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    10 Comments     Monday, November 20th, 2006

    That Boy Kramer Ain’t Right

    But maybe I ain’t right either.

    This is not a call to action as much as it is a confession. A confession that was prompted by Michael Richards, aka Kramer of Seinfield fame. That’s who the audience attending L.A.’s The Laugh Factory over the weekend were expecting. What they got instead was no laughing matter – a case when keeping it real, went terribly, horribly wrong.

    ****Watch the video here or read the story here.

    Usually, I don’t buy into the idea that we as a people have built up our tolerance for behavior like this. I know I don’t. A white man calls me boy and I’m ready to show him the hands of a grown ass man. And you can bet your bottom dollar if Kramer comes to my neck of the woods, his boy Jerry might be making hospital visits.

    The truth is, I can’t help but hold myself somewhat accountable for behavior like Michael Richards displayed. I want to get upset and never watch an episode of Seinfield again, but then I’ll allow White Boyz to come into my hood. I say I’d whoop the ass of some non-black who has the nerve to call me a “nigger” but I’m dancing to Akon’s “Smack That” in spite of what I know about Eminem’s past and on top of that, I think the Em’s verse is hot! I keep to myself on the train when I hear a group of others use the word as if it was their own. After all, they’re not saying it to me. Besides, if I fight, I am acting like a you-know-what, “just because” I was called a you-know-what, and as soon as the police come, they’re sure to lock me up like a you-know-what.

    I went to a black college, so the n-word was always a heated debate amongst my people – thrown around with love and deceit. Some found it acceptable, some found it unacceptable, and I don’t expect events like Kramer-gate to put it to rest anytime soon. But I know when I decided to use the word “ninja” as a placeholder for the other word (an idea I got from Bay Area rapper, E-40), it was a conscious decision and effort by my boys and I to erase the n-word from our own mouth and the mouth of others. And even though Kramer missed that message, I see now, it isn’t going to be enough. It’s the equivalent of telling your teacher “Eff-you!” and you didn’t mean the f-word. Yeah, effin, right!

    I’ve heard and admittedly said all the predictable things to justify why it’s acceptable to use the word: “It’s a term of endearment,” I’d say. “I can use it because it’s mine now,” some will tell you. “A word is a word is a word,” many will protest. And my favorite: “I mean, some of us just act like niggas” (Damn it, there I go again!)

    But word’s like the ones Kramer used have history – the kind of history that hurts me deeply. The kind of history I was taught to never forget. The kind of history even Kramer knows about. But then people like Damon Wayans, want to try and own the word? Trademark it even? That dog don’t hunt. Not at all.

    We didn’t create the word. So obviously, taking the word, flipping the word, and owning it ourselves isn’t the solution. Maybe we should try erasing it altogether instead. Maybe, I should start with me.

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    This entry was posted on Monday, November 20th, 2006 at 2:40 pm and is filed under After Further Review, Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    10 Responses to “That Boy Kramer Ain’t Right”

    11.20.06 at 5:21 pm

    lauren says:
    I am offended and outraged when a black or white person say the n word. I know that people say if u flip it then u can own it.But it still stigs black civil rights leader such has my late grandfathers hard work.

    11.22.06 at 10:09 am

    Kevin says:
    Yeah… The n word should not be used by anyone. We was about to roll up on some Asian cats for saying that, but to be honest with you I think black people encourage the usage of the word, and yes I am guilty of it. We should completely erase “nigga” not just from our vocabulary but our characters as well. Then, white or any other non-black person wouldn’t think twice about saying that shit.

    11.22.06 at 11:58 am

    mbr says:
    what sad is that most of my black community is prompting to stop using the word after Richardson uses it, not because it has angered us for years. but i digress. i’m not outraged… just shocked. oh, so this guys thinks of Blacks like that? This still goes on? I couldn’t help but live the next day thinking “is this white person next to me hating me too?” or “am i just a nigger to them?”. my generation didn’t see the civil rights movement – we reaped the benefits and enjoyed a dillusional sense of equality. with this, everything is criticized and things are clear. for instance.. what kind of impact are you making apologizing on letterman? i dont know too many black folks watching that. second.. be real richardson. apologize for hurt feelings if you want. but don’t say “i’m not a racist” after referencing lynching. that **** ain’t funny. and.. we never thought he would say that. not like it was beneath his character, but why would he? you would have never thought. an “unknown-unknown” if you will. now it’s known. image our goverment’s leaders behind closed doors. :-T eh.

    11.24.06 at 2:41 pm

    LaMont says:
    This whole Michael Richard’s thing shows us that racism is still alive and well in mainstream America. The only reason he apologized is become somone caught it on camera. His apology was weak and non-sincere. He only apologized because it’s the politically correct thing to do, not because he was sorry. I hope we (African-Americans) boycott any product that has him asscoiated with it. It needs to stay fresh in our minds brothers and sisters – to some we’ll always be the “N” word. – Keep Your Head UP, Peace.

    11.25.06 at 3:22 am

    LyrAKAl Respiration says:
    It’s good to see that someone associated with King magazine actually has enough sense to start a relevant dialouge such as this one. I feel what you’re saying Mr. HPL, but on the real–what can you REALLY do about the n word. You can’t erase it from the black American, hell the American lexicon. It’s just not gonna happen. Let’s be real. I mean, Jay Z can’t even get black people to stop drinking Cristal–and that’s just some damn liquor. While I agree with the whole ‘change starts with me’ ‘man in the mirror’ mentality, I don’t think that strategy’s gonna work on this one.

    11.26.06 at 5:32 am

    RD says:
    this shit was on point. it’s nice to see someone address the hyprocrisy of racism. It also raises the question, are we fueling racism by use of the N word? and more interestingly, can one be racist to his own race? Go, smoke that blunt of wisdom…. RD

    11.28.06 at 5:06 pm

    Myschyveus says:
    Well, i use tha word. Albeit sparingly, I still use it. And i notice that people of different ethnicities, most prevelant the internet use it as well. Either because they see/hear us (black people) use it, or because they can hide their identity behind a computer screen. -Digress- However, some people REALLY think its ok to use the word casually, no big deal. I can understand wanting to flip the word, mostly thats what [black] youth do. Look at Hip Hop in its Golden Age. They spliced jazz with country and rock and made it their own. Why not a word? Problem is tha word has a history, and connotations are different when used by different people. They way “Kramer” used the word was unacceptable. But if we stopped using the word, it wouldn’t stop others. That’s impossible. However, I think it should be known that use of the word “nigga” by any other race is heard as “nigger” which has a totally different history to it… Get at me.

    11.28.06 at 6:53 pm

    youngnflyy says:
    Personally I think that a lot of people are hypocritical when it comes to the “N” word. Most arican americans I know use the word sparingly as either a term of endearment, or in a derogatory fashion. I’m not saying it’s right to use the word, but at the same time I don’t think it’s fair to create such a media storm over someone using it, when we ourselves use it at an alarming rate. Being from the south myself, I don’t think that the “N” word, or the notion that there is still racism really affects me as those are 2 facts that I’ve known since childhood, not just now since Kramer said it.

    11.30.06 at 3:57 pm

    » Dropping the n-bomb - XXL says:
    [...] That Boy Kramer Ain’t Right [King] { var staf_confirmtext = ‘Mail sent’ #stafBlock { position: absolute; visibility: hidden; width: 200px; } #stafForm { background-color: #ffffff; border: 1px solid #c6c6c6; padding: 5px; margin:0; } #stafForm h2 { margin: 0; } #stafForm input,label, h2 { font-family: ‘Lucida Grande’, Verdana, Arial, Sans-Serif; font-size: 1em; color: #222222; } #stafForm input { width: 90px; height: 15px; margin-top: 5px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } #stafForm label { float: left; display: block; width: 90px; line-height: 16px; } #stafClose { float: right; margin-right: 5px; } x [...]

    02.7.07 at 3:55 am

    9ja says:
    When u hear the word, u think of slavery and been dipicted as one. But the only solution for this problem is for black people to be successful. To tell the truth, africans care less if whites call them the n word or let racism get to them because, they are here to get money. (when part of my family is living with no money, u think I care about that)U could call me nigga all u want as long as more wealthy and successful than u it doesn’t affect me. And when u don’t let it affect is when u have the upper hand. For example, if u call a white “cracker”, it doesn’t affect them because this insult is coming from some they feel is less than them. But when u have money, it get under there skin. Black people racism will never stop. Although MLK hoped for equality, white people partially or fully view this country has theirs and theres nothin we could do about that. When a white immigrant that came to this country 2 yrs ago is more accepted that a black person whose ancestors worked hard to build the country for over 400 yrs. So u can’t let all this racism get to u (black people). Why do u think africans don’t let it get to them, cause they know, white people as nothin on them intelligently, school, fashion and most areas of life and theres is a sense of pride in that. So black people get educated and lets be a true community like we are taught to be.

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