Dear Street Sage,
Can I say “nigga”? Preface: I play a lot of basketball, or “street ball” as some would say. Yesterday, I played with seven black men who frequently said “nigga”. Often, I am called “white boy”. I never say “nigga”. I call them by their names because I interrogative myself. Yesterday, I earned respect for my game and they just called me “Bob”. But here in the 21st century, where should people stand on the word “Nigga”. It’s popularized in black culture and used often, should I feel it is taboo or can I use it as a show of respect, familiarity in proper context?
~ “White” “Boy”
Dear “White” “Boy”,
No. I do not think you should be using that word. Give it a try around these particular men if you feel you have enough cred with them. You may get your ass kicked. You may not. Either way, that’s the only real way for you to find out. Or if they call you “white boy” again then try…”don’t call me white boy, I don’t call you nigga”. See a reaction, respond accordingly. If these particular men are ok with you using that word, people in the street may not be. Be aware of your surroundings. Even in the 21st century the word “nigga” is still offensive, racist, and disrespectful. You are correct in saying that it is popularized in black culture, again I will point out, you are not black.
I don’t think anyone should be using that word anymore. That’s just my opinion.
– Street Sage
Dear Street Sage,
How honest can friends and family be when they’re not crazy about someone’s significant other?
That is a great question and one that does not come with an easy answer. Ultimately we hope our friends and family are in happy, healthy relationships. If you have concerns that you want to express to a friend or family member about their significant other, it is important that you do it in a way that won’t push that person away from you. Often times when presented with concerns people react in a way to prove you wrong. Especially if they don’t see the issue. Try not to be fake about how you treat said person. If you are overly kind and friendly to the significant other, the one you are not fond of, you may throw your friend for a loop. This could cause a whole new issue. You know your friend or family member best so you should decide the approach, some options could be….
1. Be very out right and vocal about your concerns and don’t sugar coat the situation. I would suggest this option more so if there was an abusive relationship of any kind, emotional, sexual or physical.
2. Drop small hints or concerns at appropriate times. This option would be helpful when your friend has doubts.
3. Wait it out. Sometimes it is important for people to make their own mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes you can’t find what you want until you know what you don’t want.
One thing for sure, never be mean and never make them feel like you will not be around should they chose to stay with said person. Questions can often be helpful, “Are you happy?”, “Oh, you don’t seem to happy about…is everything ok?”, “I noticed you’ve been…that doesn’t seem like you, what changed?”.
Remember, people will always do what they are doing, until they can’t do it anymore. That goes for anything, what job you have, what friendships you keep and any kind of romantic relationship.
That’s just my opinion, good luck.
– Street Sage
Street: noun ˈstrēt
: a thoroughfare especially in a city, town, or village that is wider than an alley or lane and that usually includes sidewalks
Sage: adjective ˈsāj
1) a : wise through reflection and experience
b : archaic : grave, solemn
2) a : proceeding from or characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment
The Street Sage: noun
1) a : combine street smarts with wisdom
b : not a psychologist or a therapist
c : willing to listen and help guide to finding ones own answers
d : never claiming to have the correct and final answer