What do you think?
Written by: A/PI Across America Blog. Asian American Road Rules.
The N word vs. the C word
OK so this has long been a debate in my worlds including academia, comedy and writing: Nigger. Chink. Spic. Kike. etc etc. Do these words have equal value in terms of a) offensiveness b) racism c) ability to be parodied and subverted.
I was onstage at carolines comedy club a few years ago watching a pretty popular headliner tell the audience that she would say any racist word, any and all of them because she was an equal opportunity offender, a lenny bruce, a politically incorrect rebel defending our right to say these words and parody them, she said she would tell all kindsa jokes and make fun of everybody equally EXCEPT that she would never say nigger. (the N-word as she called it) Now picture smoke coming out of my ears. All you fearless users of language to politicize your experience, all you comics defending your right to poke fun at stereotypes and curse and be shocking onstage, I applaud you in your use of scary language, your ability to make people laugh, gasp etc. But to quantify hatred, to suggest that one racist epithet is MORE damaging, MORE hateful than any other, to me is the most offensive, RACIST brand of hypocritical nonsense and deserves the most scathing censure there is. I know that these words: chink, nigger, spic, jew, chinaman, paki, towl head, fag etc etc all have different histories in terms of how they entered our culture and our consciousness. But they all come from the same stupid fearful hateful place which seeks to oppress, to dominate and to disenfranchise whomever is on the receiving end and to suggest that it is ok to say chink spic etc hahaha so funny, but not nigger ohhhhh no you cant do that, is essentially to deny the experience of alienation loss and shame that actual human beings have felt because of racism in the world. If you say chink on stage you HAVE to at least be pro saying nigger otherwise you are actually a total biggot. You cannot quantify hate. If you are one of those, who like me chooses to address issues of race in this country by exposing the ridiculous language of bigotry, by reclaiming it through satire or humor or even through its usage such as when groups reclaim a word like nigga and fag, you cant become precious and !!politically correct! because you are afraid of being seen as racist-- coz guess what, in cherry picking which races you take on, you are being a fuckin racist.
I did shows at carolines 2 weeks ago and sang my mixed race call to harmony "My boyfriend's black and there's gonna be trouble" (see tracks posted on myspace) where the lyrics are about how hypocritical asian parents and people of color in general are about racism. And this fuckwad comic gets up on stage after me, this guy who laid out misogynist language, kill whitey jokes (just like everybody else and so fuckin what it was a comedy show not my point) so he says : well she had me till she said nigger, and then proceeded to tell everyone that I sudednly became ofensive in that moment. After an entire set where i also must have said chink (in context my friends, of course) and a bunch of other stuff designed to expose and subvert our own complacency towards things like misogyny and racism. This will happen from time to time. Someone will hear me say chink, and act like i created the word and am not actually exposing the users of the word and deconstructing it in the context of a discussion of stereotypes. Cant be helped. And it is part of my job to start a discussion. So I could care less that someone found fault in my original premise that to use a word, really USE it is a way of reprogramming it into culture in a new context that will eventually make it redundant. Like I said before, at least now people are talking about their own relationship to these words even if I am vilified in the process. Whatever. But to say it is ok to parody every race except african americans/caribbean americans/black americans is actually like a rally for racism to continue. For hate to be permissible. For everyone to be equal, but some are more equal as our friend george orwell warned us.
So fuck white guilt, fuck inter racial racism, fuck race activists who are homophobic, fuck christians who hate gays and arabs, fuck people who claim to be pro life then go kill peoples rights to have the life they choose/ bomb people, fuck everyone who says americans are the devil, fuck people who hate george bush but drive a hummer, fuck all yall and everyone i have forgotten, equally, in the spirit of total anarchic refusal to find anyone more correct than anyone else as we try to get on living and laughing at ourselves and figuring out how peace can play out in our own little lives.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
What do you think?