Marlita Hill – On The Word Nigger

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Marlita Hill – On The Word Nigger

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[Marlita Hill – On The Word Nigger]

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
Alright y’all, I need you all to breathe with me, come on. Deep breath. Come on, two more. One for the road. [nigger] Y’all alright? I had to get y’all kind of relaxed before I kinda whip that on you. [Applause]

Gotta be careful, you know. Gotta dance delicately around that one. Somebody, powerful word. Oh, it’s my topic and I can’t even say it. Oh well, nigger. Oh, did I offend you? But what if it wasn’t so big. [nigger] [Applause and Laughs] What if I whispered it [ ]

Hello, I’ve got it, the all powerful antidote huh? [n-word] It’s hyphenated uh-huh? Guess, not huh? Ya, I know guys, this word has so much it’s called negative association, a little history but the Seattle Times of July 6th 1998, says the powerful sweep of popular culture has moved the word nigger into the mainstream. Were it now resides in the lexicon of ‘cool’.

Like, Terentino Films. Chris Rock ‘comedy’. Hip Hop, lyrics. It’s even being used as a friendly greeting. ‘Out’, peace and allegiance my black-brother. ‘In’, yo what up nigger?’. [Applause and Laughing]

Much like orange juice the term is diversifying; its not just for lynchings anymore.

[extends the palms of her hands toward the audience]

[Marlita Hill:]
Now today I might first make you a little uncomfortable as I discuss the semantics debate over the word nigger in the dictionary. Second, could put you ill-at ease as we discuss it’s controversial entry into the mainstream vernacular. And finally, I will offer up some of Marlita’s very own ideas about how we can settle this nigger enigma once and for all.

Now some of y’all out there looking at me crazy and I know you’re thinking – DAMN, a black-girl doing this feature about the n-word. How the hell am I supposed to compete with that?

[Applause]

And I say exactly.

[Applause]

So get over it and lets talk about this first.

What exactly is a nigger?

Well [ ] magazine of February 1998 nigger explains, that in the 1700’s, ‘nigger’ along with the word ‘boy’ was used as a way to avoid calling blacks by their surname. A technique of disrespect. Double and equal of offence, ‘nigger’ ended up with a bad-rap, while ‘boy’ escaped relatively cleanly. Could you imagine if the two had been reversed, than we’d think nothing of hearing about stuff like the ‘The Backstreet Niggers’. ‘Nancy Drew And the Hardy Niggers’. ‘The Nigger Scouts of America’. [Laughing and Applause]

[Background Male:]
Oh my god.

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
And my all time favorite dinner treat; ‘Spaghetti and Meatballs from Chef Niggerardee’.

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
Now we can all agree this is a pretty explosive word. But we’re not so clear about exactly what it means. The Los Angeles Times, of May 11th 1998, says a heated National Debate has sprung up over a revision and a [ ] collegiate edition – well lets see what all the fuss is about.

By looking at the actual definition photocopied from Webster’s. Now first we have here: ‘Niggered Me'; meaning cheap. Now, I can see how some folks out in Washington may think that’s pretty offensive. But I guess it’s not so bad as “WHOOMP, THERE IT IS?”

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
There a black-person, usually to be taken offensive but is ‘nigger’ really a black-person or is it simply a derogatory term used to de-humanize a group of people? Well among those rallying the cause to either amend the definition or have it completely removed from the dictionary, or organizations like the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], two national protestant organizations and – this is real too, girl. And the National Scrabble Association. Well, apparently doesn’t mind the word ‘nigger’ in the game, they just want to spell it with a ‘Q’

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
Now if ‘nigger’ is really the most offensive word in the dictionary? Then I guess the word that followed that has been in all previous editions is not so bad, right? “Nigger in the woodpile”

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
What the hell is that? Oh my gosh. And I know the NAACP is busy but you think they could of wrote down just a couple of more lines [ ] … I guess it’s ‘ok’ cause it’s hyphenated, right?

“Nigger in the woodpile”

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
Something in a situation that is concealed or not straightforward. Alerting difficulty… Joanne: “You said, your boyfriend is a good listener, dresses well and has a subscription to [ ] Beautiful”. Sounds, like you got yourself a “Nigger in the woodpile”.

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
The debate goes beyond the dictionary and right into the mainstream where more and more blacks are using the word. In fact, when a Los Angeles Hip Hop radio station leaked the word ‘nigger’ out of rap songs. On May 28th 1998 The Los Angeles Sentinel said they actually had hundreds of kids calling in for their right to be called ‘nigger’. Perhaps, one of its most confusing, although affectionate uses is that by black-women. Who express their love to their man, by telling them “You, my nigger.”

In a Celine Dion ballad of the same name not be far-away.

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
Give it to ‘Jive'; a dictionary of African-American slang describes ‘nigger’ as having under-tones of warmth and good-will. Now on the other hand, to my brothers and sisters of the Vanilla persuasion. Y’all seem a little confused about this issue and I don’t blame you.

The Detroit News of September 3rd, 1995 says that more and more ‘whites’ are adopting the dress, manner, music and slang of black-culture. But when they follow the black-example of using the n-word, the results aren’t always so favorable.

– “Uh, Miss, Hill, you seem to have some decay in your rear-right molar.”
– “What’s up, nigger?” “You’ve not been brushing?”

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
Black [ ] uses the word in films but he publicly criticizes Tarantino for doing the exact same thing. But the Washington Chronicle of June 30th 1998, asks: “Isn’t this the height of hypocrisy?” And I say: “Yes!” But in all fairness we don’t always use it in an endearing way. For instance comedian Chris Rock, whose been accused of black-on-black racism for making a differentiation from ‘blacks’ and ‘niggers’. As a whole, this is not just a confusion between ‘whites and ‘blacks’ and ‘blacks’ and ‘blacks’, ‘rich’ and ‘poor’. Hell, everybody is throwing their arms about this one. It’s a confounding situation, alerting difficulty. Clearly, my friends, what we have here is “A Nigger in the Woodpile”

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
And nobody knows what to do about it – except me.

[Applause]

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
So first, what not to do. The [Jacksonville] Free Press of July 15th of 1998 says, The Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP is lobbying to ban books – classic books containing the word ‘nigger’, like, “Song of Solomon’, ‘Huckleberry Finn’, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’. Oprah [Winfrey], says, we should never use it. And there still are those people that still want the word taken out of our dictionary and even our entire language. But this gag of protest is the most absurd thing that I have ever heard of.

The Mission Chronicle of December 2nd, 1997, says that ‘it would be foolish to refrain from using the word as if it’s absence will make it and all the hatred behind it, magically disappear.’ Even I face it to say it, or not to say it, dilemma in a speech about the ‘word’. Speaking of which…on a ballot of my last [ ] this [ ] wrote: “but I don’t mind, one or two, but I think you have a few too-many ‘niggers in there’.”

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
You know, I was thinking the same thing about roots.

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
Does the slave master has to keep using that word – over and over again – I mean, couldn’t he just had said: “I’m gonna rape your wife and kill you – you god damn n-word.” “I hate n-words” So what’s my simple solution? Say it, if you need to! Its an important enough issue guys, that we should be able to talk about it, without hyphenating, asteriking, blushing, whispering or avoiding it all together. JUST ONE RULE: Don’t direct it at anybody unless you know they are ‘ok’ with it. “Right, Nigger!?” See, we talked about this.

[Laughing and Applause]

[Marlita Hill:]
And if somebody does direct it at you — hear it. And be unaffected; don’t get mad. Stay calm. Because when you stay calm, you take away all the power that they thought they had over you. Leaving them to deal with you and not your anger or your rage – and that for many people is a very scary thing to do.

Now, today you guys have all hung in there with me – while I discussed the semantic debate over the word ‘nigger’ in the dictionary. Its controversial entry into the mainstream vernacular, and as I offered up some of my own ideas about how we can settle this dilemma – Comedian Lenny Bruce argued more than 30 years ago, that we should say the word so many times, so loudly, so publicly, that it just become utterly devalued. What do you say [Audience Name], should we give it a try? Will you say it with me? Will you say it? Come on, sister me and you. Deep breathe. Everybody is watching you.

[Laughing]

[Marlita Hill:] Source: LYBIO.net
On three, you ready? You ready? Alright.

[Audience Member Female:]
She got it.

[Marlita Hill:]
One, two, three.

[Audience Member Female 2:]
‘Nigger’

[Marlita Hill:] Source: L Y B I O . N E T
What the hell did you call me?

[Laughing and Applause]

Marlita Hill On The Word Nigger

Marlita Hill On The Word Nigger

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http://marlitahill.com/

Marlita Hill – On The Word Nigger. Don’t get mad. Stay calm. Because when you stay calm, you take away all the power that they thought they had over you. Speech Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.

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