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 We have denigrated and degraded ourselves to the point that

our backwards mindset has spread like a cancer and infected

our source, our brothers, our sisters, our Mother Land

 

 

A Hip Hop Clothing Store

in Malawi Called "Niggers"

By David Sylvester

 

I recently completed a charitable bicycle trip in Africa, riding over 7000 miles from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa . The trip made me the first and only African American to cross two continents on a bicycle. I have plenty of great and fascinating stories. Many are funny, others bittersweet, some are poignant, but all are entertaining. Surprisingly one story has stood out and if it was not for the fact that I have a picture of it, many would never believe it. and it is for that reason that I am sharing it with you.

While in Lilongwe, Malawi, I came across a store by the name of "Niggers" ---that's right " Niggers"! The other riders, who were all white, could not wait to inform me of this to see my reaction. Initially, I thought that it was a very bad joke but when the other riders were adamant about the existence of the store, I had to see it for myself.

What I found was a store selling what the owner called 'hip hop' style clothing . It was manned by two gentlemen --- one of them asleep! (Talk about living up to or in this case down to a stereotype) I asked the guys what was up with the store name. After hearing my obvious non – Malawian accent and figuring out that I was from America, the man thumped his chest proudly and said "P-Diddy New York City! we are the niggers!"

My first reaction was to laugh, because many things when isolated can be very funny, but it quickly dawned on me that this was so not funny at all. It was pathetic. I did these bicycle trips across the USA and through the 'Mother -Land' in honor of one of my good friends, mentors and fellow African American, Kevin Bowser, who died on 9/11. Here I am, a black man riding across the world on his bicycle in honor of another black man, riding 'home' and what do I see?? Some Africans calling themselves Niggers! They
were even so proud of it they put it on their store front to sell stuff. When I relay the story to folks back home in Philadelphia, most of them laugh too and rationalize it by saying 'well, we can say it to each other' or 'there is a difference' or even 'they just spelled it wrong. It should have been 'nigga's' or 'niggah's' Gee like that would make a difference.

The issue is not the spelling. I was wrong. We are wrong. There is no justification for an infraction of this magnitude. The word and the sentiment behind it is Flat out wrong! We have denigrated and degraded ourselves to the point that our backwards mindset has spread like a cancer and infected our source, our brothers, our sisters, our Mother Land. I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of "Jew Devils", 'spic bastards' , 'muff divin''' dykes' or anything like that- Only the store niggers!

I am to blame for this. Every time I said the word I condoned it, by not correcting others or rationalizing it gave it respectability, by looking the other way when others said 'hey nigga what's up' allowed others to see it and ultimately that when I purchase CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other stuff, I enriched it. I now see the error in my ways and I am so so sorry black men and women. The flame that we called entertainment, that was only to warm and entertain us, now engulfs us and scorches our own self-esteem. If a child only knows to refer to men and women as niggers, bitches, pimps and hoes, then what is he/she to grow up thinking of themselves and others as he/she gets older?

This is no joke you can see my site http://www.contribute2.org/ and read some more stories. The bottom line is this I rode over 12000 miles on 2 continents through 15 states and 13 countries and broke 2 bikes in the process to get to a store in AFRICA called niggers. I am willing to step and admit my part in the havoc that we have wrought on our mindset but I think that We all are to blame.

posted 26 august 2005

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Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

By Randall Kennedy

The word is paradigmatically ugly, racist and inflammatory. But is it different when Ice Cube uses it in a song than when, during the O.J. Simpson trial, Mark Fuhrman was accused of saying it? What about when Lenny Bruce uses it to "defang" it by sheer repetition? Or when Mark Twain uses it in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to make an antiracist statement? Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School and noted legal scholar, has produced an insightful and highly provocative book that raises vital questions about the relationship between language, politics, social norms and how society and culture confront racism. Drawing on a wide range of historical, legal and cultural instances Harry S. Truman calling Adam Clayton Powell "that damned nigger preacher"; Title VII court cases in which the use of the word was proof of condoning a "racially hostile work environment"; Quentin Tarantino's liberal use of the word in his films Kennedy repeatedly shows not only the complicated cultural history of the word, but how its meaning, intent and even substance change in context. Smart, well argued and never afraid of facing serious, difficult and painful questions in an unflinching and unsentimental manner, this is an important work of cultural and political criticism.

As Kennedy notes in closing: "For bad or for good, nigger is... destined to remain with us for the foreseeable future a reminder of the ironies and dilemmas, the tragedies and glories, of the American experience." (Jan. 22)Forecast: This may be the book that reignites larger debates over race eclipsed by September 11. Look for a bestselling run and huge talk show and magazine coverage as the Afghanistan news cycle continues to slow; the book had already been the subject of two New York Times stories by early January.—Publishers Weekly

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.

 Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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update 2 July 2012

 

 

 

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Related files:  Psychology of Black Oppression   The N-Word Poem at Lakeside   Retrospective on Die Nigger Die    The Niggerization of Palestine  Nigguh Please

Juneteenth and Emancipation   The Origin of Violence in Virginia   Just Another Dead Nigger  Albert Schweitzer Receives No Negro Applause   / Difficulties of Colonization 

  Historical Context for Hip Hop Store in Malawi