Presently, the word nigga is used more liberally among younger members of all races and ethnicities in the United States. In addition to African Americans, other ethnic groups have adopted the term as part of their vernacular.  —–Wikipedia

*Canadian pop singer Justin Biebers use of the N-word is not surprising to this African-American.  But before I get outraged over a then teenaged Bieber’s lame ass attempt to replicate a comedy routine he saw a Black person do, I first have to give the eye towards the Black people who hang around people like Bieber confusing them into thinking that that can say what we say.

In a video online Bieber jokes about murdering a black person so that there will be ‘one less lonely nigger’, and he can join the KKK. This after a previous video surfaced of him grinning while asking the question ‘Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?’ before he started making the noise of the chainsaw concluding his ‘joke’ with ‘Run nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger.’

Unlike disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling who is just an old school racist, I don’t think Beiber was being racist when he used the N-word.  I think he was just trying to impersonate the same Black men he admires so much and strives to be just like.

You see, Justin Biebers are what happened when African-Americans stopped looking at the N-word as an abusive slur and epithet and starting using it affectionately as a friendly greeting and term of endearment.  Unfortunately, as shown in the videos, a then younger Bieber hadn’t made the correlation between the word “nigger” and “nigga,” the latter having now seemingly been green lighted by Blacks for universal use by pretty much anyone.

The moment Black people stopped censoring themselves in mixed company and went on a N-word free-for-all, we not only opened the door for others to do the same, we took it off the damn hinges.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. That train left the station when we conspired with the entertainment industry to aid and abet in the exploitation of the N-word for money.  One of my favorite examples of this is when rapper Ja Rule wrote the lyrics to Jennifer Lopez’s hit song “I’m Real” Murder Remix and included the word “nigga” for her to say.

Rule said that Lopez was not the first Latino to use the word in a song, and that it hadn’t been in an issue previously, adding it was something to let people get a chance to “poke her.”  Whatever that means.

From comedians to rappers, “niggas” have been sending entertainment industry executives to the bank for quite some time now.

More recently, in Georgia, several white high school seniors hung a sign outside of their school that read “Niggas We Made It.”  Their inspiration?  Canadian rapper Drake and Soulja Boy’s “We Made It” song.

For me, there’s only one difference between the words “nigger” and “nigga,” laziness.  It’s that same laziness that follows the logic in the use of the word “ratchet” to replace wretched, “ignant” for ignorant, and “fi en tuh” for fixing to. “Nigga” is not a new word with a new meaning.  It’s an old word that was used to abuse, demean, and put down Blacks who then turned around and not only found a way to glorify the word but to pave the way for others to do it as well ensuring that future generations to come of all races know that Black people were and are niggas.

Black people offended by others use of the word need to figure out if intent is the only issue or is it the word itself.  Because if it’s the word, then the list doesn’t begin with Justin Bieber—it starts with us.

It’s been said before, and it needs to be said again–other races do not use abusive slurs in the way that we use the word “nigga” to refer to ourselves.  They simply don’t.

African-Americans are the reason that the Justin Biebers of the word can be called the new Black, literally.

Jasmyne A. Cannick (official headshot)Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, on radio, television, and in print, Jasmyne Cannick is a politics, race, and pop culture social commentator who has cultivated a national following for telling it like it is on hard to deal with issues.  She can be reached at www.jasmyneonline.com and on Twitter @Jasmyne.