”You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger” - James Baldwin.
Arguably no other word in the American speech has more baggage than the word Nigger.
People have tried to change its definition, lessen the weight of it by misspelling it Nigga, but nothing really takes the sting from it completely.
Nigger is a word that some people can use, while some people can’t. A word that some embrace while others blame the internalization of that word for the condition of an entire race of people in America.
And really, if you think about it, Nigger is a word without a definitive definition.
If it had one, there wouldn’t be so many usages vying for the right to be the primary definition.
Some would like it to be just a term like “man” that anyone can use, while others would like the word to remain a disparaging term for a member of any dark-skinned people.
Sadly if you use the most common use of the word Nigger as its primary definition, it would still be subject to the race of the individual using it.
If blacks are using it, then it could mean friend, man, brother, male.
But that is only if blacks are using it.
Whites cannot use the word Nigger and it mean anything other than all of its derogatory connotations, and that is why so many refuse to even use it.
Personally I am at a loss as to how we as Americans can stop using it altogether.
If you don’t have the word Nigger, what would we call them?
How would we refer to them?
Who are these them that I am referring to?
Well that is the sticky icky question isn’t it?
The them I am talking about are those people that live on a block with a burned out home every third house but in front of their home is a $60,000 Cadillac.
The them I am talking about are those people that claim to make tens of thousands of dollars a week selling drugs but still live in the most crime ridden, decrepit neighborhoods, surrounded by garbage, packs of stray dogs roaming the streets, drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless all to the soundtrack of police sirens and ambulances.
The them I am talking about spend what little money they have on getting their hair made up, their nails touched up and new clothes on their backs before they buy food for their own children.
The them I am talking about have three children from three different men and she isn’t certain of the identity of any one of their fathers.
The them I am talking about are people who actually risk their lives over a brand name pair of gym shoes when they refuse to take them off when they are being robbed at gun point for them.
Why would you rob someone of a pair of gym shoes?
Let’s think about that for a second.
You can’t eat gym shoes.
You can’t live in gym shoes.
So you can’t talk about how poor they are and these are crimes of poverty and people just trying to survive. That is crap.
These are crimes of people that are drunk with materialism. Crimes of poverty are stealing food, stealing clothing, trespassing on property for shelter from the elements. Crimes of poverty are not robbing people so you walk around wearing a $600 pair of sun glasses.
And this is the one thing that you have to understand.
Although 99.99% of those who live within the Nigga Kingdom are blacks, the fact that they are black is nihil ad rem.
You could have a city of 1 million Bill Cosby, Tim Duncan, Will Smiths, Colin Powell and Oprah Winfreys and it would never be the murder capital of the world. The children would never be graduating from high school with a third grade reading level, spending more hours in the week trying to sing, dance, shoot a basket or working on their “lyrics” than studying their reading, writing and arithmetic.
Bill Cosby, Tim Duncan, Will Smith, Colin Powell and Oprah Winfrey would never tolerate sending their children to schools that have buckets in the hallways to collect water from the leaking ceilings, open wires hanging out from the walls and learning from the hand-me-down text books from more affluent school districts.
It would never be littered with garbage, freckled with abandoned housing or children going to schools with metal detectors, police officers on every floor and teachers wearing bullet proof vests over their clothing.
Their priorities are different. The culture is different. It has nothing to do with them being wealthy.
Save yourself the effort of trying to find a clue to the Nigga kingdom on things like rap music. Rap music did not create the Nigga kingdom but much of it does perpetuate and exploit its existence.
You also can't say that someone is a part of the Nigga Kingdom simply because of the way that they wear their hair, wear their clothes or how they sit in their car when they drive.
What gives them away are their values; not how low they sag their pants. If materialism were a disease, those traits that I just mentioned wouldn’t even be symptoms of the illness.
Symptoms of Niggadom are not giving a damn what your children are doing in school.
Not knowing what is appropriate speech when you are in front of a judge or in front of a potential employer. Not knowing how to fill out a job application.
Believing that someone is holding you back because you are black when you aren’t honest enough with yourself to recognize that you weren’t qualified to hold the position in the first place.
Racism is a way of cheating. It is a way of using underhanded tactics to ensure that one particular group gets first dibs on those resources that politics are about dividing up by stacking the deck against someone of a competing group.
Well there was racism directed at them when most jobs were either agricultural or in the manufacturing industry because those are low skilled jobs.
ANyone could do them. Therefore everyone was a threat.
But in the 21st Century there are less and less of those jobs to be had. And so more and more skills are needed to be able to compete for decent paying jobs.
Niggas will see the least racism of anyone in America because you have to be a threat to compete for those resources before someone is tempted to cheat.
Niggas aren’t even in the game.
Bill Cosby, Tim Duncan, Will Smith, Colin Powell and Oprah Winfrey will see more racism than a Nigga ever will because they are the ones that will be a threat to compete with whites.
They will have children that will compete against white children for that last spot at the University of Michigan in any given class.
Their children will actually leave their neighborhoods and apply for scholarships and grants, study abroad, know how to speak and act in cultures that they are not familiar with, with people that are not from their group.
Niggas don’t go to school. Niggas get treated like shit by the police and disrespected by the local municipalities and ignored by politicians because outside of doing what they do best, which is buy shit, they are politically irrelevant.
In some ways the desegregating of America was the best and worst thing that happened to black America. Look at even how it was implemented. Places of business where desegregated years before housing or schools ever were. And as a result, the first thing blacks did was run to Sears RoeBuck, Hudsons, JC Penney and those department stores that they weren’t allowed to shop before, and these places benefited tremendously as blacks ran in droves to buy the same products that they used to buy from black-owned businesses when where they spent their money was dictated by the laws of Jim Crow.
Desegregation dealt a blow to black business so severe that it has never recovered.
The positive sides of desegregation are well documented and undisputable and America, as a whole, not just African Americans have matured both financially as well as morally by addressing it.
But what it has also done is allowed the black community to separate not at all unlike how the oils separate in a salad dressing.
What used to be all mixed up together has now settled in distinctly different levels of society.
There are black Americans out there that value education, that carry themselves with dignity, that know how to speak coherently in both Ebonics as well as standard English, that don’t partake in behavior that could put themselves in compromising and disadvantageous situations either professionally or personally, that want to compete, establish themselves and contribute to the global community.
None of those traits you will find within the Nigga Kingdom.
And you can actually be completely surrounded by the Nigga Kingdom in every single conceivable way and not be a part of the Nigga Kingdom because it is a nation that is tied together by their values not by a point on a map. That point on the map might be where you find them but that is not what defines them.
In the Nigga Kingdom, life is perpetual high school, where the maturation of the individual never moves beyond thirsting for the constant approval of your peers.
What they think about you is literally more important than what you think about yourself because how you think about yourself is directed and guided by how they think about you.
The saying that there is life after high school does not apply in the Nigga Kingdom.
Their value is in being consumers.
Pure and simple.
They are to consumers what a shark is as a predator.
Biologists often refer to sharks as being the purest form of predator, a killing machine, a stomach with teeth.
Well welcome to the Nigga Kingdom; people bred, raised and nurtured to maturation to live life in the pursuit of acquiring status-ensuring product in a never ending pilgrimage to find value in themselves through the indulgence of materialism.
In many ways they are the nightmare as well as the dream of a capitalist society that believes that progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial.
They make nothing. They exist only to buy product.
Tupac was asked a question by an interviewer once and the sound byte was actually used as the intro to one of his songs. The question was "Between you and Biggie who rules the Nigga Kingdom?"
Tupac laughed as if he liked the term “Nigga Kingdom” and then went on to agree that, yeah now that he thinks about it, he and Biggie were vying for who would rule the Nigga Kingdom.
So what exactly is the Nigga Kingdom?
The Nigga Kingdom is not defined by geographical boundaries but by a cultural tie.
If culture is the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought then the single most identifiable characteristic of the Nigga Kingdom is the belief that possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.
In Capitalism, the objective of every advertising firm is to fuse commodity consumption with self worth, so the ego is constantly under siege in one way or another, leaving people feeling devalued if they cannot afford status-producing products.
Now for most people, this ceaseless bombardment of advertising that is ultimately trying to erode your ego then offer you their product as the soothing ointment for the wound that they opened, this has no noticeable effect on our lives because like our human immune system, most people have a natural defense, an internal recognition of some level of self worth.
However, for people within the Nigga Kingdom no such person exists inside of them.
There is no voice inside that says “hey, you are somebody,” If there is, they don’t seem to hear it until they are standing in a $200 pair of gym shoes.
That is why they prefer to wear clothing that has the brand name emblazoned in letters so large that you can see what they are wearing the second that they walk into the room.
It is so you can recognize the instant that they walk into a room what they are wearing and give them the status that seek.
In the Nigga Kingdom children get harassed and beat up in school for not wearing these status ensuring clothes.
That is why more and more schools are turning to uniforms to try to wean children from the most ingrained cultural trait of the Nigga Kingdom, the unadulterated materialism.
Now if you still keep in mind the prioritizing of values here, if Materialism is at the top of the list, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see why so many of the difficulties that the people that live within the Nigga Kingdom face on a day-to-day basis.
If acquiring status producing possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life, then where does that put human beings?
That’s right, human beings.
Well human beings are not as important as wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, riding on the right rims, having the right cell phone and being seen at the right places.
That is the appeal of drug dealing. That is why drug dealers can meet a girl, get her hooked on dope and turn her out on the streets to turn tricks for money.
Her life is worth less than all of those things that I just mentioned, the clothing, the car, the rims, even the cell phone.
And to the person who thinks the value of human life can be placed on a balance beam, weighed and valued like a commodity he/she is really showing you a window of themselves.
All of that talk about “this or that” being all that they have ever known is only part of the story.
Not all black people live in the Nigga Kingdom, the cultural, ideological Nigga Kingdom. But unfortunately that is the segment of African American culture that has been packaged and marketed to the community at large.
And their power to influence the consumption of the public is too powerful for even the biggest American corporation to ignore as the endorsement of a single rapper for a particular luxury car could mean thousands of vehicles sold to the public.
The complexion of nearly every rap song that is played on the radio is freckled with product placements for everything from alcohol to automobiles that directly correlates to increase sales for those manufactures.
Even Ford Motor Company and General Motors can’t help but salivate at the idea of remorseless convicted criminals turned rap stars endorsing their products.
If 50 cent puts their car in his new video how many more do they sell? If Snoop Dog gets a vehicle edition named after him how many more units does that translate to moving off the showroom floor?
These “kings” of the Nigga Kingdom are to materialism not unlike what the Pope is to morality and Catholicism. They dictate what is the next status ensuring product for the Niggas to chase. Sure there will be a new king of the Nigga Kingdom every few years or so. The other king will either be killed or usurped by someone else, but the roll in the Kingdom will always be the same.
He isn’t political. He doesn’t have an opinion on anything except what is on his feet, what he drinks, smokes, drives and what is on his back.
And if he gets political, he is of no use to him and he is ignored.
Niggas don’t care about politics. Politics are the ways and means that people determine how society’s resources get divided among the people.
Niggas don’t have any concern for that.
The greatest good and highest value in life for the Nigga is acquiring status ensuring possessions.
To care about education, housing, medical care, stem cell research, affirmative action, the war in Iraq, abortion or what the Supreme Court says about the Patriot Act is to care about people, not things.
Niggas only care about things and people only come into the discussion in so far as they aid or hamper their ability to acquire these status ensuring possessions.
But that too only makes sense, that this particular culture would be the preferred group for big business to market towards the youth of America since they are the purest form of consumer and the easiest to influence through advertising, why not make them the model of what is cool to the youth of society?
From a business stand point it only makes sense to ignore the morally reprehensible values of the Nigga Kingdom, to allow self proclaimed former drug dealers, pimps and convicts a free pass in order to endorse your product. From a business standpoint, criticizing them would only distract from their purpose which is to help sell and to buy more product.
Street credibility is gold.
But what is street credibility if not just another way of saying that you want the approval of the Nigga Kingdom.
Well isn’t this dangerous? What if their values somehow begin to bleed into society as a whole?
Although I can’t tell you it can’t happen, I think that risk is minimal and here is why.
No group of people in America have a lower sense of self worth than a Nigga.
Most people are not purely materialistic. They don’t refer to themselves as bitches. They don’t allow their men to refer to them as “my bitch”. They don’t live by the mantra of “whatever it takes to get that paper”, they don’t consider doing things like spending the next 20 years of their lives behind bars for drug trafficking a realistic risk to take to have enough money to drink Cristal Champagne and put a stripping pole in their basements.
They aren’t selling drugs to get out the “hood” and have a better life. That is their life. What good is having nice things if you can’t reap the envy of the Niggas who want what you have?
Anyone outside of the Nigga kingdom, that has that internal sense of self-worth, that tells you that you are more important than the brand name emblazoned across your chest or the brand of shoe on your feet, this is only advertising.
It only gets dangerous to those within the Nigga Kingdom where the meaning to their existence is tied to what rims they have on their car and what clothes they have on their backs.
To them, this is much more than that.
That is what hurts the worst.
When a Nigga says that it seems like no one cares, he is baring his soul. And yet far too many Nigga will ever understand why.