“White folks tired of our ass too! They gettin them some new niggas….” – Richard Pryor | Is It Something I Said (1975)
Richard Pryor is probably one of the most legendary comics in American pop culture history. His raw comedy combined with the realism of his own life made not only a wry comedic platter, but also painted a life that was filled with pain, agony, and angst on many different complex levels. However, one of the things that Pryor did well was to place in front of you—in a comedic form of course—the vile, nefarious, reprehensible aspects of life and demand you deal with them. He did this so well, most of his comedy is based around these principles, you didn’t even realize you were actually “being taught” something until later on—a skill that most comics do not possess.
In one of Pryor’s better albums, Is It Something I Said (1975), Pryor begins to discuss “race relations” in the U.S. Pryor starts by stating that White people are getting some “New Niggas.” Pryor made the observation that U.S. racial demographics were changing and that Blacks were no longer the “niggers” of the U.S. In Pryor’s view, Vietnamese were “new niggas” and were now the niggarized racial group of the 1970’s. While Pryor was comedically discussing the race relations between Vietnamese people and Blacks, he was unknowingly discussing an even larger issue: Niggarization. That is, the process which involves bastardizing, marginalizing, oppressing, and subjugating a people group in many of the same methods that were used to oppress and enslave African Americans during the height of “open racism” during the 1960’s. Pryor unwittingly stumbled upon a larger issue within American race relations with his discussion on Niggarization. We can see this type of process within many different racial & people groups here in America:
- Middle Easterners (Including Persians, Israelis, & even Northern African people groups e.g. Morocco, Egypt, Algeria)
- Russians (During the “Red Scare” era)
- Native Americans (Watch any John Wayne western or just ask Tonto)
- Gays/ Homosexuals
As you can see, Niggarization is not limited to “Blacks only.” It is rooted in the racial discrimination and political/ social oppression Blacks have faced, but not limited to only Blacks. Today, especially in a post 9/11 climate which grows in the soil of a culture of fear, many people and racial groups face Niggarization. The one particular group that I would like to point out today is Gays.
Gays are some of those “new niggas” we are now dealing with in the 21st century. After a heated political year in 2008, the controversial prop 8 in California, and the open bashing of gays within certain religious circles, gay people have become new niggas. Now, does race have a part in this Niggarization? Of course. But, that is for another time. The point I am making here, is that gay people are a new line of people to bash, hate, fear, have disgust towards, and point toward the ill of our societies decline in morality. These types of jargon are no different from what was said about Black people, Japanese Americans during WWII, and Middle Easterners after the 9/11 events here in the U.S.
Gays are easy targets because of their “lifestyle choices,” seemingly moral declination, erroneous connections to the spread of HIV & AIDS, and perceived debaucheries; gays have become a despised group and “moral” target for religious groups because of this list of “sins.” However, gays were not always the “feared” people group.
As long as gays were considered “faggots,” dying of AIDS, segregated to “their district,” and kept out of site, they were “ok.” As long as gays were nowhere near social power structures and political mobility, they were “ok.” As long as they stayed in San Francisco and other Babylonian labeled cities, they were “ok.” However, once gays gained power, political strength, and weaved into “respectable” professions such as doctors, lawyers, and mayors, they became a problem. Gays were not even on the conservative agenda 25 years ago. Moreover, most Christians never had to interact with “those people” unless they went to Disneyland or drove past the “Red Light” district of a city.
Now, I am not here to tell you the gay lifestyle is “bad” or “good.” You can debate that on your own, what I am here to say is that gays are the new niggas of the 21st century and that alone needs some addressing. Its amazing to me the comparisons between what was said about African Americans in the 1960’s and gays during this last election year. Here are a few:
- The need for “separation” of lifestyles
- The “This is what the Bible says…” statements
- The strong moral and immoral line being drawn
- The pure disgust
- The close mindedness of the uninformed and intolerant public
- The “I have a ____ Friend, so that doesn’t make me a bigot” statements that were made
These are just some of the few themes that parallel gays and African Americans. Now, the fact remains that most of the U.S. does not support gay marriage. Most of the states within the U.S. have laws that oppose gays being defined as a “married couple” (some do have civil union laws). And most Christian churches oppose any type of gay marriage, activity, or interaction. After the much debated Prop 8 in California (Along with several other states), a lot of homophobic discourse arose and some good old fashioned hate came out—which is no surprise given this nations history toward “ethnic people.” Gays have simply become Niggarized and easy targets for ridicule, hate, and intolerance. Much of this Niggarization is very similar to Jim Crow Laws, segregation laws, and the “separate but equal” mantra, which seems to continually show its hideous countenance within the American public sphere.
So where does this leave us? Where does this leave those who call themselves Christians? Rick Warren has made it clear that it is the “us versus them” syndrome; clearly. Moreover, what about Bible theology that teaches gays will “burn in hell” and “Not inherit the Kingdom of God?” Well, Billy Graham said an interesting quote several years ago, and while I am not necessarily a Billy Graham groupie, what he said bears strongly on our “next move.” During Bill Clinton’s inaugural luncheon, a reporter spotted Billy sitting at a table. The reporter quickly ran over to the table to grab the latest “scoop” from Billy and to inquire why he was even there. The reporter said, “Billy, why are you here? How can you, a religious man, even be here in the midst of such an adulterer?” Billy responded in some of the wisest words. He said, “You know, I’m here because of one reason. You see, its God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirits job to convict, and my job to love. That’s what I’m doing here, my job, to love.” My question is, how are we loving those whom we have labeled “stranger,” “different,” or “evil?” Moreover, how do we love on the Niggarized gay people group?
Here is a website you should check out by my boy Andrew Marin.