Aside from being a desperate piece of click bait, Piers Morgan’s defense of White people using the word “nigga” is misguided at best and perhaps racist at worst. But his apparent ignorance when it comes to the word’s historical perspective is more glaring than anything else in his inflammatory column published in the Daily Mail Thursday afternoon.
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Instead of asking why Kanye West’s White fans should be blamed for singing along to a song that includes that word in its chorus, there are two other much more appropriate questions that he could have, or, more realistically, should have asked: Why do some White people want to say the word at all in the first place? Beyond that, why do they want to say it so badly?
There has yet to be any compelling answer to those questions that trumps (see what we did there?) the reason why White people should never use any form of that word, whether it ends in a “hard r” or a “soft a.” Because as soon as either version of the word exits a pair of White lips, the irreparable, unforgivable damage is done. Every. Single. Time.
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And that is precisely why racists use any and every variation of that word — to try to hurt Black people. Do White people who are not racist want to be associated with racists? If not, then there’s no reason for them to ever use that word.
(For the record, many Black people also condemn any use of the word, including by other Black people. But there are plenty of others who have embraced the word and redefined it to be a term of endearment for each other. But the point is that it is their choice to use it or not. That same choice should never be afforded to any White person. That is an entirely different conversation, though.)
Just because other ethnicities often don’t use racial epithets aimed at their respective cultures doesn’t mean it’s wrong, or right, for Black people to say the N-word. And just because a White person is a fan of and listens to hip-hop music with lyrics that include the word doesn’t give them free reign over it.
To argue that “Black people do it, why can’t I” is unacceptable on too many levels to list here. Using Kanye’s song “Gold Digger as an example, Morgan asked how it could “possibly be racist to sing along to a song that was No1 in America for TEN WEEKS?” Of course, he’s missed the point entirely, seeing as the word has always taken on a completely different (read: negative, hateful, divisive, racist) context when White people say it. Always.
So again, the question shouldn’t be about a Black artist’s lyrics that contain the word “nigga.” Poetic licenses are very real, but the extent of their liberties can vary widely. However, racism is even more real. Knowing that, under no circumstance should White people be using that word, even if they think it’s intended to be harmless.