romney's campaign was just "lame and gay", just because their members of these groups and "can?" I don't need to even worry about that because I already know the answer.
I'm not big into rationalizing. I call it like I see it, and I don't see how certain behavior helps this community in any way. If I disagree with you, I'll argue with you or choose to ignore you as I see fit. But hurt this community, and I'll take it personally, and yeah front pagers throwing out Niggaz does that plain and simple. If someone wants to take that as a personal attack, so be it. I'm not the diary police. I just know what it means to be real and grown, and what it means to not be.
Grown folks don't need big daddy Markos to tell them how to act. They can self police themselves. That's it.