The Nigger Head Deep In All Of Our Heads
The Exorcism May Never Be Completed. If So, The Nigger Will Never Die
Juliette Harris and Hermine Pinson
Despite the advancement of colored people, the nigger continues to rear its three (or more) heads:
The grotesque head, most notably, recently, on the University of Oklahoma frat bus.
The paradoxical head in pop culture; rap music, in particular.
The sarcastic head in African American visual art.
The_________ (fill in the blank).
The nigger head deep in all our heads.
African American visual artists have probed a “nigger” concept burrowed so deep in the American collective consciousness that it may never be completely expunged unless we become a totally racially amalgamated people — obliterate every trace of "otherness."
Most African American artists create nigger imagery as a form of satire or protest — for example, painter Robert Colescott’s coon caricatures, Camille Billops’ "Minstrel" series; bead artist Joyce Scott's "Nanny Now and Nigger Later" series and Nigger Lips neckace; and Michael Ray Charles’ and Kara Walker’s career body of work.
Commenting on the nigger in the psyche shufflin' down to the nigger in African American visual art in the mid-to-late 1990s, cultural critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr. told IRAAA that the artists dealing with this subject were performing "a profound act of artistic of exorcism":
In drawing upon this peculiarly American repertoire of debased, racist images — the artists are seeking to liberate both the tradition of the representation of the black in popular and high art forms and to liberate our people from residual, debilitating effects that the proliferation of those images undoubtedly has had upon the collective unconscious of the African American people and indeed upon our artists themselves and their modes of representation.
For artistic tradition to evolve beyond realism to the meta-level of self-consciousness, political and formalistic commentary is a sign of sophistication, self-confidence, self-awareness and control. In the work of these sublime artists, the black object has become the black subject in a profound act of artistic exorcism. (“Extreme Times Call for Extreme Heroes,” IRAAA, v. 14, no. 3, 1997)
The most immediate artistic tradition that these artists were evolving beyond was the "positive black imagery" mandate of the black arts movement. When the black arts leaders were born, the bug eye, burr head nigga was still popping up in society and boring holes like swiss cheese into their psyches. Their "positive black images," beginning in the 1960s, were the antidote.
Contemporary African American artists could signify all dey want, including to make negative black images the antidote to the "positive black imagery" stranglehold. The white art establishment could then slip out from the strictures of multicultural etiquette. Political incorrectness became transgressive chic and the nigger head grinned with tongue in cheek.
Niggerisms in rap and black humor
are creative and hackneyed,
amusing and irritating,
affectionate and self-denigrating,
explosive and cathartic,
and will continue as long as there is a nigger in consciousness to exorcise.
And continue as long as nigga profiteers like Sony and Universal Music corporations through lyricists and performers like Noel Fisher, Nicki Minaj, Kemion Cooks and Maurice Brown make bank. Covers of their nigger rant are shown below. The rant video uses nigga behavior to call out niggaz. Who wins? Niggaz and their masters. Coon music launched the American popular music industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and sustains it today.
And in continuing for so long, maybe the denigration will be worn so thin from "nigga" that all that remains will be the affectionate connotation that black men gave it.
Here's Hermine Pinson’s nigger rant provoked by the nigger chants of members of the University of Oklahoma’s now defunct chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
"Nigger, Nigger, never die, black face and shiny eye!"
Nigger continues to be a charged word which people of all colors and ethnic persuasion invoke for myriad reasons.
Look at Harryette Mullen's Sleeping With the Dictionary. In it she has a poem, “Denigration,” that deconstructs the etymology of "Negro" phobia and some of the "neg" "nig" roots of words: “niggling,” “niggardly,” “enigma”,” etc. "Niggas" show they a**, a la Kara Walker's "subtlety." They make coon faces and wave their hands in the air, like they just don't care; they break bad like Stagger Lee and James Brown and go to jail, they f*** 'em, fool 'em and forget 'em; they huddle together in ghettoes or stride into the suburbs, but they never distract you from the root of things, the river of things, the "Niger" of things.
How do you separate the word, despite its denigration from the mother-word that birthed offspring that have traveled across the earth, by land by sea by air: Negro in Madrid; Noir in Paris; Neger in Berlin; ¥¥¥¥ in Chinese (the author's Chinese symbols don't show in this format —ed.);Negro, nigger, nigga, nigra in the good old US; Kaffir, coon, tar baby, darky, jigaboo, shine, shinola, spade, spook, splib, sambo, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger. Paul Mooney washes his face and brushes his teeth with it. We are figuratively awash in a word that connotes “friend”; “foe”; "nasty"; "low-down"; "evil"; "dark"; "backward" ;"bestial"; "lynchable," as transformative and regenerative as the one who has a mouth like an elephant.
O "Nigger, nigger never die!"
Ralph Ellison's kinky-headed negrobilia bank held its black hand out and opened its red too-wide mouth when you put a penny in, swallowed the money and kept grinnin'. To quote Tyehimba Jess, "Oh Lawdy, pick a bail of cotton!" What we gon' do? "Nigger, Nigger, never die, black face and shiny eye!" And, after all, we should hope not. "We beautiful and we ugly, too." At least that's what Langston Hughes said, sort of.
This energy cannot be explained rationally, because it lives and thrives in the subconscious, as surely as the underground railroad carried black folks to freedom, or at least away from one master, if not to another.
We lay dreaming by the banks of the Niger river before we knew we could cross the Sahara.
But is nigger/nigga/niggaz any different finally from spic, honky, wop, chink, sand nigger, gook?" I don't know the answer except the folks who are called "spic" etc. usually don’t call themselves by those names, even affectionately. But maybe nigga self-exorcism be the opposite of its opposite. Hmmmmm, this all do get complicated.
But I say always go back to the root, and you know, black folks, roots will tell.
Hermine Pinson is a professor of English and Africana studies at the College of William and Mary.
Answer to question in top, right image caption: The vintage ad is real, not by contemporary artist Michael Ray Charles.
Nigger Rig - To perform the poorest quality repair job imaginable. To nigger rig something that is broken requires that you put the least possible amount of effort into the repair job, using the poorest quality materials available. A nigger-rigged job is instantly identifiable, usually due to large amounts of duct tape or wire covering the broken item. Also known as "Afro-engineering".
Nigger Rich - The state of being broke, but trying to persuade others that you have lots of money. This is usually accomplished by wearing large quantities of fake gold, or by rolling a wad of one-dollar bills together, and then placing a twenty or fifty on the outside of the roll.
Nigger Wad, or Nigger Roll - The wad of money described in the above definition of "Nigger Rich".
Nigger Knocker - A stick, pipe, or blackjack, usually found in pick-up trucks, used to beat niggers with. A nigger knocker must be extremely hard, in case it must be used on a nigger's head.
Nigger Bath - To "wash up" while standing at the bathroom sink, using a wet rag; but without the aid of soap.
Niggerbabble - The unintelligible babbling that comes out of a nigger's mouth. It may come out sounding like "I beez wantz a White womin", or "I beez killn Whitey", or "Muh diKKK, muh diKKK". Niggers often issue forth these babblings whilegrabbing their crotches, in a desperate attempt to keep their sexual organs from falling off due to the effects of the many niggerborne communicable diseases they're infested with. With babblings such as, "Whitey owz me a livin' ", or "What I did beez Whitey's fault", niggers often use niggerbabble to avoid personal responsibility.
Niggerfuxation - The result of Typical Nigger Behavior. When niggers get a-hold of something and completely ruin it, that thing has become "niggerfuxated". "Niggerfuxation has completely ruined the City of Detroit".
Niggerwhine - What niggers constantly do when they don't get their way. Humans all over the world are sick of hearing niggerwhine. Niggers want handouts, reparations, and settlements; and generally, something for nothing.
Niggerfact - A lie made up by a nigger, which niggers then swear to be true. Examples of niggerfacts are that niggers invented everything, including the telephone, the television, nuclear submarines, and the moon; that niggers "built America"; that niggers all have big diKKKs; and that law enforcement statistics showing niggers to be murderous animals are not true. The term "nigger-lie" is interchangeable with the term "niggerfact".
Nigger Mobile - A nigger's car, which the nigger has niggered up. A nigger mobile will usually be an old Cadillac, with strips of bathroom rug strung around the back window, a "thump-thump" nigger radio that cost more than the car itself, and other afro-engineered modifications.
Nigger Sense - The absence of intelligence or common sense. "That's so stupid, it doesn't even make good nigger sense".
Niggertown - A place where a lot of niggers live. Nigger towns stink, and look like garbage dumps.
Nigger Toe - A Brazil Nut.
Nigger Work - A job that anyone can do, which takes no intelligence, and is usually unpleasant. "I don't want to clean the toilets. That's nigger work".
Nigger Heaven - A watermelon patch.
Nigger in the Woodpile - Used when something bad has happened, and a nigger was the perpetrator. "My saw is gone. See ain't there a nigger in the woodpile." Or, if someone has a nigger in their family tree, they have a nigger in the woodpile. Also used when something is suspicious or wrong, similar to the term, "there's something rotten in Denmark".
Head Nigger in Charge - Da boss!
Nigger Hounds - Dogs specifically trained to track niggers.
Nigger-Lover - A liberal who thinks that niggers are human.
Riding Nigger - The opposite of "ride shotgun". Riding shotgun is sitting in the front seat of the car. Riding nigger is sitting in the back seat by yourself.
Niggerlip - To get the stub of a smoke all wet and slimey. As in "don't niggerlip that joint".
Niggershit - Anything of low quality that would typically be owned by a nigger. "Some guy tried to sell me a fake Rolex, but I told him I didn't want that niggershit".
Niggercide - A contraction of "nigger homicide". Niggercide, AIDS, and ebola, comprise the Great White Hope. Niggercide is the leading cause of death among Americoons. It happens when Typical Nigger Behavior reaches its peak, and niggers use guns, knives, or poisoned crack to put "dey soul bruthaz" on AFN's Dead Nigger Picture Pages. Unfortunately, niggers who commit niggercide usually get caught within ten minutes due to their stupidity; before they can commit further acts of patriotism!
Nigger Music - The form of "shit music" seen on MTV or similar programs featuring gutter monkeys dressed in oversized ape clothing, jumping and hollering while holding their disease infested dicks.
Niggerhead- A large rock, usually round, discovered during excavation. The term is widely used in the northern tier of the USA in the construction industry. 'Niggerheads' are principally granite or feldspar within the matrix of alluvial (glacial) till.
Niggerhead Watermelon - A small, dark green, round watermelon, with small edible seeds. Its shape resembles a nigger's head.
Niggerhead Yam - A sweet potato with a lumpy dark skin, popular in Latin America.
Niggerhead Tobacco - And old brand of finely shredded chewing tobacco that resembled tufts of nappy hair.
Dumber Than a Day Old Nigger - The state of being as dumb as a rock.
Niggersubtraction - 1) One less nigger due to an offing (usually by drive-by) caused by a 'diss'. 2) Nigger Math, similar to Ebonics. "If I had fiddy cent, an my ho' stole foty cent, how much I b had left?".
Niggeraddition - Squirting out niggletts to add to the AFDC check.
Niggerplication - 1) The act of niggers multiplying rapidly while on the welfare wagon, 2) A sow nigger siring more than one nigglet at a time. 3) A contraction of the words 'nigger implication'; as when one nigger, when arrested for a crime, implicates his homies to save his sorry ass.
Niggerdivision - When a nigger buck splits after impregnating a sow nigger.
Niggernomics- A financial plan that is most certainly doomed to failure. A nigger is practicing "niggernomics" when he "invests" his entire welfare check in lottery tickets, figuring that he has so many tickets he "gots to win". Nigger countries also practice niggernomics when the Head Nigger In Charge takes all the handouts from White countries and puts the money in a Swiss bank account, and then lets his Africoon nigger countrymen starve to death.
Why does L.A. have so many gays and N.Y. so many niggers? L.A. had first choicehy were so many niggers killed in the Vietnam war? Because when the sergeant said to "get down", they all got up and started dancing.
What did God say when he made the first niggers? Oops! Burnt another one!
A Mexican and a nigger are riding in car who's driving? A cop!
What do you call a smiling black man?
Why are niggers like sperm?
Only 1 in a Million actually works
Did you hear about the 9 year old African nigglet?
He was going through a mid-life crisis.
What's the difference between a nigger and a snow tire?
A snow tire doesn't sing when you put chains on it.
What would you call the Flintstones if they were black?
What do you call a nigger in a tree with a briefcase?
How do you stop a nigger from drowning?
Take your foot off the back of his head.
How do you get a nigger out of a tree?
Cut the rope.
What's the worst thing you can call a black man, starting with N and ending with R?
Why do niggers stink??
So blind people can hate them too.
How do you know Adam and Eve were not black??
You ever try to take a rib from a nigger?
What would you do if you had enough money to send half the niggers back to africa?
Send them all back - half way
What's the difference between a dead dog in the road and a dead nigger in the road??
The dead dog has skid marks in front of it.
How does a nigger pick his nose?
From a mail-order catalog
Why are apes always frowning?
They heard that in a million years they'll be niggers!
What caused the nigger’s problem??
What did the nigga exclaim when he say he returned from the health spa??
I need something illegal to smoke and alcohol to drink.
What did the sunbather shout at the nigger?
Ain’t you dark enough already?
What do niggers and jockeys both ride?
What do you get if you cross a nigger and a gorilla?
A dumb gorilla.
What is a nigger’s idea of a perfect 10? Any White woman he can get
What is the title of the nigger’s favorite how-to-book?
“How to Steal, Rape and Murder”.
What is the worst stain on a nigga’s underwear??
What repulsive thing can be found in a nigger’s clothes?
What time is bed time at the nigger’s house?
When the cheap booze runs out
What’s black, stinky and ugly?
Any nigger you have the misfortune to stumble on.
When a nigger throws a party, what do his guests drive?
Their homes – they live in their cars.
Why are niggers pants so big?
So they can conceal more weapons.
Why did Coke fire the nigga??
He kept trying to SNIFF it instead of DRINK it.
Why did the nigger rush to the discount store??
The ad said: “Whites for sale!”
Why did the nigger want his own kid?
So he won’t have to pick his own watermelons.
Why do niggers relate so well to monkeys?
Blood is thicker than water.
Why does that nigger have a tough guy reputation?
He’s often confused for a gorilla.
Why does L.A. have so many gays and N.Y. so many niggers?
L.A. had first choice
Why is Mr. Potato Head jealous of niggers??
Niggers have a bigger nose.
What does Pontiac stand for?
Poor Old Nigger Thinks It's A Cadillac!
Did you hear the one about the baby nigger who went to heaven and got his wings? He said, "God! Look! I'm an angel!", and God said, "No you stupid nigger! You're a bat, now eff off!"
How to starve a nigger? Hide his welfare check in his work boots.
How to kill a nigger? Throw a bucket of KFC off a cliff.
THE NIGGER IMAGERY AND JOKES GO ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON. NIGGERMANIA. BUT WE GOTTA END IT HERE. GOTTA LET NIGGER DIE IN THIS SPACE BECAUSE THE "NIGGER, NIGGER NEVER DIE" WISH MAY NEVER DIE OUT THERE.