OoTheNigerian

sometimes, I make a lot of sense.

When I Was Called A ‘Racist Term’

07 August 2010 by Oo

I was called a nigger. I was about to cross the road near my home in Digbeth, Birmingham when the white lad yelled  the  ‘racist term’ and zoomed off in his car. For a few seconds, I did not know what to make of it so I did the peace sign then continued my walk home. I am confused about what to make of it since I do not now in what context he said it. I am definitely not angry.

At the TEDx conference in Warwick last year I was speaking to a Pakistani man who was eating bananas and he said something like “have one, you will/must like it”. I looked at him deciding whether I should accept the offer. I do not know what he saw in my face but he immediately said “I did not mean it like that, I was just asking….I meant….   he started babbling. I smiled and immediately understood where he was coming from.  I think it was about the time Prince Charles was called racist for calling his friend Sooty; so he must have been trying to be extra cautious. We went on and discussed it all.

Back to what happened today. Can words alone be racist?

In the intro of this post, I consciously put racist term in quotation marks because I truly believe intentions and actions not words are racist. Rappers use the word nigger all the time in songs and I find it hilarious when I see my white friends miming 50 Cents and mumble anytime the word Nigger comes up. Are they racist?

I  could actually consider inaction racist. For example, if the Pakistani man thought it would be better not to offer me a banana because I might take it to mean something else. Therefore he would have made a decision based on my colour.

But then again, it would have been a decision made in good faith.

If a black man yelled nigger at me, would I have even written this blog post? Of course not.

So am I being racist?

Some things are just fucking confusing. I’ll just define racism as an action taken in bad faith based on a persons colour.

PS: Forgive my mumble jumble post. I thought rather than talk to myself, I should just blog about it.

9 comments | Categories: Self | Tags: ,

  • Ifeanyi Gbemudu

    I believe you do know that young people inspired by you read your posts #language()… lol
    “If a black men yelled nigger at me, would I have even written this blog post? Of course not…” sometimes, the real racists are actually the black people… funny huh.

  • http://myOnePage.com/Oo OoTheNigerian

    Yes o! na we come be the racist.

    Nwokem, as per your #language mention. I do not want to be a moral role model. I am far from being morally upright therefore if my true character does not reflect in my writing, I would be living a double life and fall the risk of disappointing people. *Tiger Woods*

    In my book, writing F**K or saying 'effing” is the same thing as using the real word since you and the person listening/reading will fill the blanks with the real word.

    You just did :).

  • Ifeanyi Gbemudu

    I'm sure you'll find good replacements for “F” words. It took me a while too…

  • http://gre.gs/ Awfy

    This has been a huge debate since I moved to Coventry two years ago because the area in Scotland I'm from we use what are considered racist terms in everyday situations. We don't use them to discriminate or try to offend but merely as way to identify someone of different race or ethnic background.

    We would never use the word “nigger” though as that isn't a term we see as being useful to describe a person or location (such as a shop). We did use terms such as “Paki” but merely to shorten the word Pakistani, we would never intend offense or think lower of the person we're speaking about.

    Unfortunately this view upon these words do not work in larger populated areas such as South Scotland and England. I think it's a shame that I can be called a “Scot” without any issues for the person who called me it but someone calling some a “Paki” is the end of the world.

    I think the biggest problem are the white politicians trying to play “super hero” and get the votes of non-white voters. They are the cause of all this political correctness and racial crime cases. It's a real shame because most people in this world are nice and friendly people who think no different of someone who is a different race or gender to them.

    That's my thoughts on this rather touchy subject.

  • http://myOnePage.com/Oo OoTheNigerian

    Yeah. I understand the tight spot the good white guys have been put in. I say 'Paki' too as a short form for Pakistani.

    The sensitivity with black racism is higher than other races is because of the slave trade. I really do not care for the words. If my black friends can say to me “my nigger” why cant my white friends say same.

    Like I said in my post. It is quite confusing at times.

  • Kizzy_pop

    Nice piece (censor language pls!!)

  • http://myOnePage.com/Oo OoTheNigerian

    I try. I'll try more.

  • emeka

    i guess i can support your line of thought, i.e. racism is more active than vocal, cos you can curse at ur friend even tho ur joking. i personally dont take offence when people make racist comments about me, especially since dey usually dont have the guts to say it in my face. that doesnt mean they are not racist but to me i see them as insecure and cowardly.
    the word nigger draws a lot of comments but then, we africans and black race use it more than other races, when referring to our friends (in an endearing way), so why is it an issue? with older generations, dere is the argument that its demeaning and brings back the horrible memories of the slave trade era! ok, who was selling off the slaves to the white merchants? their own kin? recalling the movie roots, nigger was used to demean black slaves back then and as much as we can't hold the germans all accountable for hitlers actions, we cant hold every white skinned person accountable for the slave trade. besides, part of the moral of thgat story was that kunta kinte refused to be demeaned and didnt answer to any name except his name (nigger, toby or other). so to me same applies…
    i dont see why the word nigger should be offensive in normal context as much as the word paki, scot, oyibo, jew and the list goes on… so if i had a similar encounter, which i have on many occasions, i assume the guy who calls out 'nigger' might as well be talking to himself cos if he said it in my face then i will tell him where to stick it!!! moreover, i believe if someone has an issue with another persons skin color or background, then its a complex or insecurity they have with their own lives, so i just feel sorry for such people.
    about ur languagfe, as much as u want to and u need to be original, dont forget ur blog is available on the www and so censorship is advisable for several reasons :-)
    keep it up!!!

  • Roland

    Ummm, I really dont give a rat’s arse what anyone says….there are prolly remnants of ‘institutional racism’, which I’d consider more serious than some bloke talking crap from his trunk…, although I cant say that I’ve experienced it. In actual fact, while I understand some of the sensitive attitudes, I tend to like it when people are free and can be expressive around me…..speaking for myself of course ;)