First and foremost, this is a conversation about Black people by Black people that only involves Black people. If you ain’t Black people, then you have absolutely no business weighing in. Keep your mouth closed and eat your food.
Something unusual happened Saturday night when the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Brooklyn Nets. In a league where 74.2% of the players are either African-American or Black from foreign soil, two Black men got into a heated exchange over the use of the n-word. Not “ni**er”, but “ni**a”. We describe it as unusual because to our knowledge this has never happened before. Black players have been calling each other ni**a on the court and off the court for decades and we can’t recall a single time that it resulted in such an angry response. But that’s exactly what happened.
During the third quarter of the game, both Kyrie Irving and Dennis Schröder were ejected after a verbal altercation. At the time, fans at the game and fans who watched on TV were confused about why the refs felt it necessary to issue double technical fouls. After some keen lip-reading, it was discovered that Kyrie had snapped on Schröder for saying “Goddamn, ni**a”.
Kyrie, someone who many people refuse to believe has never said “ni**a”, took great offense to the term being used toward him and had some heated words for an obviously befuddled Schröder. Yesterday afternoon, Kyrie took to Twitter to post the following message.
Maybe this…brotha…is having some sort of spiritual enlightenment and opening his third eye. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with not wanting to be addressed as “ni**a”. Everyone of every race, creed, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and beyond should be respected in regard to how people speak to them. That said, it’s a bit strange to see Kyrie fly off the handle like this because we too are in the crowd of folks who refuse to believe that Kyrie has never used “ni**a” before.
Where do you stand on this issue? Should Black people stop saying “ni**a”? Have we reclaimed the word as our own? Do you think Kyrie overreacted?