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MOVE OVER DR. LAURA — DR. SOBA CAN SAY THE N-WORD, TOO !!! (As long as I’m in Africa, that is!)
Image by Okinawa Soba
The above photo shows OKINAWA SOBA (that’s ME) in Uganda, surrounded by a bunch of beautiful African girls — all friends of the bride at my cousin’s wedding.
Now….as long as we are in Africa for the moment, let’s talk about the word NIGGER — a piece of English vocabulary that is now so highly offensive in the USA that it is solidly perched atop its own Mt. Everest of Taboo-ness ! How strange that the USA is out-numbered by the amount of countries right here in BLACK AFRICA that are freely able to use the word NIGGER with no negative connotations or derogatory nuance.
There is nothing racist in what follows…unless (1) you think like a racist, and (2) you have been brainwashed to think that American English taboos and colloquial usages are the linguistic equivalent of GOD, while demanding that the rest of the Planet adapt themselves to the peculiar American sensitivities surrounding the social use of certain words.
PLEASE READ ALL OF THE BELOW BEFORE JUMPING THE GUN, AND PREMATURELY REPORTING THIS POST TO THE FLICKRr STAFF FOR REASONS THAT DON’T EXIST.
You might actually learn something here. I know that I did.
On August 10th, 2010, during her radio broadcast, Dr. Laura Schlesinger used what the American media (and American society in general) now call "The N-word". For those of you in China and Burma who might be reading this and don’t have a clue what that means, the N-Word is NIGGER.
Saying that word on the radio got Dr. Laura in deep [S-word].
It’s OK to spell it out if the context has a bearing on the use of it. For example, in the caption of this OKINAWA SOBA Flickr post :
Anyway, we have left America and its "race" issues behind for the moment, and are now in Deepest Darkest Africa.
While here in Africa on my recent trip, I had a pleasant conversation with some AFRICAN GIRLS. I had asked a simple question, and the rest unfolded something like this….
WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF AMERICA ?
I asked the above question while seated with a group of Africans from Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania as we sat around waiting for our ride to my cousin’s wedding. A girl from Kenya immediately responded….
What do you mean ?
I mean, when someone mentions America, what do you think of ? The Grand Canyon ? The Statue of Liberty ? Or…….?
Oh, I see. Well, usually, whenever I think about America, I think THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF NIGGERS THERE.
[At that unexpected answer, a ball of invisible flame singed my American trained ears, but I continued as if nothing was amiss]
What was that ?
You know. NIGGERS. America has lots of NIGGERS. I saw story about Chicago and I thought, wow, there are so many NIGGERS there.
[At this point, I questioned her use of the word NIGGER. Looking at my slack-jawed expression, and possibly thinking I might not know what a NIGGER was, she started in with a stereotypical imitation of a Rap Singer --- body language included --- while saying Yo !...Yo !..., and tossing in some America Ebonics to make her point]
In America, we can’t really use the word NIGGER. It’s considered taboo.
Well, there are lots of NIGGERS there, so that’s what I think of….
Two days later, I stumbled upon a small book published in 2006 by SHIRLEY CATHY BYAKUTAAGA. the book was called TIPS ON UGANDAN CULTURE — A VISITORS GUIDE.
I became enlightened very fast. Here’s the basic jist of things in my own words…
(1) Africans are far removed from America’s social and linguistic problems. Africans are not dedicated students of American History, and — except for Hollywood Entertainment and Music exports — are generally removed from American English, and the peculiar evolution of "racial" words and designators, and the nuances attached to them.
(2) For reasons based on their own valid points of linguistic evolution, Black Africans in Uganda (and apparently the neighboring countries as well), use the words NEGRO and NIGGER interchangeably to mean AFRICAN-AMERICAN or BLACK AMERICAN.
There is no derogatory or pejorative intention, no negative nuance attached, and no racial discrimination implied by the speaker who says NIGGER (or NEGRO) when referring to AFRICAN AMERICANS. That is to say, in certain parts of Africa, the "N-WORD" has never been dirtied or disgraced, never taken on a taboo, derogatory or pejorative meaning, and is even NOW used in a friendly manner when referring to Americans of African descent.
The young lady from Kenya was simply telling me this when giving me her impression of the USA. She was simply saying without guile, prejudice, or disdain that THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE USA.
Being intelligent and economical, these AFRICAN AFRICANS know that NIGGER and NEGRO are easier and faster to say the longer compound word AFRICAN-AMERICANS, or even AFRO-AMERICANS….and most of them are not even aware of the history of the word in America.
Come to think of it, they are the opposite of Americans who like to needlessly bloat their language by taking a good three-syllable word like STEWARDESS, and converting it to a five-syllable compound word like CABIN ATTENDANT.
(3) OBAMA and HALLE BERRI are both called HALF-CASTES in Uganda. Again, without pejorative or derogatory nuance attached to it. In fact, HALLE BERRI would be called a WHITE WOMAN (Mzungu in Ugandan) due to her complexion.
Okinawa Soba’s elderly father proudly tells all of his friends that I have three HALF-BREED daughters. However, the current American PC generation has a very hard time with that description.
Surprisingly, in Africa we find the reverse of the prejudicial "One Drop Rule" devised by the American KKK, but without the prejudice. In Uganda, if Black Africans have any "White Blood" in them (to the point where it shows)….the "One Drop Rule" kicks in, and they are considered either HALF-CASTE or WHITE !
But in Uganda, from a Black perspective, being WHITE is not a bad thing, and neither is being BLACK. Nor is being called a HALF-CASTE….or as my father would say, a HALF-BREED.
UGANDA is far ahead of the USA in these matters.
(4) "Black Hollywood Movies" and "Black Comedians" are shown in Africa along with all the rest of the Block Busters of all colors. The Ugandans, Kenyans, and others look at these films and shows, and hear African-Americans calling themselves NIGGER all the time. This ubiquitous use of NIGGER in big-budget ENTERTAINMENT has the general effect of both consciously and subconsciously confirming to Black Africans that their use of the word NIGGER for AFRICAN-AMERICANS is normal and unobjectionable.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT : IF DR. LAURA SCHLESINGER HAD BROADCAST HER "NIGGER" COMMENTS IN THE HEART OF AFRICA, NOT ONE NATIVE ENGLISH-SPEAKING BLACK AFRICAN WOULD HAVE BEEN OFFENDED ! Ironically, the very point she was trying to make in the USA (which was her undoing), is the same point that reinforces the harmless use of the word in AFRICA.
However, if she had been in SOUTH AFRICA, and had said "…KAFFIR, KAFFIR, KAFFIR…(eleven times)…", she would have been in deep [S-word].
And speaking of the K-Word, it is already in use at another Okinawa Soba flickr caption :
WHAT ABOUT BLACK-WHITE INTERRACIAL MARRIAGES IN AFRICA ?
Since my blond-haired, blue-eyed cousin was marrying a Black Pearl of Africa on their own turf, Okinawa Soba didn’t hesitate for a second to dive right with a few questions :
HOW DO PARENTS IN BLACK AFRICA TAKE TO THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS MARRYING WHITE FOLKS FROM ACROSS THE SEAS ???
Answer : NO PROBLEM. THEY THINK IT’S GREAT.
WELL, THE FOLKS BACK IN HAZELTON AND WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA HAVE NOT PROGRESSED THAT FAR YET. OK…WHAT KIND OF MARRIAGE WILL BRING ON THE IRE OF YOUR PARENTS ?
Answer : MARRYING SOMEONE FROM ANOTHER TRIBE WHO LIVES JUST DOWN THE ROAD….OR ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER.
TO BE HONEST, I KNOW YOU GUYS HERE ARE ALL FROM DIFFERENT TRIBES, BUT I CAN’T TELL ANY DIFFERENCE JUST BY LOOKING AT YOU.
Answer : WE CAN TELL…AND OUT PARENTS CAN TELL. THEY ARE MUCH HAPPIER IF WE MARRY WHITE THAN MARRY A FELLOW AFRICAN WHO IS JUST OVER THE HILL (OR AROUND THE BEND) IN ANOTHER TRIBE.
GOT IT ! THANKS !
I never saw so much rejoicing as I did at the three Ceremonies I attended in Africa, and was impressed to pick up a local Newspaper and see the marriage of a BLACK MAN to a WHITE FILIPINA being celebrated on the front page ! WHY THE BIG DEAL ? Because this engaged couple had just lived through being blown to the ground in the Al-Qaeda bombing that had only days earlier killed almost 70 people in the city of Kampala.
Someday, I will write a caption about the Childrens Clothing Shop in Japan across from my office that had a full fashion line up of kids T-Shirts hanging up on display outside the store. Every single T-Shirt had the word FUCK printed in big letters right on the front.
And then there was the JAPANESE GIRL I had to escort out the door of an American Church in Okinawa, after she showed up for Sunday Worship Service wearing a T-Shirt that had ASSHOLE blazoned across the front, with BULLSHIT written across the back.
She had no idea what it said, and bought it only because she thought the lettering design was pretty ! Long story short, she walked over to the Japanese Church, where she was welcomed with open arms, and complemented on her nice clothes with such a "colorful design".
Language is a funny thing, and Flickr is now an international Website. Just as Flickr does not censor its photo content based on the customs or taboos of Saudia Arabia — nor flag all photos of women showing bare arms and ankles with a RESTRICTED Setting just to appease some other country’s religion or culture — you must also learn to understand that what is RESTRICTED or TABOO in the USA is held harmless by other nations and culture.
We are not talking about FOOT BINDING and the torture of young girls here — which does not have to be respected or approved of in any day or age — but instead, how we use language, and especially a shared language like ENGLISH.
America and Americans would sometimes like to define English usage for the rest of the world, but the Language is not absolute. It is always changing, and does not always mean the same thing in every place. When it comes to the ENGLISH LANGUAGE, there is no reason to tell Africans that they can’t use the word NIGGER. In fact, when it comes to race relations and other problems of political correctness, the USA has more than enough language problems to work out before pointing its grubby little fingers at the rest of the world.
(This is not the caption. It’s a fictional filler)
Being a member of a minority skin color in Uganda, I immediately applied to the Government to start a local Chapter of the NAAWP — The National Association for the Advancement of White People.
I was asked if I had ever been enslaved, suppressed, prejudiced against, disadvantaged, maligned, or ever had my civil rights subjugated because of (1) my pasty-white skin color, or (2) due to my being born in a country historically given to Nation Building and Imperialism.
I said, "except for the ‘enslaved’ part, do you mean over in Japan, or here in Uganda?"
Yes, we know how Japan treats foreigners who actually work and make their living there. But, we mean has any of that happened to you right here in Uganda?
Heck, NO ! You guys are great !
Why, thank you, Soba ! Application DENIED !
RANDOM SOBA : www.flickriver.com/photos/24443965@N08/random/
40 Days Celebration Party
Image by Jefferson Siow Wedding Photography
Rap Singer – Agus Kusuma Tonight we have the priviledge invited him come to our party to have such a breath-taking super performance. His own and unique rapping style and inspiring Christian rap songs, it is a break-thru in the past and future.
Image by Only Wonder
Pope Rap Singer