Do You Feel My Pain?

Do you feel my pain?

Enough is enough. This is something which has been grating away at me for a long time.

Watching Kanye West’s recent Glastonbury performance was the last straw for me. Having to hear an audience (predominantly white, I might add) proudly shouting the N- word during his rendition of “All Day” troubled me at the time of watching, and is still haunting me now.

“Oh, but he’s saying nigga, not nigger! It’s not racist!”

The reappropriation of the N-word and its usage is a huge debate within the black community; opinions are heavily divided between whether or not it is acceptable for black people to continue using it as a term of endearment. I personally dislike all use of the word, because in my opinion, a word with such a disgusting and bloodstained past should never ever be part of anybody’s every day vocabulary, and I only utilise it here for illustrative purposes. However, that is not the topic of this discussion.

The problem is when those who have never been, or will never be, the victims of this derogatory racial slur, decide upon themselves that it is now alright for them to start saying it. Particularly when their ancestors were the oppressors of my people for centuries.

Do you feel my pain?

This cavalier attitude towards the N-word is fuelled ever more by its pervasive presence in music, movies and other media. The mistake that many make is, “so many black people are saying it, so obviously they do not care any longer!” A heinous mistake at that. The issue is far more complex than us suddenly “being over racism”, because that could not be any further from the truth. Continue reading