Politics & Race
What To Say When Someone Calls You “Nigger”

By Michael Harriot

A few days ago an Iowa woman called a KCCI television reporter a “nigger” while the reporter was reporting on a story.

I will not comment on this clip, except to say that there are many Black people who have been in this situation before. The great poet Ed Mabrey once told me that he does not talk about a problem without offering a solution, so today NegusWhoRead offers a short, 3-minute script that you should feel free to adapt to the specific situation when you are faced with the dilemma of what to say when someone calls you a “nigger.”

“Nigger?”

That’s it? That’s all you got?

Your mother, your daddy, your grandparents, everyone whose blood runs through your circulatory system and bears your last name had at least five hundred years to come up with a word to demean an entire lineage of people with whom you share 99.9% of your DNA and all you could come up with is “nigger?”

Damn.

I know you’re embarrassed at the low-level of intellect that you obviously inherited from your ancestors, but I’m not as inherently evil and oppressive as your lackluster insult would indicate that you are, so let me offer you a few suggestions for the next time you feel so inclined to hurl a low-aptitude-indicating insult at someone you feel the need to denigrate by suggesting that the color of their skin makes them lesser than you:

How about “porch monkey?” It has a nice, slave-owning connotation to it.

Nah. Only 6% of Whites in America owned slaves at the height of slavery, and judging from your choice of slander, if your family had owned slaves, their privilege would’ve passed down to you—which would’ve afforded you a better education, resulting in a much better vocabulary than having to resort to using the Neanderthal, half-retarded pejorative “nigger.”

How about “Jigaboo?”

Or “coon?”

or “Pickaninny”

Or “Mississippi wind chime?”

Oooooh! How about the beautiful simplicity of “darky?”

I bet even your simpleton mind could grab hold of that invective even through the anger of your slow-speed brain.

Yes. I have determined that the next time you feel inclined to call someone “nigger” you should instead switch it up for the sake of variety, brevity and not sounding so knuckle-draggingly backwoods stupid and just call them a “darky.” I’m sure it’ll be easier for you.

See, if I, or the other people who you’ve referred to as “niggers” (I’m sure this is not your first time. It rolled off your tongue too easily, and  someone with an IQ as low as yours probably reverts to repetition when your low-self-esteem hate bubbles up to the surface so fast. I get it. You’re not that smart…)

But if my fellow “niggers” and I crumbled into pieces every time one of you or your poisoned-filled, thick-tongued, fellow cretins called us that word, we’d be as fragile and as easily broken as… well… you. I understand where you’re coming from, though. You can’t help it. It’s in your blood.

No, I’m not referring to the fact that since the beginning of time, your people made up for your inability to simply exist and survive in harmony with the rest of us on earth by raping, pillaging and plundering the resources and land of brown people—that would be racist. I just mean that someone taught you to feel this way. It’s not your fault that whomever raised you only had ignorance and hate to pour into your hollow, empty head. I kinda feel sorry for you. We can’t all be brought up by people with love in their hearts and respect for mankind.

What I’d like to know is–why you felt I’d be insulted by you calling me “nigger?” I know you probably thought I’d want to fight you. That’s what someone as dim-witted as you thinks was going to happen. Au-contraire mon frere (that’s French). In fact, I know the word comes from negus—an Ethiopian word that means “King” or “Ruler.”

Is that what you meant to call me?

Or did you mean “nigger” like the people who the rest of the civilized world boarded ships to learn mathematics, science and astrology from?

Or maybe the niggers who had an advance civilization with books, universities and libraries before your people had paper, ink or an alphabet?

Or the niggers who created every form of uniquely American art, music and culture that exists today?

Could you possibly mean the niggers who survived a mass kidnapping, widespread rape, trauma, torture, disenfranchisement and all your people’s evil objectification, ownership, and lynching still couldn’t wipe them out?

OK, maybe I am a nigger.

I just wish I had a word as insidiously nasty and vile to throw back at you that would make you equally upset.

Oh, wait… I do:

Bye.

 

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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  • Red76

    Amazing! Thank you.

  • Matt Perkins Jr

    There is very little chance that entire script will be heard and processed by an ignorant white person. From that script this part is where we all ought to start.

    “What I’d like to know is–why you felt I’d be insulted by you calling me “nigger?” I know you probably thought I’d want to fight you. That’s what someone as dim-witted as you thinks was going to happen. Au-contraire mon frere (that’s French). In fact, I know the word comes from negus—an Ethiopian word that means “King” or “Ruler.”

    Is that what you meant to call me?

    Or did you mean “nigger” like the people who the rest of the civilized world boarded ships to learn mathematics, science and astrology from?

    Or maybe the niggers who had an advance[d] civilization with books, universities and libraries before your people had paper, ink or an alphabet?

    Or the niggers who created every form of uniquely American art, music and culture that exists today?

    Could you possibly mean the niggers who survived a mass kidnapping, widespread rape, trauma, torture, disenfranchisement and all your people’s evil objectification, ownership, and lynching still couldn’t wipe them out?

    OK, maybe I am a nigger.

    I just wish I had a word as insidiously nasty and vile to throw back at you that would make you equally upset.

    Oh, wait… I do:

    Bye.”

    What do you suggest we say to the Black person that calls us “nigger” or “nigga”?

    • youcanthandlethetruth

      The most ignorant white person is infinitely smarter than the smartest black. Blacks are the dumbest race walking the earth today. Fact.

      • Matt Perkins Jr

        Your reply is off topic. If you read mine and replied to it then you’d be getting more than a courtesy reply and “Bye”.

    • youcanthandlethetruth

      Matt do you have any proof of these civilizations with books, universities and libraries? Do you have any proof of any American art, music and culture existing today that has any black roots in it besides blues which came from drug induced laziness? How stupid are you to think blacks were kidnapped en masse? News flash YOU WERE SOLD BY YOUR BLACK “NEGUS” in AFRICA. You tried but you failed. If all of what your black history bullshit is true then why are the blacks the dumbest race by IQ score in the world?

      • Matt Perkins Jr

        Your comment is off topic. If you read mine and replied to it then you’d be getting more than a courtesy reply and “Bye”.

  • Susan Pugh

    She’s definitely from the shallow end of the gene pool. We have so many interesting ways to impugn the intelligence of such folks. Unfortunately, for nearly every low-IQ person who hurls so brazenly such a term, there are plenty of high-IQ, well-educated individuals whose insults come in much more damaging forms. I can almost feel sorry for someone so intellectually limited and culturally deprived as this woman. Almost–but not quite. It’s the upper-income, well-educated, properly-raised individual who ‘thinks’ this word while saying something else to or about my loved ones of color who really disgusts me. Such a person has had the benefit of educational opportunity and yet chooses willful ignorance.