Rush Limbaugh, the Grand-Dragon of the Republican party and leader of all things racist and hateful, has decided to take the phenomena to a whole new level with CNN's Piers Morgan's interview of Rachael Jeantel. Rachael is the prosecution witness who was on the phone with Trayvon when he was being chased down by Zimmerman. In her interview with Piers, she gives a rather flawed justification for the use of the N-word among Black youth. One should keep in mind that Rachael is not native to this country, and English is not her first language. From the CNN transcript...
RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Nigga.Of course this was the perfect justification for ol' Fatty McLimpdick.
JEANTEL: People -- the whole world say it's a racist word. Mind you, around 2000s, that was not -- they changed it around I think.
It starts spelling N-I-G-G-A. Nigga ...
MORGAN: What does that mean to you, that way of spelling it? What does that word mean to you?
JEANTEL: That means a male.
MORGAN: A black male?
JEANTEL: No, any kind of male.
MORGAN: Black or white?
JEANTEL: Any kind. Chinese could say nigga. That's my Chino nigga. They could say that.
MORGAN: And rappers and everything use it in the music and that's ...
JEANTEL: They use it.
MORGAN: ... what they mean.
But nigger is not about black people because they're not going to have it like that because that's a racist word.
MORGAN: They're two different words and they have different meaning in your community.
JEANTEL: No. In a generation, 2000s.
MORGAN: To young people, you mean?
JEANTEL: Not young people. Old people use that, too.
So “nigga” with an A on the end… (interruption) Well, I think I can now. Isn’t that the point? ‘Cause it’s not racist. That’s the point. I could be talking about “a male.” I could be talking about a Chinese male, a guy at the Laundromat. You could be talking about a man.Uh...no, Fatty. I know you don't hang out with many Black people, but let me explain something to you. See, when WE use the N-word it could mean a Chinese guy at the Laundromat. When YOU use it, it's racist. It's just that simple. WE can use it. YOU can't.
Now, for the record, I do not personally condone the use of the N-word in any circumstance whatsoever by anyone, Black or White. But unfortunately, in the Black community, particularly among young people, it is rather widely used. And until or unless they come up with a law banning its use completely, it will continue to be used, whether as a term of endearment among friends, or as a description of some of the less desirable elements in our community. However, that no more gives someone from another race a blank check for its use any more than I'd have permission to call a woman the B-word simply because she and her girlfriends jokingly use it among themselves. Likewise, Gays and Lesbians often call each other the F-word, the D-word, even the Q-word within the LGBT community, but that doesn't make it any less homophobic when Alec Baldwin calls someone a "toxic little Queen" in a Twitter rant. I've heard Hispanics call each other the S-word, Italians call each other the DG-word, Asians call each other the Ch-word, and Irish use the M-word, all within their own respective communities. However, if anyone else outside those communities were to use those terms, Stand Your Ground laws not withstanding it would likely result in that person getting their ass kicked, and rightfully so. Because these are all derogatory slurs used by people to shame and marginalize ethnic and cultural minorities.
Think of this as a public service announcement. Do not let Rush Limbaugh, or the fact that we have an African-American president fool you. We are NOT a post-racial society. Racism still exists, and people like Limbaugh prove it every day. The N-word is still a racial slur. It does not matter how many Black people you hear use it, whether in Rap music or general conversation, whether they end it with an "a" or an "er".
White people. Unless you are cast in a Quentin Tarantino movie (and that justification is debatable at best), you are not allowed to use the N-word. Ever. Under any circumstance. Period.
The Black Community.