Every couple of years the African American intelligencia get wrapped up in a conversation about the use of the word “Nigger”. One side argues that it’s offensive and the use of the term implies the still enslaved minds of African Americans and some have even gone so far as to bury the word. On the other side you had some arguing, (primarily members of the Hip-Hop community) that by using the term over and over it would lose its power and Black folks would be turning the table on racists by embracing a word that was once an insult. On an MTV interview in late 2007 everybody’s favorite not-quite-underground rapper Nas said of the term: “I wanna make the word easy on mutha******’ ears. You see how White boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ’cause it don’t have the same [sting] as ‘ni**er’? I want ‘ni**er’ to have less meaning [than] ‘cracker.’ With all the bull**** that’s going on in the world, racism is at its peak. We’re taking power [away] from the word.” I never really bought the line of argument that you could transform an insult into a term of empowerment by overuse, primarily because the power of words is in who uses them and what their intent is. Your best friend calling you a dumbass on the basketball court comes off a bit differently than your boss calling you a dumbass in front of the board of directors. Either way it appears that Obama is again on the side of rap and hip hop because on one of his latest campaign stops he’s trying to turn one of the harshest terms thrown at him during the presidential campaign season into a term of empowerment and endearment. In a recent campaign stop in St. Louis Obama has taken to saying things like: “They call it Obamacare, well you know what? I DO care. Why don’t they?” I must admit, strategically I think this is a pretty sound idea. Republicans have been using the word Obamacare for over a year now and President Obama has done a lousy job fighting back against the term. If he starts using Obamacare as a badge of honor that’ll really put the GOP messaging machine into fits. And the term “Obama-Care” actually is ready made for re-casting since it can play upon the consistent Democratic meme that Democrats actually care about people and Republicans are cold slaves of Wall Street. Imagine that, Obama finally getting tough, turning Obamacare into an advantage and sticking it to Republicans, just like people always wanted him to do. That’s my “Ni**a!” (You know what I mean…..)
This article originally appeared at Politic365.com.