Saturday, September 20, 2008

Evolution, In Reverse

I use to think about this when I was younger. More like when I was in my teens and the word dawg started working it’s way into the black man’s vernacular. I actually remember when someone first called me “dawg”. I was at church and a so-called friend of mine brought this little thug he knew to church. The kid addresses me as dawg, but I hadn’t understood what he’d said, because I had never been addressed in this manner before. So, I guess a look came over my face that lead him to believe that I was offended by the word. He actually called himself getting mad at me, because he mistook my look of perplexity for one of being offended. I still just looked at him like he was an idiot.

Anyway, right before started calling each other dawg, we were calling each other cousin. Some of you might remember this. “What’s up, cousin? “ How you doing, cuz?’ Before this, and probably for the longest about of time, it was brother. Remember the good ole days when we use to call each other brothers? “Hey, brother.” What you been up to, bro?”

Now we are at, nigger or niggah. What the hell! How did we come to this degeneration of a name? I’ve always thought this degeneration of how we referred to one another played hand and hand with the violence acts we commit around one another. Let face it, as we changed the way we referred to each other along came a disconnect.

Keep in mind that this post hit me like thirty minutes before I have to get my ass ready for work, so I am going to try to break this down to you right quick. Let’s start with brother. What is a brother? When you hear the word brother what thoughts does the word invoke? Kinship? Love? Family? Who could be closer to you then your brother? Then we went to cousin. See the beginning of the disconnect? A cousin is still kin, family, but not a close as a brother. Hum, it might be a little easier for me to hurt my cousin then it would be to hurt my brother; after all, we ain’t that close. Then, some how when I wasn’t looking we went to dawg (dog). It’s a little easier to kick a dog, huh? After all, it is just an animal. Sure dogs are loyal, supposedly man’s best friend, but in the end it is till an animal. Fuck that beast! I’ll kick it, beat it, kill it, if I have to. Fuck you, Dawg! And now, Nigger. People have been hunting, beating, and lynching niggers for years. Hell, back in the day a nigger were labeled as nothing more than property, considered less than an animal.

Not being hip, or cool, I never used any of these terms growing up. I preferred to call people by their names. But, this kind of makes you wonder, right? Is this why there is so much black on black crime; why our youth of today don’t seem to value the life of the one that looks like them? Sure, I know that white people commit violent acts against each other everyday. But, this site isn‘t about them. It is about us.

You know Shakespeare once asked a question, “what’s in a name?” He even went as far as to counter with, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Fuck that! Sure that shit sounds all poetic and romantic, but I say that there is a power in a name. People put a great deal of thought in what they name their children for that very reason (albeit, some of yall get that shit wrong too).

Hell, would you want a dozen roses from me if they were called “Fuck you bubs”?

Anyway, just a little food for thought. Now I got to get my ass ready for work, so no time to proof this bad boy. Love you all, my brothers and sisters of every race and nationality.

-One Man’s Opinion. Peace.

Yeah, I realize the irony of this post and the name of my blog. Get over it! The name stays!


Curious said...

Ooohh am I the 1st?

During WWI, people would say that the Germans were killing babies and raping Belgian nuns in their quest to conquer Europe. People like Churchill would call them the Hun because it made them sound less than human. It made them easier to kill. Just like the Dirty Japs in WWII and the Gooks in Vietnam and the Towel Heads or Sand Niggers in Iraq. Whenever we name a people with a term that denotes being less than, we provide an excuse for us to treat them as such.

One Man’s Opinion said...

Right on, Curious! Right on!

Big O said...

Damn...Curious was deep!! lol

But i think that folks use terms that they dont even know the orgin of, so dont really think its talking down on them if no one in that circle knows the meaning.

But i have friends i call brothers, cuz thats what they are..just different parents. Got what we call "tru's" , and thats my true friends, thru everything.

RunningMom said...

Can the same be said of women? Have women gone down the same road of disconnect or is this a man-thing?

I liked this post, it was on point.

RealHustla said...

You might have broke it down to us right quick, but you did it oh so well.

I remember in junior high, girls started referring to their boyfriends as "he my nigga." We were just trying to use the common slang and never thought to incorporate the history of the word into our decisions. Thank God there were a few good mentors to set us straight. However, the word still stuck with some.

My point is that many youth cave under peer pressure and become desensitized to these terms not realizing that they've been tricked into dehumanizing their ken. By the time these youth grow into adults they've been affectively reconditioned into thinking that there is no benefit in maintaining cultural connections.

Women have the same type of disconnected because this phenomena has forced us to disconnected from men. As cast aways, our survival techniques have unfortunately taken us down the same path our brothers are taking. Because a bitch is just a female dawg.

Desy said...

well, it's always been my thought that words do have little to no weight. It is the intent behind them that make them so intensely powerful. The WAY a person spews thoughts in your direction is what causes the great emotional uproar... but you do make a great point here one... and it has been noted

Mark D. Aster said...

Yeah, I realize the irony of this post and the name of my blog. Get over it! The name stays!

Some would say "hypocrisy" rather than "irony" (LOL)

PhlyyGirl said...

I think that's soo true.
Excuse me for a second because I'm about to get a little religious
But in the Bible it says "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was God and of God".
That shows you right there, how much power little simple WORDS can have and I don't think people ever fully understand that.
When you speak something, even in jest if you repeat it often enough, whether or not you mean it you give power to that word.

Mark D. Aster said...

I think the best summation of my feelings on the whole brother/dawg/nigger language thing is best summed up by this old O'jays song

JACK said...

Any moment now, I expect Al Sharpton to bust through the doors and march. I feel you - maybe it's just the law of entropy at work. It says that things left alone will degrade. Like an apple on a table ... to be very basic. But if this law is at work here, it begs the question, who's left us alone? We have. Interesting to be both the problem and the solution, to be the disease and the antedote all in one.

FREEDOM said...

@ Mark that song does sum things up perfectly!

Madam Z said...

Great post, one man. Words can brand, words can cut. Let's face it, words are how humans communicate. Sure, the meaning can be affected by the context and the tone of voice, but why take a chance? There are many pleasant words to use instead. English has the biggest vocabulary of any language. If you can't think of any word to call your black friend except "nigger," try checking out a thesaurus! Actually, I like "brother," but there's also pal, buddy, chum, amigo and lots of others. John McCain probably wishes he had consulted a thesaurus before referring to his wife as a "cunt" while the microphone was on!

Ieisha said...

No comment on the name of your blog.

Digging Curious and his thoughts.

Pajnstl said...

interesting p.o.v.
the transition from bro to cuz was deep.

*thanks for passing by my blog*

Darius T. Williams said...

LOL - you're funny. But you know, I totally feel where you're coming from. So many things are happening these days that I'm sure are totally unintended. But by the time we need to do an intervention, it's too late.

Super Dave Van Buren said...

Preach!!! This was very well put. I never thought about stuff in this way but you make an excellent point.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

I never thought of it this way. You may be onto to something.

King's Kid said...

@Running Mom

"Have women gone down the same road of disconnect or is this a man-thing?"

Yes, young women now refer to each other as B***hes and H*es, supposedly in love. Whaaattt?? I never did like using those words and when I did next came blows.

I say society is slipping further and further into the pit.


Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

shakespear was right
thats one reason i use jones and folk

yet another black guy said...

you know how I feel and if you don't let me reiterate. That word sucks!

Ieisha said...

FYI...went to the library and picked up "She's Come Undone" yesterday. I've got "The Secret Life of Bees" as well so I'll be doing a dual read for a little bit.

Thanks for the recommendation!!!

Sha Boogie said...

I totally dig this post! I never got the term 'niggah' term of endearment? I think not!

Don said...

Hmmm. it does appear as if we might be 'evolving' backwards. You do have a point here, adds to the history repeats itself line of thought.

Gotta Let it Out said...

Great post One Man! And look at Curious... dropping knowledge and shit!

loves it!

phatmeow said...

Dig it! I remember a time where terms of endearment were JUST THAT!!! My fiance uses 'niggah' quite often in his conversations and dude is mad like why can't you speak with the same intelligence and not use it...I had to say NIGGA if my son repeats that word in a conversation to me or anyone else its a wrap for you! I coulnd't resist...LOL ...i enjoy your blog brotha! Thanks.

Linda said...

Amen.... brother.. or cousin.. *lol* ;)

In Holland, little girls (say, 12 - 13) have now resorted in calling themselves and their friends 'slut'. It's common to refer to eachother that way.. Needless to say what comes out of that behaviour..

However, I think a lot of black people don't even know how bad it was, 'back in the days'.. because the schools fail miserably (both in the US and in Europe) to tell the REAL truth about the colonial years.. I think 'roots' should be on every students reading list (or just watch the series, if you're lazy) ;)

In Holland, we go so far as having a prime minister preaching on 'how driven we were in the 1700's and how we should get back to that mentality'. Like.. the mentality of plundering countries, stealing their goods and people and letting them do all the hard work for you. Fortunately, this received a LOT of complaints.. but you know.. we're not there yet..

greetings from holland!

Stew said...

never thought about this. u make a very good point