White Men Who Shout Racial Slurs At Rap Concerts: You Are Making Me Uncomfortable

Would it ruin your day if you didn’t shout a racial slur in mixed company?

Aug 28, 2014 at 2:00pm | Leave a comment

[Editorial Note: This piece contains racial slurs.]

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Ali Barthwell

There are lots of things that make me uncomfortable: strangers touching my hair, my thick thighs rubbing in the heat, yeast infections. And lately, there’s one more thing that's been making me really uncomfortable: White men at rap concerts.

They’re wearing Hawaiian shirts, dancing to the wrong beat. They’re also saying nigga in public. The nigga thing is the only part that bothers me.

I love hip-hop. I stopped seeing a guy because he didn’t know “Hustlin’” was by Rick Ross. He thought it was by Kanye West. Kanye West. I love going to rap concerts. But this issue is really bumming me out.

If you’re a white man who does not shout nigga at rap concerts, you do not make me uncomfortable. Unless you’re catcalling me or voting against reproductive rights. Not all of you are shouting nigga in public, but can you come get your friend who is?

And it's not just concerts. I was at a party and a white guy was smoking a Newport. He joked that the cigarettes were called “Nigga killers.” He said he didn’t know why it would be offensive to say “Nigga killers” in public. Around other humans. Around black people. Who could hear him.

Maybe he didn’t know that in the 1960s, Newport Cigarettes would make trips to the projects and hand out packs of cigarettes to black kids, usually under the age of 12. I can believe he didn’t know that about Newports. I don’t believe he didn’t know he shouldn’t say the n-word.

I don’t believe any white person doesn’t know that saying the n-word in front of a black person is, at the very least, a faux pas.

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Donald Glover and Ali Barthwell

I do things like go to parties and rap concerts for fun. When white men say nigga at those parties and rap concerts, it makes me stressed out. Stop stressing me out! I wouldn’t do things to stress white people out. I wouldn’t get on a bus in a white neighborhood and just start shouting the racial slur for white people that has been used in countless acts of anti-white violence. I wouldn’t shout the racial slur that has been painted on the houses, churches, and businesses of white people. I wouldn’t shout a racial slur that applies to all white people, regardless of national origin or ethnicity. I wouldn’t shout…um…that word, whatever it is.

The Black community is divided on whether or not black people should say nigga. The decision to use nigga and reclaim the painful and ugly history is a difficult choice that most black people don’t take lightly.

I just don’t believe white men who say nigga at rap concerts don’t know that. For over two decades, Black people have been arguing about who can say nigga. It’s been on the news! The news on TV that everyone gets.

Do white men who say nigga in public think I don’t see them? They’re outside in the sunlight. Defiling the beauty of Mother Nature. Do they know Mother Nature is black? Think about it.

When I make eye contact with a cute white guy at a Kendrick Lamar concert, I might think he’s flirting with me. When he suddenly says nigga, I no longer think he’s flirting. I'm upset.

Do white men at rap concerts think it just means “Dude”? Just any ol’ dude?

In July at Pitchfork Music Festival Schoolboy Q asked the crowd to chant “Let a Nigga F-ck Your Bitch,” I cringed at how misogynistic that chant is and didn't expect anyone in the crowd to chant along but then I looked around and they were! Oh no, white men, you're saying the n-word in public again. Do you know that you will not be do not fit in anywhere in that equation? I’m sure Schoolboy Q not against white men having sex but he’s more invested in getting laid himself. As a black man. Who would get called nigga by white people if he walked around in the wrong neighborhood (That neighborhood is called America).

My rule of thumb is -- if you would never be called a nigga, you can’t say it. If you would be called a nigga, it’s your personal decision to use or condemn it. Call me old fashioned.

Listen, white men who shout nigga at rap concerts. I get it. You love hip-hop. You probably love hip-hop as much as I do. You know all the words to "Watch The Throne." It would almost be an inconvenience to not say the n-word at rap concerts.

But here’s the thing -- if I was a concert where the artist was singing in Chinese, I wouldn’t try to sing along in Chinese. Because I don’t speak Chinese. I would embarrass myself. White men who say nigga in public, you don’t speak nigga. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

So could you not? Could you just not say nigga in public? It’s making me really uncomfortable. If you’re not at a rap concert with me, maybe don’t say it then either because you’re still shouting nigga in public. There are plenty of white people who listen to rap and don’t shout nigga in public and they have a great time.

Would it ruin your day if you didn’t shout a racial slur in mixed company? If you say “yes,” then I'm even more uncomfortable than I was in the first place.