What’s Up My Nigga?

I am not your nigger. What ever gave you that idea? Is it that you were never taught? Don’t you know what it cost to kill that name? My brother, why resurrect the pain? Are you an emissary of the Klan? Some fool raping the land or just another dumb stupid uneducated black man?

That name was buried in blood. Not the blood of our Lord which was shed for the sins of all. Even His blood didn’t stop the unrelenting call of Nigger. But His blood gave us the strength to shed our own. And we did! We shed it gladly because we knew that dead we would be free, but alive niggers we refused to be.

Yet you continue to resurrect that insidious name! A name that reeks of degradation, self loathing and pain. Why do it? Have you no shame? How can you walk on the graves of those who sacrificed all they had to eliminate that accursed name? Would you walk up to Martin and say, “What’s up my nigga?” Would you tell Medgar the same? While you’re at it, reach deep down into that Mississippi pit and tell the blood of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney that they should have never came. Go tell Emmett Till too! Boy, you should have stayed up there in that Chicago school.

Don’t forget to pay homage to the countless trees from Georgia to Tennessee. Trees that held the disemboweled bodies of black men like me. Yes pay your respect to places like Stone Mountain and Pulaski where burning crosses darkened the sky, so evil men could lay plans for who must die.

Harriet Tubman didn’t accept that name. Frederick Douglass felt the same. Both fought and were ready to die, so that the word nigger wouldn’t survive. Yet you’d spit on the grave of Richard Allen and tell the 54th Mass to get out of your way. You’d call Sojourner a liar and Booker T a fool, because you can’t see that they saw you another way.

Then you confuse some white folks by the way you act. The racist cheer and shout for joy, because you proved them right when you fell for their ploy. To them a nigger is no better than a mangy dog. They point to your lack of self respect as proof to all. By calling your brother nigger, you have validated their sin and justified their reasoning that we are really nothing more than an error of creation in dark skin. So they take heart knowing their work is almost done. After years of lynchings, now they watch us kill each other for fun.

Yet there were others willing to sacrifice all. To prove that a black man wasn’t a dog. From Coffin to Garrison they stood in the gap and like our forerunners they too had to endure many a racist trap. They were called carpetbaggers, scalawags and nigger lovers too. And for many the cost of blood was due. John Brown took up arms trying to set our people free, and for his efforts he was hung from yet another tree. Many others joined the cause to remove that awful name. Their efforts too required much heartache and pain.

What do their descendants think when they hear you voice a name so cruel? In vain do they dread that their ancestor’s efforts failed and that black men are only worthy of hell. No they still hope and pray like me that one day we will all walk in dignity. Once you understand what hatred really means, you’ll learn that only love can set a man free. And in that day when you can finally see, out of your mouth the word nigger will cease to be.

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