A Black & White Conversation with Derek Minor Part 1: The ‘N-Word’
After a one hour long discussion with Derek Minor about his The Trap album, we took another hour to dive into some heavy questions. The Trap and the conversation about it, unveiled the hardships of a disenfranchised African American community as they struggle to Fly High Above The Trap by Any Means.
Coming into this interview, I found another opportunity. Let’s have an honest and nuanced conversation about race. Yes, not an original idea, but let’s do something a little different. Let’s pretend for a moment, that YOU, not a person of color, had the opportunity to sit down with a black person and ask them anything without recourse. What would you ask? It is in this vein that Derek Minor and I spoke about racial stereotypes, misconceptions, and solutions to help people understand each other better. Instead of shouting and arguing, this is a teachable moment, that takes many of the “rebuttals” toward the African American community, and gives a more thoughtful answer.
It is also important to note, and he acknowledges it, Derek Minor, does not speak for all black people. He is aware that some people may agree with the rebuttals and that others may even fall in the middle. This is his take and interpretation toward the questions being asked.
Without further adieu, Rapzilla presents A Black & White Conversation About Race.
Why can black people say the ‘N-Word’ and white people can’t? And how do you feel about the word and what it means?
That’s a hilarious question. At the end of the day, my whole push back about that thing is the question should be, “Why can someone say it and why can someone not say it?” The question is: if someone said that you saying that word offends them, why would you want to say it?
If you look in Corinthians, Paul talks about, if meat offends my brother, I won’t even eat it. He’s talking about meat that’s being sacrificed to idols. There’s the law of love here. If we’re talking about for the Christian believer, the answer is not, “Why can someone say or why can someone not say it?” the question is, “If someone says you saying this word offends them, then why would you even want to?” Until we can answer that question, then there’s really no point in answering the other question. The end thing is that it doesn’t matter.
If I were to call you Jay, and you were to say, “I hate when you call me Jay” because of whatever reason, if it’s something that I did, it doesn’t matter what it is. Please just call me Justin.” My response to that should be, “I am so sorry. I had no clue that you did not like to be called that. I’ll never call you that again.” It’s well documented that black people don’t like white people calling them the “N-Word” so the issue is not WHY? It’s why would you even want to say it in the first place?
Why do some black people call each other it?
First off, I’m not the spokesperson for all black people. So I think the idea that every black person has the answer for every black person, I think that’s a very limited view of black people. So I can’t tell you why a person would say that. Ideally, in my context, that’s just a word we used in that context. I don’t know why everyone says it. I can’t begin to tell you, there are different reasons. Some people say it like, “What’s up homie?” I couldn’t even speak to that. I know people who don’t use that word, HATE IT. There’s tons of black people I know that that word is offensive for anyone to use. There’s others that it doesn’t bother them.
That speaks to a big issue…we find one gay person, then we act as that one person speaks for every gay person. Or that one Asian person speaks for every Asian person, or Hispanic person speaks for every Hispanic person. That goes to show that we have a very limited view of culture. I hate when people bring up that “one black friend” that they have, that thinks how they think. Of course, y’all are friends because you have that thing in common. People usually navigate toward people who have the same views as them culturally. So just because you have that one friend who’s okay with you using the “N-Word” around them, doesn’t mean I’m okay with that. Just because you have a black friend that’s okay with you dressing up in blackface. It doesn’t mean, I’m okay with that.
We’re a culture of people. The big question is, I’ve seen people literally say, it’s generally not okay to say the “N-Word” if you’re white or outside of the black community. But I’ve had people find the one black person they can find and say, “This guy says it’s okay.” So, therefore, it’s okay. Why wouldn’t you use the rule of thumb to say, “We don’t want you to say this around us.” I think that’s just our desire to be right rather than our desire to love.
Right now in Conservative circles, that “one person” is Kanye West and Candace Owens.
The thing is, people like Kanye, Candace, Ben Carson – they’re black too! I know black people that feel like Candace and Kanye. You also have to think too, “black” is not a real thing. That is a social construct that was created. If you go to the rest of the word, I wanna say Israel. There’s not black, there’s Guyanese, Nigerian, Egyptian, Congolese, you have that. The idea of boiling everyone down to black and white is horrible because America is created on a racial caste system. That means the lighter you are, the better you’re treated, the darker you are, the worse you’re treated. That was created during slavery.
The reason why we had this whole idea of black and white is because there were white slaves. To be able to give the white slaves a leg up – these people are white and slaves, but they’re not property. They are made in the image of God. Culturally, America gave white slaves humanity, even though they were poor. They took humanity away from black people and said, they’re not even human at all. They are animals, they are the equivalent of a dog, a horse, they are property that we own and breed for our own likes.
When you look at this whole idea of black and white, it’s crazy. We’re a diverse group of people, and culturally, there are people who are black or dark-skinned who line up with a Candace, with a Kanye. There’s also black people who don’t and the whole gamut in between. I think for people, we have to do a better job at looking at the culture as opposed to skin color.
I feel like America is the only place where someone asks you what you are, you are something other than American. For everyone that is so prideful to be American. What are you? I’m Italian, Dominican, Cuban, whatever. In America, you could have been here for 200 years and you’re still German.
When I was in Israel, the Jewish Israeli and the Muslim Israeli, was Israeli. Everyone is Israeli. There’s a wide gamut there. I was born in Israel, I’m Israeli. We created this thing based off of looks and the reason why we do that to this day is because that’s the social status situation.
Me telling you, “Yeah, I’m a Dutch dude, my history, my pedigree, like I’m proud of being an immigrant in America.” Like I said, America was built on a racial caste system which is the darker you are, the worse off it is for you. The lighter you are, the better off it is for you and everything.