Sometime last week I let my mind wander from the needs of the day and asked myself
“Self? What do White people say in their private moments when none of the Us’s is around?”
“I dunno,” said Self. “Maybe we should ask ’em.”
I contemplated sending out an email to my white friends and colleagues to ask them what kind of language they use when minorities are not around.
Be honest, the email was going to say. Do you call blacks “nigger”, Hispanics “wetbacks”, and Asians “chinks”?
I’m no hypocrite. I can confess here and now that I myself have called White people whitey, cracker, cracker-ass-cracker and so forth. I’ve called certain Black folk niggers. I just wanted to know if the White people in my life could be honest and tell me what really goes on in their private thoughts and conversations when it’s safe for them. Before I could type of the email, John Mayer answered the question for me in a Playboy interview. Turns out John is pretty comfortable with the word “nigger”. I’d like to thank John Mayer for saving me a lot of research time and trouble. I’m going to infer that other White guys his age are comfortable with the word too.
As a Black woman, I can’t even be mad at John Mayer. Was he not a guest on Chappelle Show on which Paul Mooney wildly proclaimed “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger—it keeps my teeth clean” ? If all the Black people around you are comfortable cleaning their teeth with the word ‘nigger’, why should you as a White guy feel some ways about it?
‘Racist’ labels don’t bother me very much. I know that the measure of a human being, regardless of color, is in the merit of their actions. What offends me more is the hypocrisy surrounding ‘racist’ utterances. Mayer came out later and apologized for using the offending word during a concert. I for one do not accept his apology. It’s not needed – Because until every other ball player, rapper, record exec and black man in a barber shop or on a corner apologizes for blurting out the word, or using it as a greeting. or looses comfort with it’s presence in their vocabulary, I don’t believe any crackers should be sorry for using it either.