I Got Called A Nigger Last Night

Happy Black History Month to all! Yesterday was February 1st 2017…marking the first official day of the month set aside to acknowledge the contributions, pride and beauty that Black people bring to this country.

Yesterday was also the first day in a long time that a White person called me a nigger. His exact words were “she’s a nigger, fuck that” which he uttered with a wave of his hand as if he was swatting a nagging fly — -this was in response to me looking at him because he was howling in a restaurant. It was as if he didn’t need to be aware of his behavior because, after all, niggers are savages whose opinions don’t matter. I’ve tried to figure out if I was more upset by the word or the complete absence of shock that occured when he knew I’d heard his ignorance loud and clear. His friend immediately jumped in with excuses: “he’s drunk, he didn’t mean it” — -as if drunk and racist are synonymous. As if the beers he had give him the freedom to reduce me to that word. As if I owe him a pass because he can’t handle his fucking gin and tonics. The friend went on to say “he is not a reflection of me” — -

Lean in here friends of racists: YOUR RACIST BIGOTED FRIENDS ARE A REFLECTION OF YOU! They just are. You cannot separate yourself from their bigotry when you’re in the presence of the minority group they choose to disrespect. Maybe your friend doesn’t normally say nigger in the presence of a Black person — but the fact that it rolled off his tongue like water told me everything I needed to know — -he doesn’t see me as a person. And neither do you, “non racist friend”. If your immediate reaction is to control the response of the oppressed in the face of oppression — -you are not an ally, you’re an accomplice to the oppressor. You do not deserve a gold medal because you didn’t say nigger….there is no reward for doing what you’re supposed to do — -not being a bigot isn’t a badge of honor it’s just being a decent human being, my man.

 

Let me tell you what it feels like to have over 400 years of degradation said to your face: it feels like being a 14-year old boy accused of whistling at a White woman and then being beaten, mutilated, shot and dropped into the river — -and 60 years later that White woman admits she lied, it feels like being strung from a tree, burned alive and photographed like a prize hunt — -it feels like being a Civil Rights leader who preaches nonviolence and still gets murdered at the age of 36, it feels like being a 17-year-old boy walking from the convenience store in his mother’s neighborhood who is stalked and murdered by “neighborhood watch” and then blamed for his own murder by people who equated his hoodie with “thug” — -it feels like “thug” being used as a friendly form of nigger — -and a NBA coach saying a millionaire, squeaky clean athlete rolls with a “posse” — -it feels like being the first Black President and having a reality TV star demanding to see your birth certificate, it feels like being murdered on video and someone telling your family “she resisted” as if what they can see with their own eyes is a lie — -it feels like building this country from the ground up after being forced to leave everything and everyone you know and love — -just to be told that you can’t vote, can’t learn, can’t drink, can’t eat, can’t love, can’t breathe, can’t live….in the house that your blood built. It’s saying “be safe” when you leave your friends instead of “see you later” because their every breath is resistance and their very being is an invitation to violence — -both verbal and physical. It’s being told that you’re ugly or ghetto because your nose is broad, your lips are full and your braids are multicolored — -and then being told that those things are now “in” just not on you. It’s living with a stifled scream in your heart and a tear you can’t shed because any sign of weakness tells the oppressor that he’s winning. It’s watching women who look like you on TV mourning their children and knowing they’ll never get justice. It’s believing in God but not understanding how this hate is allowed to live under his watch. It’s needing to call in “Black” and stay in bed just to face the next 24 hours of existing in this skin.

it’s reconsidering bringing a child into this world because I never want him or her to feel what I felt yesterday when I was called a nigger.

Iman MilnerComment