“Django”, The “N” Word, And I’m Confused (Warning: This Post Contains The “N” Word In It’s Original Form)


If you’ve not already seen it, go see the movie Django Unchained.  It’s a fairly decent storyline.. and has well-known actors that do very good jobs at their craft.  But beware.. it’s a Tarantino film.  What does that mean?Well, you’re likely to get some out-of-the-box creative shock entertainment that’s not necessarily historically accurate, and will teter on the edge of social acceptance and sparking controversy.  Of course there’s the gratuitous blood and gore, and colorful language.. like the “N” word.  Now that’s where I get a little confused… socially.  Let me explain.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I also work with a number of gentlemen from mixed races and ages so many times our various opinions reflect our melting pot culture.  So as we were reflecting over having seen the movie we were sharing our particular favorite scenes.  I contributed that I thought Samuel L. (Jackson) was pretty damn decent in his nasty slave character, Stephen, role.  I rather thought the scene was funny when Django and the German rode up to the Candiland Plantation house… and Sammy comes out of the front door…

Before I could finish my sentence one of my black associates chimes in… “Oh yeah!  When Sammy yells out, ‘What is an N word doing on a horse?!’ hahaha”  Another compadre of color comes through on the walkie talkie with, “Yeah… and other characters in the film said the same thing.  Remember the slaves in the caged wagon said, “What is that N word doing on a horse?”.

So.. at this point I am kinda taken aback.  That movie said the word “nigger” 110 times in the course of all that dialog, and is now winning Globe and Oscar nominations, and nearly everyone has seen the movie because of its popularity… most folks love the movie with no mention of racial overtones… and now we can’t re-tell any dialog in the public real world for fearing we won’t be politically correct and offend someone’s race?  There’s something a bit wrong with this picture (um.. not the movie).  I mean, even the fact that my two black buddies sharing their funny scenes even said “N word”.. and I’ve heard these guys call each other “niggah” almost on a daily basis.  So I am left to ponder.  Knowing that we were all sharing parts of the movie that brought out humor did the black guys say “N word” because a white guy was listening?  Or was their sub-conscious kicking in with the idea that the everyday use of “niggah” toward each other was some form of cultural acknowledgment and that the movie was a story about slavery and the use of “nigger” was too close to home?

My point here is that as a white guy trying to constantly make sure I do my part in not saying some term that suggests racial bigotry in the world I’m caught in that familiar social void from 30 years ago when we didn’t know how to address black folks and that the N word became the N word because it was allegedly so offensive that it’s true word could never be uttered in public by a white person (although it was ok for black folks to call each other that).  Now we have a movie that says it 110 times, so does that make it now socially acceptable where I can recite a scene from it using the real word and not be called a racist?

I’m telling you.. we truly need to get rid of all this political correctness in the world because it’s eating us up alive.  It kind of reminds me of that other movie many years ago.. Scarface, with Al Pacino.  They said the F word 206 times.  But all that did was make church ladies wince… it didn’t insult a race, I suppose.

Why can’t we all just accept that fact that we are all different with the same similarities.

By the way.. that was a funny scene.  Only Sammy could deliver it.  Coming out the front door of the plantation house, seeing Django high and mighty on the horse… sounding surprised and frustrated at the same time, he echos what was said off and on throughout the movie by various other characters, “What is a nigger doing on a horse!?

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