Friday, March 21, 2008

Words.



Bruce Bean is my brother in our multi-cultural family. We've been known to show up at beach establishments throughout the South Bay---Bruce, his wife Ingrid and me---and order beers for "the Negro, the hippie, and the Mexican" (Neither Bruce or I identify with the first two, and Ingrid is actually Guatemalan, but that's the fun part!) I am the godfather of their daughter, Maya. Tio loco.

We've tried to toy with silly notions and spit on racial stereotypes.

Mocking ridiculous language and being the target of pejorative speech are worlds apart, though. 

Years ago, one night in Hennessey's, some redneck used the N-word toward Bruce and another friend of ours, Rodger. I wanted to pour Bacardi 151 on him and light him on fire.

Bruce and Rodger both told me to let it ride. They said they had heard it all their lives.  

Even more reason to burn the bastard alive, I thought. I had a lighter, too. And the Bacardi was right there.

The rest of the post is Bruce's. He said the words that follow were on his mind today. Since he's all heart, I know where he's coming from:
 
I thought I'd write a poem in honor of Barack Obama...

I work in a high school and I often hear students using the n-word to talk to each other.  This poem comes from what I want to say to them (I will read this to them) when I hear them calling themselves “niggah”.

We ain’t ‘niggahs’ no mo! by beanie:

We ain’t niggahs no mo!

400 years of slavery where our women were raped
We were beaten, starved, and lynched
400 hundred years of being degraded
With a word that was formed out of brutality

I can’t understand why the sons of Royalty
Would label themselves as animals
I can’t understand why the root of mankind
Would continue to dishonor those who came before us
We ain’t niggahs no mo!

Term of endearment
Tell that to Malcolm X
Because we are brothas
What family kills itself?

Every time we acknowledge the word niggah
We accept a chain that was intended
To destroy our souls and to delete our humanity
It allows us to see ourselves as less than animals
It helps others justify their guilt
We ain’t niggahs no mo!

Term of endearment
Tell that to James Meredith
Because we are brothas
What family kills itself?

I reject the moniker of hate
It existed in the past
But it does not apply to me
I am a powerful Nubian Prince
Whose legacy was written
Before history was recorded
I am not a nigger anymore

Term of endearment
Tell that to that to those four little girls
Because we are brothas
What family kills itself?

Its time that we realize
That Bob Marley was right
We can ‘emancipate’ ourselves
By throwing off part off the yoke
That binds us to a past of violence
We ain’t niggahs no mo 

allvoices

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I was sitting by myself in the Nairobi Hilton in Kenya and I just looked around and it was like a voice said to me, "What do you see?" And I said, "People of all colors doing things together." And another voice said, "Do you see any "niggers?'" And I said, "No." And the voice said, "Do you know why?" And I said [whispering], "No." And it said, "There aren't any ...'" Richard Pryor, 1982

...and he never used the word again.

The Best Looking Man in Show Business Today

beanie said...

I love that quote. I just believe that we need to past labeling people in this country and that is what I see in Obama's campaign.