A New York Post sports writer–whose name isn’t even important–made a very bold statement in an article, claiming that the Brooklyn Nets should think about changing their name to the “New York N——” because rap mogul, Jay-Z is part-owner.
“Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!”
Ok, sports writers are usually a bit douchey, so this type of language Phil Mushnick (I decided knowing who he is helps harass him via Twitter) uses is offensive, but it’s not without merit. This is a part of the age-old “we do it to ourselves” argument. When Jay-Z and Kanye West create songs with the “N word” in the title and sprinkled throughout the lyrics, as consumers of music, we’re left wondering if it’s even an offensive word anymore.
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When rappers and other urban cool kids are throwing around the word freely, it tends to take the sting out of it, until of course it’s used by someone who’s challenged in the melanin department. Then all hell breaks loose and we’re ready to dial up Reverend Al Sharpton and the rest of the black authorities to march, rally or what have you. We–as black people–need to get to a point where this word isn’t even in our vocabularies. I know, it’s an unrealistic request, but until we do, folks like Mushnick are going to think it’s ok.
A few weeks back, I was sitting in my living room, piecing together a shelving unit with one my roommates who wore a sweatshirt that read, “Niagra University.” Another roommate of mine looked over at us, then cocked her head to the side, chuckled and said, “I thought that said N—– University!”
It took me about 45 seconds to process what I just heard and I had to hold my reaction back a bit because I didn’t want to scare the mousy Jewish girl that I find myself sharing a residence with. I had to educate her on just how wrong it is to throw that word out there, even if there was no malicious intent. I asked her why she thought it was ok and if the word was something she thought of as offensive. She was extremely apologetic and told me that she doesn’t even know why she said it.
To me, this was almost as bad as her having malicious intent. The fact that it slipped off her tongue with no pause, no qualms, no red face of embarrassment makes me realize that the word “n—–” still stings, but we’ve lost our ownership of it. While Mushnick and my roommate are in the wrong 100%, they are confused by the word because we use it so sparingly to refer to one another, that they feel the need to include it in their own vocabulary.
Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne counterpart Kanye West may have said it best, “Even if you in a Benz, you still a n—- in a coupe.”
How do you feel about Mushnick’s use of the word, “n—–?” Let’s discuss on Twitter @Rhapsodani.