Happy Anniversary to the Black Panther Party: Why We Call Them Pigs: Huey P. Newton Explains the Black Panther Party’s Use of the Term Pig

I have always considered it extremely important to understand each and every aspect of the Black Power Era. Anyone who has studied this era will tell you that the language used by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was not only used to convey a message but also intended for that message to be delivered with laser-like precision. Considering the Panther Party’s never-ending conflict with law enforcement agencies at the Federal, State, and local levels it is not surprising that Huey P. Newton’s cadre would have their unique way of referring to law enforcement personnel that was often behaving lawlessly.

While researching my book, Creating Revolution as they Advance, I came across the following explanation and justification for the use of the term “Pigs” by Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton.

We thought up new terms for them. At first I figured that the reverse of god – dog – would be a good epithet, but it did not catch on. We tried beast, brute, and animal, but none of them captured the essential quality we were trying to convey…Eldridge showed us a postcard from Beverly Axelrod. On the front was the slogan “Support Your Local Police”; there was a sheriff’s star above the phrase, and in the center of the star a grinning, slobbering pig. It was just what we were looking for. We began to show policemen as pigs in our cartoons, and from time to time used the word. “Pig” caught on; it entered the language…

“Pig” was perfect for several reasons. First of all, words like “swine,” “hog,” “sow,” and “pig” have always had unpleasant connotations…”Pig” has another point in its favor: in racial terms “pig” is a neutral word. Many white youths on college campuses began to understand what the police were really like when their heads were broken open during demonstrations against the draft and the Vietnam War. This broadened the use of the term and served to unify the victims against their oppressors. Even though white youths were not victimized in the same way or to the same extent that we were, they nonetheless became our allies against the police. In this case the ruling circle was not able to set the victims against each other, as the racists in the South had done by setting poor whites against Blacks.

Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide

Happy Anniversary to the Black Panther Party: J. Edgar Hoover Responds to Division Five’s Hesitation to Attack the Black Panther Party

Edgar Hoover considered his taking significant action against the Black Panther Party a national security issue. The disproportionate amount of Bureau resources devoted to subduing the Panthers is startling when one considers that the Federal Bureau of Investigation spent more resources upon the Panthers than all other Civil Rights and Black Power Era targets combined. Out of 295 COINTELPRO operations during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Eras, an astonishing 233 were directed at the Panthers. Obviously, the Panthers had no way of weathering such an onslaught.

The FBI’s campaign to subdue the Black Panther Party hinged upon six points: (a) exacerbating pre-existing intra-party tensions by promoting factionalism; (b) encouraging a state of distrust within the Black Panther Party by randomly labeling key Panther leaders and members as informants; (c) utilizing agent provocateurs to exploit pockets of criminality within the Black Panther Party; (d) developing a prosecutorial campaign to incarcerate Black Panther Party members who could be baited into criminal activities; (e) exploiting structural weaknesses between the Black Panther Party Central Committee and local chapters; (f) setting the context for the Black Panther Party’s isolation from potential allies and supporters “by any means necessary” including, but not limited to, murder.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents utilized a plethora of covert activities to accomplish the above goals such as bogus letters, wiretaps, secret agent infiltration, agent provocateurs, informants, incarcerations, and murder. An internal FBI memo details the organization’s multi-pronged strategy to destroy the Black Panther Party.

[It] is essential that we not only accelerate our investigations of this organization and increase our informants in the organization but that we take action under the counterintelligence program to disrupt the group [by creating] factionalism between not only the national leaders but also the local leaders, steps to neutralize all organizational efforts of the BPP as well as create suspicion amongst the leaders as to each others sources of finances, suspicion concerning their respective spouses and suspicion as to who may be cooperating with law enforcement…suspicion should be developed as to who may be attempting to gain control of the organization for their own private betterment, as well as suggestions to the best method of exploiting the foreign visits made by BPP members. We are also soliciting recommendations as to the best method of creating opposition to the BPP on the part of the majority of the residents of the ghetto area. 

However, not all Bureau agents agreed with Hoover’s assessment that the Panther Party was “the single greatest threat to national security.”

The most vocal dissent to Hoover’s belief that the Panther Party was a legitimate threat to national security came from Division Five, ironically, the office not only in charge of the Bay Area but also the office with the most knowledge of the Black Panther Party. According to Division Five agents, the Black Panther Party was not a national security threat. Internal memos relate that Division Five agents considered the Panthers little more than a run-of-the-mill organization destined to decline once rationality replaced emotionalism. Predictably, national level FBI leaders rejected Division Five’s assessment and ordered all agents to increase surveillance activities against the upstart Nationalists.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

Excerpt from Creating Revolution As They Advance: A Narrative History of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

Available at Amazon

Happy Anniversary to the Black Panther Party: HARSH FACTS ABOUT THE FBI’S COUNTER INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM OPERATIONS AGAINST THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY

While public disclosure of the FBI’s nefarious activities eventually led to the COINTELPRO closure, by then its goals had been accomplished. Elaine Brown succinctly sums up the feelings of those victimized by the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program when she declared: “These motherfuckers intended to kill every one of us.”  There is no doubt that the Black Panther Party was the target of vociferous local, state, and national level attacks, between 1968 and 1969, the Panthers suffered 739 arrests and paid over 4.89 million in bail fees.  Another Panther Party member reflects, “Even though we knew that we had COINTELPRO to deal with on one hand and the police on the other. We had spies sitting all around us and working with us in some cases.”

FBI Director Hoover and his underling’s fanatical dedication to the Law ironically led to their routinely breaking these very Laws. FBI informant D’Arthard Perry, also known as Othello, later confessed that on several occasions he witnessed agents placing “…illegal weapons and various items of contraband into household[s] and offices belonging to the Black Panther Party.”  Even the US Senate was forced to conclude that “although the claimed purpose of the Bureaus COINTELPRO tactics was to prevent violence, some of the FBI’s tactics against the BPP were clearly intended to foster violence, and many others could reasonably have been expected to cause violence.”  Despite an FBI agents claims that “[o]ur basic policy was to divide and conquer…I can guarantee that nobody was saying, ‘Let’s get these guys killing each other,’” the evidence and recollections of COINTELPRO victims contradict such disclaimers.

Jane Adams, Deputy Associate Director of the FBI’s Intelligence Division, reported to a Senate Subcommittee,

None of our programs contemplated violence, and the instructions prohibit it, and the record of turndowns of recommended actions in some instances specifically say that we do not approve this action because if we take it, [it] could result in harm to the individuals.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the facts contradict Adams’ recollections. A subsequent Senate Committee Report took both Adams and the FBI to task for their nefarious activities in relating the following.

Because of the milieu of violence in which members of the Panthers often moved we have been unable to establish a direct link between any of the FBI’s specific efforts to promote violence and particular acts of violence that occurred. We have been able to prove beyond doubt, however, that high officials of the FBI desired to promote violent confrontations between BPP members and members of other groups, and that those officials’ condoned tactics calculated to achieve that end.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

Book excerpt from Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Narrative History of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

Please support Independent Black Scholarship; it’s the only way that we are going to free our minds.

Books published by Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life & Times of an African-American Contrarian

O’Bruni: An African-American Odyssey Home?

Happy Anniversary to the Black Panther Party: WHY DID FBI DIRECTOR J. EDGAR HOOVER ORDER HIS MEN TO ATTACK THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY FOR SELF-DEFENSE?

We were saying that poor people should rally and organize against an oppressive government which oppressed us because we were poor, not just because we were black, but because we were poor. See, they could hear all the buy black, do black, think black, be black, black on, and black power. They could hear that, they didn’t care about that part. It was when poor niggers started talking about class struggle that they got frightened. And not just talked about it, but did something…No. They were worried about ignorant, poor niggers on the streets with guns talking about the haves and the have-nots.

(Ericka Huggins)

It is most certainly a daunting proposition to be born black in a schizophrenic nation whose creation was made possible by the enslavement of stolen Africans yet steadily reminds its citizenry that racial matters are relatively inconsequential. Despite what American powerbrokers have repeatedly attempted to assert over the past several centuries, race still somewhat matters.

In many ways, it is surprising that in a nation where an elite class of white power-brokers has risen to power by exploiting all non-elites regardless of racial classification or ethnic identity that racial struggle and pride has not been abandoned by all. Nonetheless, Race remains the rallying point for American groups. Considering the overwhelming influence of Race in America, one is hard-pressed to dispute one of Malcolm X’s most truthful assertions of U.S. racial matters. In an often forgotten moment of commentary regarding the melting of new immigrants into the American fabric of whiteness, Malcolm X remarked that “the first word that European immigrants learn when they come to Ellis Island is Nigger!” From the perspective of Black America, “Nigger” was the secret password that allowed the Irish, Polish, and every other new immigrant group to cloak themselves in a socially constructed and politically expedient cover of bland whiteness. Unfortunately, whites have much company in allowing Race to serve as a rallying point for politico-economic solidarity.

Consider for a moment that racial matters are so central to the vision of black leaders’ that their followers would certainly abandon their camp if they ever de-emphasized racial issues for another variable such as Class. Put simply; within the African-American freedom struggle, any discussion not exclusively focused on Race is not only ridiculed but also dismissed as utter foolishness by an unproductive revolutionary cadre fixated on Race. Black America’s so-called revolutionary class fails to realize that their obsessive focus on Race significantly marginalizes their status as revolutionaries seeking to liberate their person from the misery and sorrow that attaches itself to the economically exploited in any Capitalist nation. Although Black revolutionaries must for their mental comfort resist the insinuation that their efforts to liberate Black America from its centuries-long marginalized status are not only futile but also poses no threat to power-brokers, the fact that power-brokers rarely respond to their efforts should serve as a major indicator of they being on the incorrect path. If they were engaged in the revolutionary process, power-brokers would react in a real manner to their activities. Just ask the remaining leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense if my words are correct.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of my having studied the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for the past twenty years has been the internal angst that occurs when I engage groups and individuals who have convinced themselves that they are some way a continuation of the original Panthers that Huey Percy Newton and Bobby Seale co-founded on October 15, 1966, in Oakland, California. After the publication of my book on the Black Panther Party titled Creating Revolution as they Advance was completed, I received the honor of being invited to participate in panel discussions and deliver lectures over the Black Power Era and the vaunted Panther Party; the Vanguard of America’s highly-volatile sixties protest culture.

Although I wish that I could say otherwise, the vast majority of the panel discussions that I have participated in have only highlighted how little many of the individuals who have desperately attempted to seize the Panther’s revolutionary mantle know about organizational principles and philosophies.

One of the most telling signs that many of the modern reiterations of the Black Panther Party are uninformed regarding Panther philosophies is their disproportionate focus on racial matters and utter silence regarding far more impacting class issues. This current cadre of Panthers fails to realize that the path to revolution is not found in the arena of Race, rather class warfare. Despite their inability to recognize it, the poverty that has enveloped so many Americans should be the rallying call to action, not a clumsy attempt by one group of poor people to take the limited resources that other poor people have gained temporary access to.

The failure to accentuate Class over Race reveals present-day Panthers as intellectual lightweights who have yet to find their way to the revolutionary road; such individuals remain mesmerized by icons and symbols such as guns, leather jackets, and berets that mean very little in regards to revolutionary struggle. Contemporary Panthers are seemingly enchanted by the seductive siren known as Race.

Consider for a moment why J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, directed the overwhelming majority of Bureau resources toward the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s destruction. Is the answer to this query found in the Panther’s carrying weapons? Most certainly not! If that were the case, then the Deacons for Defense and Justice or Revolutionary Action Movement — two other black groups that openly carried weapons in defense of their community — would have received similar treatment. The answer to why the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was singled out over their activist contemporaries is ironically their decision to de-emphasize racial matters and accentuate class issues that are more meaningful in a capitalist society.

Consider for a moment the following recollection of Panther leader Ericka Huggins regarding why J. Edgar Hoover’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) singled-out the Panthers for the brunt of their repressive activities. Huggins recalls that,

We were saying that poor people should rally and organize against an oppressive government which oppressed us because we were poor, not just because we were black, but because we were poor. See, they (the FBI) could hear all the buy black, do black, think black, be black, black on, and black power. They (the FBI) could hear that, they didn’t care about that part. It was when poor niggers started talking about class struggle that they got frightened. And not just talked about it, but did something…No. They (the FBI) were worried about ignorant, poor niggers on the streets with guns talking about the haves and the have nots.

If nothing else, J. Edgar Hoover understood the inherent dangers that would eventually manifest from Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale’s teachings regarding the exploitative nature of capitalism and the need for an inter-racial coalition of like-minded organizations to combat this odd beast that threatened all of humanity.

American power-brokers realized that the Panthers pursuit of like-minded groups interested in overthrowing Capitalist America was a unique and significant threat to their existence. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that Huey P. Newton’s manifestation as a revolutionary theoretician that managed to emphasize class issues without totally dismissing the impact of racial matters made him the most dangerous man in America, one capable of being a messianic figure capable of unifying not only the black movement, but also creating productive coalitions with like-minded groups of varying races and ethnicities.

To the chagrin of his opponents, Newton displayed an uncanny willingness to forge alliances with groups seeking to destroy American Capitalism, regardless of their race/ethnicity or sexual orientation. Therein lays the reason that J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO selected the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for the bulk of their repressive activities. Unfortunately, contemporary “revolutionaries” are still entangled in a “racial bag” that limits their ability to conceive innovative activities. One thing is for certain until the new Panthers are able to unlearn the draconian lessons of their oppressor, they will never reach, let alone travel down the revolutionary road.

ALL POWER TO ALL PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

FLOYD, PAUL MOONEY, AND THE “N-WORD”

I am absolutely certain that you recognize that although Floyd and I are from the same generation, we are distinctly different individuals with thoughts, ideas, and principles that clash with the slightest provocation. Quite possibly the single-greatest verbal demarcation line between Floyd and me revolves around our use of the English language, particularly the use of what I, and most respectful individuals, commonly refer to as the ‘N-word’ and Floyd’s determination to use the word Nigga. A term that Floyd illogically maintains is markedly different than the use of the word “Nigger”.

Now that I think about it, rare is the occasion that I have been in Floyd’s presence that he has not used the ‘N-word’. Floyd seemed to emanate from the Paul Mooney school of thought in that he says, Nigga, a hundred times each morning because it makes his teeth white.

Most offensive of Floyd’s habitual use of the ‘N-word’ is the reality that he knows very well that I cringe each and every time he uses it; I must admit that my embarrassment is exponentially increased when he uses it in a setting with what we term mixed company. Unfortunately for me, I think that a significant aspect of Floyd’s refusal to let what is actually the nitroglycerine of the English language was his sadistic desire to see my reaction to its appearance, regardless of the setting.

Now I would be remiss if I did not honestly relate that I have been known to use vulgar language from time-to-time, however, I have consciously attempted to rid myself of the burdensome, historically-loaded, ‘N-Word’.

Considering such an initiative I am quite certain that you are going to wonder why I would elect to take Floyd to The Improv, a staple of Houston’s comedy club circuit, to hear the aforementioned Paul Mooney as a birthday present. I had come to learn that great comedians from Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Paul Mooney, Bill Cosby, etc. were an arena that Floyd and I were kindred souls. It was one arena that I shed, without any sense of embarrassment or contradiction, my abhorrence of the word Nigga as Black comedians used it frequently and within every imaginable context.

So on Saturday Evening, I picked Floyd up from his place and made my way toward I-10 West (The Katy Freeway).

From the moment Floyd stepped out of his front door, it was obvious that this was a special night for him, not only was it his birthday but also he was about to see Paul Mooney, his “favorite comedian this side of Richard Pryor” perform live for the first time. And trust me when I tell you that Floyd was adorned with his finest threads, he was truly open-casket sharp with what seemed like an 18-piece Lavender suit. I thought it was a bit much, but hey, it was Floyd’s day and as the saying goes, ‘If you like it, I love it.”

Floyd talked incessantly during the entire drive regarding not only Paul Mooney, but also his best friend, the unparalleled Richard Pryor. It seemed as if Floyd was a walking Wikipedia of facts regarding the comedic duo; which spurred a question from me.

“If you are so into Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, how come you have never gone to see them live.”

“Ain’t never had the opportunity. Meaning whenever they were performing close to where I was at, I didn’t have no money. Hell, I wouldn’t be going tonight if you weren’t paying.”

Floyd then sheepishly asked,

“You are paying, right? Don’t get me down here this close to seeing my main man and then I can’t get in the building. I promise you I will act a certifiable fool if you do.”

I just laughed and related to Floyd that his acting a fool wouldn’t really matter to me because I would be inside listening to Paul Mooney.

Floyd responded as I knew he would,

“Just like a Nigga”

For some reason I didn’t cringe at his use of the “N-word”, maybe because I understood that it held no negative connotations in this context. We were two friends simply kicking it on our way to see our boy.

We arrived at The Improv, got our tickets and enjoyed the show. Having seen Mooney several times before, I must relate that he was in rare fashion as he traversed across topics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, O.J. Simpson, Ben Carson, and Niggas.

Two particularly memorable moments occurred during the night.

The first was when a white couple rose from their seats and walked up the stairs to exit the venue, witnessing this, Mooney stated,

“I still got my magic. They must have thought that they were coming to see Andy Rooney, not Paul Mooney.”

The overwhelmingly Black audience burst into uproarious laughter.

The second moment was a particularly personal one that nearly led to me wetting my pants. It was when Paul Mooney looked in our direction and spotted Floyd. At that moment, Mooney displayed the quick-wittedness that makes him such a great comedian. He stated,

“Awww shit, look at this Nigga over here. What motherfucking color do you have on Nigga? Nigga, please stand up so that we all can get a good laugh.”

To my amazement, Floyd rose from his seat and did a slow 360 degree turn.

“Now I know that we are in Houston, Texas, but that Nigga right there has got to be straight out of somewhere in Mississippi.”

Floyd shouted back at Paul Mooney,

“You Goddamned right!  Greenwood, Mississippi, in the house.”

Of course Mooney would not let Floyd have the last word and told Floyd to,

“Sit your loud country ass down. I bet you that Nigga got slave-catchers still after his ass. Out here dressed in a 54-piece Lavender suit around civilized people. Lavender, Nigga? Really, Nigga?”

I must tell you that there were tears running down people’s faces by the time Paul Mooney ended his roasting of Floyd. Above and beyond everything else, this moment of attention made Floyd’s night, it was a memory that he would never relinquish, even if he were the butt of Mooney’s jokes. And as you well know, it was better that it was him and not me.

Although we wished that Mooney could have stayed on stage for several nights, the truth of the matter was that he had already given us nearly three-hours of cutting-edge comedy for which we were all eternally grateful. Mooney even added a final touch of class to his performance by meeting and greeting every person who desired to purchase a DVD he had for sale.

I have found that at opportune moments such as this one, Floyd tended to shy away from opportunity. As expected, he stood up and turned for the exit. I had to halt his progress and walk him over to where Mooney was now standing selling his DVD’s and taking photos with his fans. As we approached Mooney, he burst into laughter at Floyd and jubilantly yelled,

“My Mississippi cousin!!!!!! What do you have on? Who in the hell let you come out of the house like that? Just kidding brother, you know that I had to give it to you.”

To my amazement, Floyd fell silent as a church mouse. I explained to Mr. Mooney that it was Floyd’s birthday and this was his first time ever seeing him perform. And that Floyd was the world’s biggest Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney fan.

Mooney, the classy gentleman that he is, responded,

“Well alright!!!! Now I know a Nigga that like two shit-talking Niggas like me and Richard can speak. He ain’t mute is he?”

“Fuck nah, I ain’t no motherfucking mute. I got plenty to say, Nigga.”

Mooney laughed enthusiastically and told Floyd if he keeps talking like that he was going to have to take him on the road with him. Ultimately, Mooney took a gang of photos with Floyd, he even put Floyd’s Lavender suit coat on in a few of the photos as well as giving Floyd a DVD and the hat he had worn during his comedy routine, which he autographed for the overwhelmed Floyd.

The night was truly a special one, yet it was not over. I had planned on taking Floyd to a late dinner at FOGO DE CHÃO.

I have always believed that it is much better to give than to receive, this night solidified that belief. Floyd could not stop talking about either The Improv or Paul Mooney. My plan to ensure that he had a grand birthday was turning into an absolute success. Before long, we were turning off of Westheimer and into the parking lot of FOGO DE CHÃO.

After being seated, it took Floyd a while to understand how things worked inside of this venue. He had a difficult time comprehending that they would bring rolls of meat, any type of meat he desired, and cut it tableside for him.

Once Floyd got a hang of the way things worked, he behaved as if he were an old-pro at this. Apparently Floyd became so comfortable with his environs that he had an opportunity to return to his favored past time; aggravating yours truly.

“Now you cannot tell me that you didn’t enjoy Paul Mooney, even with him using the term Nigga so much. I am telling you that with all of the problems that our people have, we are spending way too much time focused upon that one word. It is kind of ridiculous when you really think about it. There are so many other things to worry about like: drug abuse, murder, poverty, teenage pregnancy, education, domestic violence, and the list can go on and on.”

I knew that I must immediately respond to Floyd’s opening statement.

“But Floyd can’t you see how so many of those other things flow from how we term and therefore envision ourselves?”

“Nigga please. Using as you and your people like to term it, the ‘N-Word’ ain’t got a damn thing to do with no domestic violence, high school dropouts, and poverty.”

I protested his charge that all of those things were most certainly linked together.

“Floyd, you do remember the piece that I wrote about this matter in African-American News & Issues, don’t you.”

Floyd admitted that he remembered the piece that follows,

MY NIGGA:

THE POWER OF WORDS ON THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN MIND

I don’t wanna be another nigga,
Waitin’ with my hands out,
Broke in the hood, they give a damn ’bout
Braggin’ to my homie bout the hoes I fucked
Drinkin’ bottles after bottles, plus I smoke too much.
I never had a job that would pay me well,
I took what I could cause they gave me hell…
 I barely go to church but I say I will,
I bow my head right before I eat my meal
The world’s fucked up and they claimin’ I’m to blame
It’s a damn shame cause
I don’t wanna be another nigga,

Big K.R.I.T.

One of my core beliefs is that “the power of life and death is in the tongue.” Put simply, watch what you say as those words are living projectiles that not only impact the world around me but also go a great measure towards determining my future path. My parents and mentors repeatedly told me to watch my word choice, particularly when it came to cursing, because, ‘a little bit of bad will tear down a whole lot of good.’

We all realize that America holds its African-American citizenry to a different standard. Most unfair is the reality that the antics, of one African-American, have the ability to malign the entire race. Despite their best attempts to deny it, African-Americans are inextricably linked together. One’s public persona, from dress to speech, reflects not only that individual, rather it is extended to cover one’s family and race; especially if that image carries any negativity. When African-American elders are commenting upon the pride they exhibited during earlier moments, they are recalling their posture, walk, diction, and physical appearance. One abhorred being caught ‘showing one’s color’, meaning damaging the African-American image, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.

The aforementioned realities are one of many reasons why YG’s hit single, “My Nigga”, is so disturbing; particularly its impact upon the image and psyche of African-American males. Although I find it particularly difficult to believe that there is anyone on the planet who has not heard this recording by now, in the event that there is such an individual, here are a sampling of the chorus.

My nigga, my nigga
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My nigga, my nigga)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My nigga, my nigga)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My nigga, my nigga)
My nigga, my nigga?

The word ‘nigga’ is repeated a shocking thirty-one times during one chorus. Black America’s soul should be troubled by not only the verbal flurry but also the fact that it has entered the impressionable minds of droves of African-American youth.

As someone who has been addicted to rap music from the first time that I heard Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘The Message‘, I thought that it may be time to address YG’s recording, not with a denunciation of it, that is not only easily accomplished, but also predictable, rather I have decided to offer an artistic alternative to a listening audience that desperately seeks close association with the “N-Word”. Unfortunately, many of these individuals believe that YG’s record, and similar recordings, epitomize what rap music is. So, please consider this a desperate attempt to fight the blaze of ignorance that YG, Rich Homie Quan, and Jeezy began and Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Meek Mill fanned with their remix, with an alternative vision. Please click on the following links for an alternative understanding of the N-Wordnigga, and nigger from several generations of African-Americans.

Maybe the aforementioned rappers will trip upon this posting and learn something regarding the power of language and come to understand that their financial wealth is insufficient to hide their intellectual and moral poverty. I am certain that time will impress upon them that no amount of cash is capable of masking such poverty. One of their own, Jay-Z, a self-proclaimed rap God, once issued an admonishment that is particularly applicable here when he related, “you can pay for school, but you can’t buy class.” A lesson that I hope the entire hip-hop community learns before the power of their words leads to more incarceration, death, and destruction of their own.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture 2015.

“I refuse to believe that you cannot understand how the use of that word affects how our people, especially young children, male as well as female, see themselves. It frames their entire existence.”

“No! What frames their entire existence is the home they were raised in, the school that they go to, the church that they attend. That’s where I learned who I was.”

“And who are you?”

“A strong Black man who ain’t about to take no shit off of no white man or Nigga. That’s who Floyd is. Period. Point blank.”

“But what about for our children who were not raised in a loving home? Who attend an under-funded inner-city school? Who have never attended church or had a suitable male role model? What about them? Hunh?”

“Well, they had better hope that God is still in the business of taking care of fools and babies. Because they sound like they are in for a rough life. However, that has absolutely nothing to do with the word Nigga. Think about it this way. Let’s say that I, Paul Mooney, and every other Nigga that you know stopped using the ‘N-Word’. It wouldn’t make a bit of a difference. We would still be as poor, uneducated, and jailed as before.

Man, I tell you, the more education some people get, the dumber they seem to get.”

I am certain that Floyd saw my eyes tighten, a sign that I was about to tear into his ignorant ass. However, before I could launch my salvo, Floyd cleared up his comment.

“Now don’t get all mad about what I said, hey, don’t take it personal. I wasn’t even talking about you, at least not directly. What I mean is this. Did you see in the paper where the NAACP had went out and bought a casket, opened it up, wrote the word Nigger on a single white piece of paper, placed it inside of the casket, closed it up and then had a funeral for the ‘N-Word’, burial and all. Now what kind of sense does that make? That’s what I am trying to say. Some people, regardless of their education are just plain stupid.”

“Now I do understand what you are saying Floyd. However, they are well meaning in trying to point us in a new direction where we do not demean each other and stop teaching our children to do such; for many of them, it is their initial lesson. When was the last time that you listened to a group of African-Americans talking and you didn’t hear the ‘N-Word’? And don’t you dare try and tell me that it is a term of endearment.”

Floyd looked across the table as if he were exasperated with this entire conversation and related the following,

“Well that is exactly what it is, at least when I use it. Now tell me honestly, do you think that I am being disrespectful toward you when I use the term? Honestly?”

“Nah, I don’t think that at all.”

“Yet, you still believe that this one little word, Nigga, holds the power to liberate our people? That’s foolishness. What will liberate us is collectivist economics, voting, and valuing education. If we mastered all of those things, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But because the problem is so damn big, you and the rest of the Negropeans choose to pick on your own. Nah, quit being a coward and address the source of our misery and suffering. Go and talk to the white man and leave us little people alone.”

All I could think was that Floyd was correct in his logic, something that was in and of itself a bit startling, yet, I knew that I would never be comfortable with the use of the word Nigga in any context; or at least in public around mixed company.

“And another damn thing. Maybe, y’all should stop using it behind clothes doors if you want everyone else to pledge to abandon it.”

“Haha, I sense yet another victory for Floyd. On my birthday nonetheless.” 

I just stared at Floyd as he bathed in one of his most lopsided victories.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

Chapter excerpt, from the soon to be released book, Floyd: The Contrarian Returns

Committed to investigating, examining, and representing the African-American male, men, and manhood by offering commentary regarding the status of Black Men and Black Manhood as it relates to African-American Manhood, Race, Class, Politics, and Culture from an educated and authentic African-American perspective aimed at improving the plight of African-American men and African-American Manhood in regards to Politics, Culture, Education, and Social Matters.

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