There’s a notification in my Discord sidebar. You know the one with the red number indicating there’s a direct message sitting in my box. A friend asks me my thoughts on the most recent drop of the N-word on stream by a popular streamer and I just sigh with the exhaustion of 1,000 ancestors.
Then I click the link and read.
Stream is happening, rap is flowing in freestyle verse, and out it comes through the mouthgate. A well-oiled gate at that.
More sighing ensues. Of course, I read things on twitter which only served to sour my lemonade and with that, a few thoughts.
IS THIS DUDE RACIST
Honestly, I think not. What I see here isn’t racism. What I see is a person being a bit careless. If you’re a person with a few hundred thousand people watching you stream at the click of a single button, you don’t get to casually drop the n-word.
For that matter, I don’t and I’m anmale.
I can’t police what you say with your people on your time, but you have to be aware of your audience and that audience has people shooting them over skin color and living in fear of being murdered on their lunch time, so yes you do, in fact, have to mind your words in 2018.
Especially in 2018.
You cannot be a person in a spotlight and be that careless. However, racist? Not so much. There’s enough real racism out here to point out without calling every careless person racist.
RECLAIMING MY TIME
I would be remiss if I didn’t note how easy this was to slip into. This isn’t the first time that this has occurred more than likely and there’s a lot leading into that. You’re going to encounter those terms if you listen to enough of a certain vein of hiphop and that’s all the tea there.
We’re going to have to keep that in mind as we make our judgments, however harsh or mild. What I take exception to, though, are the people stanning in blind defense of this person.
In my opinion, which you came here to read, I think he should be politely booped on the nose and told “Hey, let’s not do that again.”
Yes, that is the entirety of what I think should be done.
We’re too quick to judge people eternally rather than giving them space to grow and change and learn. I’m not here for that side of social justice culture.
The twitter comments saying things like, “You’re just making a big deal out of it because you’re jealous of his success.”
“It’s just a word and words don’t mean more than you make them to mean.”
Not true. We have federal laws that prevent specific uses of words to cause people harm. The constitution is a bunch of words, but we are willing to subject people to continuous trauma to defend those words. Words are important and we are stewards of the ones we use.
Let me explain this in the most direct way possible: not using a word that an entire ethnic group asks you not to use because of centuries of trauma that have been introduced by that word and the particular race of people that derive all of the benefit and none of the pain historically doesn’t make the people asking you sensitive or snowflakes.
That, ladies and gents, is just being decent. That’s what we are arguing here. Decency.
Explaining the above with a bunch of people – with a particularly strong skew toward a particular ethnic group and gender – who argue in bad faith or are completely (and willfully) ignorant of power dynamics on a social level is a drain on the time and energy of everyone trying to engage with that noise and that is something I will have to give a hard pass.
In sum: reclaiming my time.
Reclaiming. Our. Time.
SO NOW WHAT
To be clear, this won’t be the last time this word is dropped. As we go through the rest of these days, stay vigilant and manage your energy and time and emotions in ways that will give you more benefit than grief.
Some of that means engaging and educating and correcting. Some of that means investing your energy where good things are happening and people are doing good rather than trying to bring light to people who would rather be blindfolded in the dark.
And for the love of all good things, let’s not bother spamming Ninja with hatred in the name of exposing, dragging, reading, or spilling the tea on him. We don’t have time and we have actually enemies that deserve that vitriol. Let him know what’s up, let your communities know where you stand, and then let’s get on with being the internet we want to be. Repeat whenever this happens…*
*…unless this becomes a regular thing because then we have a whole ‘nother level of things to discuss.