Talib Kweli has responded to Piers Morgan's N-word campaign, stating that the ex-CNN presenter has misjudged his stance.
The thoughtful and balanced essay, which you can read here, muses the for and against of the use of the word. It follows the path from the pre-slave trade connotations, when it wasn't an offensive term, to the onset of racism and the modern day reclamation of the word in rap. It remarks on the importance of context, pointing out the power that the word holds and how the person using it should be aware of that.
Kweli obviously isn't a fan of Morgan's perspective however, writing: "Poor Piers Morgan. He doesn’t like hearing the word nigger. It makes him feel icky. Black people, we should stop saying it. It doesn’t work, according to Piers".
The rapper argues that the implications of banning or removing such a word are far more complicated than good old Piers thinks.
Read an extract from the essay below:
"After Morgan writes that blacks are aware of the history of the word nigger, he writes that blacks “enjoy the freedom of being able to say it now in the knowledge that it’s become taboo for whites to do so.” This is the true heart of the matter for white folks who get upset enough to write op-ed’s about blacks who say nigger. They want to say it too. They see it as a “freedom” that we “enjoy” that they can’t. As if they don’t enjoy enough “freedoms.”
I agree that many blacks use the term nigger in the exact way that Morgan describes. Given the origin of the word, not how it was bastardized by illiterate white slave masters, I have no problem with this usage. Morgan writes that he “gets it” and even “empathizes,” but that he doesn’t like it.
Does Piers Morgan get it and empathize, or doesn’t he? Because if he got it and he empathized, he would also realize that whether he liked it or not is irrelevant. Since when is the complicated history and usage of the word nigger about how it makes Piers Morgan feel? Morgan suggests that he is writing to us blacks because our use of the word “doesn’t work”—as if there was some secret black meeting we had where we planned on collectively flipping a derogatory term on its ear.
Saying that blacks using the word nigger as a term of endearment gives racist whites license to say it is the same argument that’s made when someone says a woman who dresses provocatively deserves the unwanted attention she will receive. This line of thinking also suggests that if blacks stopped using it, the racist whites who invented it would also stop and it would disappear. Hogwash. To challenge this argument I point to the same internet that provided Morgan with the info about how many times blacks use the word nigger on Twitter. Where is Morgan’s op-ed on how many racists use it on the Internet with zero irony?"