Sunday, 11 September 2011

The N-Word and the K-Word

Please note: this is an OPINION piece and this is my humble opinion. I am sick to death of the Media glamorizing certain words or actions to reap online clicks or paper sales. I read an article yesterday – the person in the limelight is a well known and much loved celeb. After an altercation he in now without work and "shamed" it's utter rubbish! Politicians say the most awful racist things constantly and nothing is done. One word said in anger makes a half page highlight. It's not right.
It amazes me that in our modern age we are not really concerned with things like over-sexualized television content during "family hour" and teenage promiscuity, drug use, child trafficking, corrupt politicians and gang violence – hell, it hardly makes "news" anymore. But if someone 'non-black' in the USA says the N-word (despite the fact that most young trendy African Americans use it in their every day conversations, and have no real history, hurt or resentment linked to it at all see: then it is a MAJOR news story with the 'culprit' head in hands – ashamed and remorseful and begging forgiveness.  

In South Africa there is the K-word.
It is an ugly word.
I get it.
It is as offensive to Black people as "Kill the Boer" sung by Julius Malema, and "Mshini wam" (bring me my machine gun) by President Jacob Zuma, are to Whites.
I am the product of an abusive home situation and I was sworn at violently every day till I was 13. That doesn't mean that every time I hear a swear word I have a melt down. They are just words to me. The sentiment behind the words has more effect on me than the *actual* word itself.

If a nasty word is said in drunkenness or in anger – it really doesn't get any deeper than that – it's carelessness. No need to "go deep" and try to "figure out why I said it" – you had a beer or two, it affects your tongue. Have you all read the statistics about how your mental capacity is affected by alcohol?

"The cerebral cortex and alcohol
The cerebral cortex processes information from your senses, processes thoughts, initiates the majority of voluntary muscle movements and has some control over lower-order brain centres. In the cerebral cortex, alcohol can:

  • Affect thought processes, leading to potentially poor judgement.
  • Depresses inhibition, leading one to become more talkative and more confident.
  • Blunts the senses and increases the threshold for pain."

Case in point:
A South African celebrity who has worked incredibly hard to entertain us for over 20 years has now "fallen from grace"

Picture the scene:
Some men are drinking at a team build, they are known for enjoying a few too many beers. The one guy owes the other guy a lot of money, has not paid back a cent. Mr Borrower has recently bought a car and a house despite owing money to Mr Money Lender. Mr Borrower is now harassing the tipsy Mr Money Lender and pretending that they are bosom buddies (Mr ML is famous – who wouldn't?) After a repeated harassment and altercation, the money lender is so enraged that he spits out the worst insult that he can think of: the K-word.

And boy oh boy does it cause a ruckus.

Mr Money Lender quits his job/s and sits in his home in shame. The nation looks on in mock horror as verbalised tut-tut's ring out.
Not really.
The average man-on-the-street has more to worry about than the K-word. The man on the street is trying to survive, trying to earn a living. This was a private spat that was dragged into the media because of one word. If Mr Money Lender had said "F---off stupid twat!" we wouldn't be hearing about it now would we. (?)

My husband posted something online last night:

"It takes just one act of stupidity to destroy ninety nine good deeds"

And this is true here, I think.  

We can take three lessons from this situation:
1. Stop drinking so much.
2. Don't lend money to anyone.
3. Think of a new insult to throw.
Now, this poor Mr Money Lender is supposedly broken hearted and spending time deep in thought as to WHY he called out this god-awful word… While Mr Borrower STILL owes him a lot of money and is now hanging onto the sympathy vote so that he doesn't have to repay Mr ML.

I think that this world is SERIOUSLY skewed.

Children are exposed to violence, sexually explicit material, women are abused every day, men are treated badly by the mothers of their children… there is SO much wrong going on and no one gives a rats… but say those two magical words K- and F- and voila! Media presence! Ratings go up! The shame! Front page news! Vilification! *sigh*

How do YOU feel about these two words? I don't want a History lesson – we know where they come from and the ugliness that went with them – I want to know NOW – are YOU affected by these words? Are they just being glamorized by the media? Do they truly make the user into a vile monster? or just someone who didn't think before they spoke…


Sandy Bigara


  1. Editing nazi saysh 'THREE' lessons..

    Other than that, I personally LOATHE the word! It is copletely and utter banned from my homd those who use it *with intent* in my presence will find they have a hard time retaining a spot in my social circle. That being said, I have used the whole word (as opposed to saying 'the k-word') several times in what I feel are appropriate forums, usually political or social perspective discussions. A couple of my (of several races) friends have called me out on it, but I think that we give *them* (bigots etc) too much power when we alter our volume and give reverence to their hatred. No-one who has ever known me for even the briefest moment could possibly have the vaguest notion that I am a racist, but I also am not a public figure, and I do understand that the rules are different for them (as well they should be)

  2. My darling Editor - thanks for the edit :) have to admit I loved the following *copletely* *utter* *homd* - made my day :D


    Sandy B

  3. "I am sick to death of the Media glamorizing certain words or actions to reap online clicks or paper sales"
    You mean the same way that you have used this article to generate views?
    That is why the media are there. To increase the bottom line. Of course they are going to milk something like this. As are you, by writing this article. Nothing wrong there.
    Of course, if you want honest, accountable reporting, perhaps you need to stop reading the papers you do. The Times, Tribune, etc are all sensationalist tabloidesque ragsheets. You would be far better off reading something like the Mail and Guardian.

    Regarding the actual word in question, I think it is inaccurate to compare it to a swear-word. Words such as fuck and shit are simply colourful words which people use to flavour their speech. Sure, they can be inappropriate, but they are not the same as using a racial slur.
    You say that you don't want a history lesson, but if you are asking why people are offended by racial slurs, then perhaps you need to take another look at the history behind the words. They are deeply offensive, and should be to all of us. The ironic use of the term by those whom the term describes, have every right to take ownership of the word, but others do not.

    Finally, Tamsyn is correct in saying that as a public figure he should be hauled over the coals for this. Can you see what it would mean to those whom it attacks, if he wasn't?

  4. Thank you for your comment Stephen, I understand the need for media to generate views - it doesnt mean that I approve of it. For the record darling, I dont write "to generate views" I dont earn revenue from this blog and I am an incredibly busy person - I write about what concerns me, what makes me laugh, what irks me - and yes, I generate views just by sharing my ideas with a click. Cant apologise for that. I've been writing this blog since 2008 and if it is gaining in popularity - I'm pleased.

    I still think that people are over-sensitive. There are more important things to worry about -Food crisis in our backyards, education systems that are failing us, healthcare below parr... Racial slurs only have power because the people give them power. Take away the stigma, and the word falls hollow.

    I have no problem with a public figure apologising for not having better control (the curbing of drinking binges when famous would help as well) - but as for the "circus" performance level that it tends to go to ... I don't agree. It simply gives the word in question even more power.

    Sandy B

  5. My pleasure Sandy :)
    I guess that was my point though. You want clicks (for popularity), so you add spice to your headlines. I didn't mean that to be insulting. Everyone does it. You wouldn't have a blog if you didn't want people to read it. The same goes for newspapers, except on a much larger scale.

    I agree that the media in general are a bunch of scum bags. That is why I suggested a change in where you read your news. Mail and Guardian (sister paper of The Guardian in the UK) are generally pretty good about being more honest in their headlines.

    I guess we disagree about the racial slur. It brings to mind the recent ruling regarding Malema. The judge, quite rightly, said that there is no place in today's world for this kind of language, regardless of the situation.

    You say that if we take away the stigma of a word and they fall hollow. Does that mean you agree to the singing of "Kill the Boer" in the context of being a struggle song?

  6. Sandy,

    I don't think this guy was trolling sweety. A troll is "someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."
    This guy was just trying to discuss the topic you brought up :)


  7. Wait. Troll? Who said I was trolling? You're kidding right?
    Surely the point of these comments are for discussion?

    Why on earth would anyone think that disagreement=trolling?


  8. Godammit. Its so hard keeping up with these pseudonyms!
    I am Stephen, and I am Richard.

  9. I have to say I agree with anonymous Sandy. Not sure if this is the "troll" you were referring to on facebook, but if so, I think you're mistaking trolling with disagreement.


  10. I'm just confused as to why you didn't just discuss the issue with me here, as opposed to just complaining about me and calling me names on Facebook. If you don't want to discuss this with me, that's fine (although I can't for the life of me understand why you have a blog if you don't want any kind of discussion), but at least have the decency to discuss it with me directly, instead of complaining about me to your friends on facebook.


  11. Sandy's comment from Facebook.

    "‎*shaking head* It's amazing that every time +every time+ that I write an opinion piece, I get trolled!! Why!? Women are not allowed to *have* opinions -.-"

  12. I have been at work all day and have only seen these comments now - I would appreciate people not copy-pasting my personal status's onto the comment section of my blog - if i wished to do so then i would do so myself. Last night in a conversation with my husband I mentioned that whenever I have had an opinion about anything, I have had comments on my blog. Then later I posted the status - as I am allowed to do. I did not mention names or link the thought to any blog post. It is how I feel. If you have issue with my thoughts then please by all means - go somewhere else. I would like to know who actually copy pasted my status? I don't appreciate it. I have chosen my FB friends and share my status with them - and not with the entire web. Thanks. Sandy Bigara

  13. And for the record: My latest FB Status.

    "Last night I posted a status - stating how I felt about meeting resistance each time I post an opinion piece. I was thinking back to the Pointy Shoe Drama - One of my 'FB friends' felt that it was ok to embarrass me by mentioning it in the comment thread of my latest blog - thus insulting the nice guy who was debating the topic with me, but another 'FB Friend' felt it ok to copy-paste the status and post it there! I feel like flipping deleting everyone."

  14. Picking up from where we left off Stephen/Richard - I see your point regarding the "shoot the boer" racial slur and judgement. I suppose I am just feeling very tired of the politics in this country.

    I felt that the reaction by this celeb was a little bit too 'circus-circus' for me.

    I dont think that there is any answer here - but do still hold that people give the words their power. The Judge mentioned that when he had heard another minister singing the song he maintained that is was pleasant but that when Julius sang it - it was with harmful intent. Im sure that when the celeb slurred out the word it was meant as a F-off and not as a "I'm going to kill you now" ? Eish I dont know.

    Perhaps the answer is to NOT say mean things. Is that possible?

  15. First off. Facebook dude, whoever you are, not cool. Not cool at all dude. And to the rest of you commenting about trolls, implying that I am the troll in question, you're simply creating drama for the sake of it. Stop it. Its hurtful and pointless.

    Now, Sandy, thank you for your gracious reply. I actually think we agree more than we realise. And I completely understand about you getting tired of politics. Let me tell you, it is the same everywhere. No matter what country I have lived in, there is always the same old bullshit coming from the political arena. I think it is more a case of our eyes being opened as we grow older, and becoming jaded, as opposed to politics actually getting worse.
    We can't stop it, so maybe it is best we pay it as little attention as possible.

    And I completely agree that the Darren Scott case was said in anger, but it is a sensitive subject, and he was right to apologise after and to state unequivocally that he was wrong. That is the responsible thing to do.

    One last thing. Race will still be a sensitive subject in South Africa for many years to come. Look at Nazi Germany and the Jews. It is still deemed highly offensive to make jokes at their expense, or to imitate Nazis. The scale of the holocaust is nearly the same as the damage done by apartheid in South Africa. It is a miracle we have got this far, and it will take a lot more work, and we will have to put up with a lot more idiots like Malema, before we can finally put this behind us. If that day even comes.

    Nice chatting :)


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