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Terms of Endearment
by Matt Baughman
This article originally appeared as a rant on Hope Against Hope Records Web-page. I enjoyed it so much that I asked Matt if he would be at all interested in putting it on to Friends Like You. Hope you like it.

This is about something I've been thinking about a good bit recently regarding a trend I've seen developing among many kids in the underground community and throughout many young people. The main group this is targeting is predominantly the suburban white males, which I am a part of. Other people are definitely guilty of this as well. What I'm writing about is when people use the word "nigga" as a term of endearment. I completely hate this word, no matter the slang or connotation that some people think it has come to mean. The American Heritage College Dictionary defines nigger as:
Offensive slang.
1) Used as a disparaging term for a Black person.
2) Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people.
Now, that seems like something I would not want to be called. Who would ever want to be put down like that, or to put down your closest friends with a "term of endearment?" I hate hearing people going up to their friends saying, "My nigga..." then giving them a hug. There are friends of mine who also do this, and it truly bothers me. It doesn't seem to be a topic anyone really wants to write anything about or speak up about, but someone has to do it. This word can never be a term of endearment in anyone's eyes, no matter how people try and hide it. It is a put-down, plain and simple. For anyone who thinks this offensive word can be a good term, I have a question for you. Would you be offended if someone came up to you and said, "Hey d*ckhead" or something to that effect? How about if your friends said that to you and called it a term of love? That is a clear insult, but not even as insulting as the "n" word. When my friends say this to me, it is taken as an insult and it offends me. Anyone should be offended by this word and speak up about it. Maybe that makes a better point than anything. Some of this little rant is paraphrased from Chuck D of Public Enemy. I saw a lecture he gave at a university several weeks back, and he's a very intelligent person with a lot of great things to say. If you ever get a chance to listen to him speak, take it. Go see the band or do anything to educate yourself and learn. A lot of us in hardcore listen to Public Enemy because they do have a lot to say, but it's a very clear point in their music that using that word is stupid.

Public Enemy - "I Don't Wanna Be Called Yo Niga" from Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black
"Niga... Everybody sayin' it, everybody playin' it, rolling on the scales 'cause everybody's weighin' it....Let me get a shovel make a good digger. I don't care how small or bigger, I don't wanna be called yo niga."

If we're supposed to all be so anti-racist, why do some of us continue to use this word that has the history associated with racism and slavery. How do you think someone of a minority would feel knowing that this word that had been so cruelly used on them before civil rights days would hear this now as a term of endearment? It was a term of hatred and cruelty, and to try and pass it off today, as something different is obscene. It makes no sense, no matter how anyone looks at it. For being anti-racist, this is truly a racist remark. Why would someone want to call their friends something with such a negative meaning? Is it so hard to say, "Hey bro" instead? I would much rather consider someone my brother or sister of any race, because that is a statement that carries positivism and love in it. I guess my advice for this issue, is that whenever someone calls you this name as "endearing," call them an offensive name. Then, explain that you did not do that out of meanness, but to prove a point. Maybe someone will think about this and stop using this phrase in completely wrong context. Don't try to start a fight by calling someone a name, but explain that you're making a point by doing that. There should be no reason people should call their friends negative names of any nature, let alone names that have clear racist origins. Just love everyone and spread the love.
Feel free to e-mail at Thanks and take care.

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