Thursday, December 6, 2012

UK: White man cleared of racial abuse after using N-word 'as term of endearment'

Via Madnews
A British court has cleared a white man who shouted the word "nigger" at a black man of racial abuse, after he claimed he was a rap music fan who used the term as an endearment.

Christopher Jones was found by North Staffordshire magistrates to have used the term widely seen as one of racist abuse, but not to have used it in a hostile way.

He told magistrates he used the term regularly on the streets around his home in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Jones was charged by police and in court pleaded not guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour which was racially aggravated.

After his acquittal, Jones said he had more black friends than white ones and added: "I can be sat with a black friend and I will say 'What up, nigger?' and it's a term of endearment."

Jones told his local newspaper, the Sentinel: "I am not a racist, it was used as slang. For me it is a term of endearment, not something racist.

"I like hip-hop and it is a word that is used all the time in music."
...

Peter Herbert, a part-time judge and chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, said: "Staffordshire is not known for its multiculturalism or hip-hop culture.

"The 'N' word is generally unacceptable in the UK, including in rap music circles and on the streets. It is much more common in the United States."
....

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: "Christopher Jones was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence after he repeatedly shouted from a window to a group on the street on 10 September 2012. Mr Jones accepted that he used the language alleged but denied it was motivated by hostility. This was accepted by the magistrates and Mr Jones was acquitted."

(Source: The Guardian)

I think that's what they call the boomerang effect.

4 comments:

  1. One of the first things that strikingly impressed me when I moved to San Francisco (and still does!) was the extreme racial and ethnic diversity of this city. Arguably, after Honolulu, S.F. is the most multiracial city in the United States. And there is a healthy dose of cross-ethnic and racial social and romantic mixing throughout the city, too.

    I also noticed, at first very much shaken up, that wherever there was a gathering of non-white teenagers or twenty-somethings, I ALWAYS heard the word nigger. On the buses, on the sidewalks, wherever there were people of color, that word was practically yelled out and seemingly took on a life of its own.

    Upon closer examination, I found that NON-BLACKS were calling each other and referring to other non-Blacks with this term. For example, a Latino would greet his "homie" with a warm "Wuss up, my NIGGA(ER)?!" Or I'd hear passing conversations from the mouths of ASIAN youth such as, "See them Niggers over there, I went to a bangin' party with them..." I'd look in that direction and the people in question were ALL ASIANS! Probably the most unexpected use of the term I've seen so far was a physical fight outside a restaurant where one of the combatants was screaming to the other guy, over and over again: "NIGGER! I will beat yo' a..s DOWN!" Shock of shocks, BOTH MEN were non-Black PACIFIC ISLANDERS!

    This word, among non-Blacks here in S.F., has seemingly become a synonym for "dude", "guy", or "fellow". I commonly see Asians, Pacific Islanders and Latinos addressing their African-American buddies---to their faces---with greetings such as, "Nigger, what's good?!" or any other type of innocuous phrasings without the least tinge of racial hostility.

    However, I have NEVER heard a white person---of any age---use this term in San Francisco, so that's probably where the full racial/racist dynamics of the word are still potently loaded with anti-Blackness, and the would-be white speakers know it and refrain from using it. I have seen three white and black physical confrontations where I expected the white males to call the black adversary by this term, but in all cases other inflammatory words were used.

    Maybe this is specifically a "San Francisco Thing". I haven't quite figured it out.....
    But I, myself, would feel very uncomfortable and probably even cringe if a white guy called me or another Black in our company by this term, no matter how intimate our friendship.

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    Replies
    1. It's clear a white person in the US would be in trouble if he would shout the word to a black person. I saw Kramer [Seinfeld] screaming the word and that was no hip hop.

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    2. Yeah John, I have encountered what you so eloquently spoke of too many times to count in NYC. I've noticed that non-Blacks or at least, those who do not identify as black (Dominicans--lol) who also fall into the non-White category throw out "nigga" without any pretense whatsoever and seemingly, have co-opted the word as a synonym for a non-White body...that may or may not have been marginalized and oppressed in a manner completely similar to Blacks.

      I have also heard the word come out of the mouths of white/light skinned Latinos and Arabs who don't identify as "White" or more to the point, Anglo-Saxon. This always jars me the most and creates the most internal confusion because I'm first confronted and assaulted with the visual/emotional/historical immediacy of that word coming out of a "white" mouth but then upon further inspection, I see that those mouths have adopted "Black" and "urban (which is unfairly synonymous with Black but whatever)" culture and don't see themselves as White people. And so my unease dissipates...slightly.

      Most interesting however, is when me and a friend were walking down a street and saw two young ostensibly White guys (one looked Italian and the other like a grown up Opie from the Andy Griffith show--lol) talking and laughing with each other, casually and with a certain amount of agency, throwing around "nigga" in reference to themselves. At first we looked at each other in shock, but after we then took in the men's "lower class" looking attire, their "urban" inflected mannerisms and the fact that we were in the Bronx, we were more willing to right it off...although we were still quite frazzled, confused and unsure about what we should think. And it led to a conversation where we expressed some exasperation at how now "nigga" has been co-opted by lower class Whites who may feel disenfranchised and "oppressed" by high class Whites. The word never really belong to us to begin with, but then after we took it, it's now fleeing from our grasps once again! lol Ultimately, I'm unsure of how I feel about the whole thing.

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  2. The magistrate should have had Christopher Jones prove that he had a whole lot of black friends and have each one testify that it was okay for him to call them the "N-word". I bet he would have be proven to be a liar.

    Furthermore, the word that is used as a "term of endearment" is Niggaz or Nigga. Black people only use the "N-word" when they are trying to be spiteful to each other.

    I should know, right now I am living next to two trifling "N-word". I can't stand them and I wish they would move.

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