As an observer of different cultures, being an immigrant in this country, I see the same thing happening with Black, Asian, and Mexican cultures. We are reduced to our lowest denominators with or without our permission. But when it is with our permission the slight paid to us by others seems to be warranted in their minds.
This past Sunday I was watching Keeping up with The Kardashians and the family had to deal with something that is more than familiar to me. Kim and Kris were at the Vienna Ball where there Kim was greeted by Austrian Comedian, Chris Stephan, in full black face. He man called himself Kanye West and the media flocked around him as if it was just a natural thing in their country. The Kardashians didn’t do much to admonish the individual, and I don’t blame them. How does one react to something like that if you’ve never experienced it before?
Towards the end of the ball, Kim was being interviewed with a fan, German comedian Oliver Pocher, who dropped the n word in reference to music. The man said that he would dance with Kim; however, he was waiting for “Ni**as in Vienna.” The two Kardashian women were obviously offended and shocked by all the blatantly racist behavior at the ball, but was it really racism?
Who is to blame for the use of the N word by this comedian? The song he was referencing was Ni**as in Paris, by Kanye West and Jayz, and that word is the corner stone of this song. If that song and other’s that repeat this word in every line did not exsist, would this word still be in the forefront of the World’s consciousness? I don’t know, but I don’t think it would. Other racial slurs about various races have died off, and the users of these terms shamed and shunned from the public eye. But not this word. It lives on because African Americans keep breathing life into it.
This same phrase that was sung about 2 years ago by Kanye West was then used in front of the mother of his child. It felt dirty. The idea of it made my skin crawl. I made up my mind right then and there never to go to that country. But I also know that Kanye himself created the phrase, and so I was confused by all the emotions I was feeling.
My most unpopular solution is to get rid of the word in its entirety and start over from scratch. But that will never happen. So I say to the Kardashians, Wests, and anyone else who is associated with the use of this word for profit, just deal with it when it happens to you. You help to create it, so don’t think that you’re immune. But to the rest of us, if we buy it from rappers, be prepared to get it for free from everyone else.
What should we do? I don’t know. But for now, I’m just going to nod my head to the beat, and try my best to live in a World that hugs me with one hand and discriminates against me with the other.