A few weeks back, one of the homeys sent me a video of an incident on a Metro train in DC. See, some wayward white man on the Green Line (notoriously known as the “Soul Train” in the area due to its propensity to run only through Prince George’s County, MD and DC), got into a kerfluffle with some riders. According to the comments, he had been rude and pushing his way onto the train; this is not an uncommon practice for anybody during rush hour in DC.
Well, apparently he pushed the wrong person and a shouting match ensued. At the point we get video we hear him refer to a woman (while being surrounded by Black people, mind you) as a “n*gger”. Multiple times. As opposed to the ass whipping you think he’d receive, folks were more like, “dog, why does it have to be all that…” I’m still baffled at the fact that he did not catch a beat down. He managed to be on the train with the most civil rights minded individuals in the DC-area, I assure you.
Anyway, when somebody asks him why he referred to her as the dreaded n-word, he shoots back with “she called me a f*ggot”. Now, on tape, we did not hear this. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. But we never heard it. Given the relative civility of everybody but this man I’m not completely inclined to believe him, but that’s neither her nor there. He did at some point towards the end of the video assault the person videotaping and according to the comments the police were waiting at the last station on the line for him.
That backstory is almost besides the point but I wanted to explain to you how I got to this question. Let’s imagine that somebody did call him the f-word. I’m no expert on slurs, but I’m pretty sure that’s one of the worst things you can call a gay person. It’s meant to be emasculating to the nth degree seeing as how many straight men refer to other men like that when dude is acting less than manly. Or they’re just being ignant. Either or.
But let’s say she called him a f*ggot. She likely didn’t know his sexual orientation but whatevs. That’s totes not important. She slurred him first. But what if he is gay. And hearing that offended him, so he offended her back with the n-word. Is he wrong? All those people got in their feelings (granted they’re all Black so we have some selection and location bias at work here) but what if he is gay and she shot off some gay slur so he shot back with a Black slur. Is all of a sudden he racist and therefore worse than any homophobic slur? Granted, the oppression olympics will be played forever, but can anybody really be mad if you aim one slur and they come back with another?
Confuscious says: he who strikes second, pays first.
He doesn’t really say that, I heard that in Sunday school. It’s always the n*gga who reacts who usually gets caught. But I also heard sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. This is patently not true because I’ve seen somebody get thrown through a glass window for saying something reckless at DC Live in the late 90s.
So maybe in a technical sense, you’re supposed to turn the other cheek and let words bounce off of you and pretend you’re not human. Then you go home and punch the air like Cuba Gooding, Jr in Boyz In Tha Hood. A lot. Hopefully you’ve got a virginal Nia Long there to take the edge off after. Seriously, has that ever worked? Man shows up as his girls house mad because of social injustice and he gets some for peace? P*ssy for Peace. Ignorant? Yes. But a cause everybody can support? I think so.
The more you know. *ding*
But assuming that the guy was gay and that the woman did say that in this scenario, is he wrong for referring to her with the n-word? Does that automatically make him more wrong than the person who uses the first slur? From his standpoint, sometimes you do have to take a stand and you just lose it at times. Everybody is capable of snapping. You’ve got the power. The reaction on the train would have largely coalesced on no matter what she said to him, you should never call a Black person an n-word as a non-Black person. I think most folks would agree with that.
I’m just not sure I’m one of them. If I call somebody a wop, wetback, kike, or any of a number of ethnic or racial slurs and they respond in kind, I can’t really get my panties in a bunch can I??? Like I can’t be like, “just wait a damn minute, sir, THAT is uncalled for!”
What say you? Does the n-word trump all or am I just preaching to the choir and need to run this poll on CNN?
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. N*GGA AT LONDON HEATHROW WITH ME AND MY PEOPLES aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3