Next Top Role Model

December 14, 2011


Eleven girls were suspended from Kenmore East High School in Buffalo, NY, for using the word “Nigger” in pre-game chants. On December 2, 2011, 15 year-old Tyra Batts (picture above), a player on the Girls Basketball team at Kenmore East High School heard the chant for the first time and took offense to it.  This is what Batts said occurred when she spoke to her teammates about it:  “I would argue about it … and they would tell me they’re not racist, it’s just a word, it’s not a label”.  Batts, was suspended five days from school for fighting with one of her teammates. The chant used by the players”One, two, three, nigger” had been going on for more than five years according to Batts. The students who participated in the chant were also forced to take a cultural sensitivity training class and will serve a one game suspension.

Obviously, fighting wasn’t the right thing for Tyra Batts to do, but then again we have all fallen victim at one point or another to an emotional reaction, this is even more common for a teenager. The word “Nigger” seems to have different meanings today based on the spelling. When spelled N-I-G-G-E-R, the word represents hate towards Blacks and African-Americans, and this goes back to the days of slavery. When I was growing up the definition of the word “Nigger” which once meant a lazy, stupid, and worthless person, was used as an ethnic slur toward Blacks and African-Americans, but that has now changed. According to Merriam Webster, a well renowned dictionary, the word “nigger” is now defined as: 1. usually offensive; a black person, 2. usually offensive; a member of any dark-skinned race, 3: a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons.  The change in the definition came as a surprise to me. If it wasn’t for the sake of this post I would have never knew about the change in meaning. I recall the days when this word was taboo and usually resulted in an altercation between those individuals who were calling or either called the word “nigger”. The meaning of the word in today’s urban society is different, and the use of the word is much more common amongst Blacks and some Hispanics.  The spelling in the urban community is usually n-i-g-g-a. The use of the word in the hip hop community has deteriorated the offensive tone to a degree, and the use of the word now represents another individual. There is still some uneasiness when someone who is not Black, African-American, or Hispanic uses the word.

Rapper Kreayshawn who is white, known for her hit song “Gucci Gucci”received a lot of backlash for using the word “nigga”, in a tweet via Twitter.  In her defense Kreayshawn said in an interview “In Oakland, Asian people will call Mexicans that. A Mexican will call a black dude that. A white person will call an Asian that. Everyone calls each other that. I feel like that word is used in the low-income community more than anything. I can see if I was some rich crazy trick and I was just saying this because it’s hip-hop,” Kreayshawn said, “I was raised around this. Me and my sisters were all raised around this. People call me that. But personally I’m not flaunting it around.’’ Personally, I don’t have anything against Kreayshawn for using the word “nigga”, and I actually like her son Gucci Gucci. I somewhat understand her position, but there were obviously many others who are strongly against her use of the word, rapper The Game, had some strong words for Kreayshawn in his song. “Lil white bitch better stay in ya place You call me a nigga, I’ma put the K in ya face It’s a stick up bitch” said by The Game in the song “Uncle Otis”. 



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3 Comments on “Next Top Role Model”

  1. kaw77 Says:

    Very interesting


  2. S.Weekes (@SweekesProper) Says:

    Because it’s been abused so much in popular culture the word “nigga” has become desensitized. I’ve seen Asian kids on the train call each other “nigga” as you mentioned white rappers use it, not only that but the people (African-Americans) who are affected by the word “nigga” the most refer to themselves as that on a consistent basis which does not aid the plight in eliminating its usage…I think in order for the word nigga to not affect anyone NO ONE can say it. Like as a people we can’t call ourselves nigga and not expect others to do so, whether their intentions are good or bad. It’s like, you get respect when you A. Respect yourself and B. Respect others. If we don’t respect ourselves enough not to use the word nigga, knowing the history behind the word…then why should we expect anyone else to?


    • SheilaH Says:

      We need to recognize the origin of the word and not use it period! I can appreciate rap culture trying to take the sting out of the word, but for so many out us it remains a negative!!!


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