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Can The Nerd And The Nigga Coexist?

1706 words - 7 pages

In Daniel Beaty’s conversational poem Duality Duel: The Nerd vs the Nigga, he explains the battle being fought between the nerd and the nigga by speaking as both the nerd and the nigga. The battle is being fought within many African Americans. Many believe that there is no place in the elite society for the nigga, so they abandon the nigga within themselves and embrace the nerd or the image that seems “proper” to the behavior and image of the upper class or elite society. The battle between the nerd and the nigga is in serious need of a resolution. The battle may not be able to be won by one side, therefore the question is can the nerd and the nigga coexist?
What is a nerd? What is a nigga? Before the question can the nerd and nigga coexist can be answered the nerd and the nigga must be defined. According to dictionary.com a nerd is an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit (“Nerd”). What is a nigga? The legendary Smokey Robinson once said “I think it’s a shame that every few years black people get a change of name,” but nigga was one of the earliest names, probably the first name after black or African (Robinson). Back in slavery days the slave masters use to call the slave “niggers,” the term “nigga” is just the slang version of the word nigger. Today the word is only respectfully used by black to other black people. The use of the word by the white race is thought of as being highly disrespectful. Early 1990’s “gangsta” rap artist revived or more so reclaimed the word in their music (“N-Word’). Today black people use the word as form of affection or endearment. It’s common to go out and hear a black person greet another black person by saying, “What’s up nigga,” and their goodbyes will more than likely go something like “Peace out my nigga,” or “See you later nigga.” In-between the hello and goodbye the word nigga is thrown around a few times in their regular conversation. But what really is a nigga? Sure it is a common classification of a black person by a black person but what makes black people niggas? The nigga of the black man and woman is our core. It is the core of the person, the core of the culture. It is their stories, stories that only we can relate to, it’s the way we speak, our handshakes, our music, our happiness, our anger. The nigga in African Americans is the history of our ancestors; the slaves that were beaten and worked to death. Our strength, our very being lies in the nigga within us.
So now that the nerd and a nigga have been defined, the question is asked again, can the nerd and the nigga coexist? The nigga in Beaty’s poem replies to this question by saying “they gon’ have to nerd,” and the nerd replies “but nigga it doesn’t make sense” (Beaty). But the answer to the initial question is yes and contrary to what the nerd says, it does make sense. The sense lies in the truth and revelation. The nerd and the nigga can coexist only if African Americans will stop hiding the nigga...

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