November 14, 2009

Gookstaz, Chinx, and assorted tales.

Okay stop looking at me like that for one thing. There's a point. The next, well, I managed to pull myself out depression & NaNoWriMo writing long enough to check my email. Frankly I think I'm actually starting to believe my own random ass ramblings and when that happens it's clearly time for a break.

Ah, so anyhow, in my email was letter from my home skillet fry pan Minority Militant asking for my thoughts on a post. I put on my D.R.O.P Squad jacket and went over to see.

And so: Adopting Ideas From Gangsta Rap Pioneers. I attempted to leave a simple comment but there's already a lively conversation going on with the thread anyway, and I had a few thoughts that I wasn't sure were on topic. Not to mention NaNoWriMo has taken over my brain so I must pad my word count EVERYWHERE. So with TMM's permission I'll talk about it here.

But first let me give you the gist. We're talking about rap artists here, Chinx and Gookstaz. Okay obviously this is "chinks" and "gooks" we're talking about, two derogatory words for Asians. These artists so happen to be using them, much like black folks use nigga, for empowerment.

Also like nigga, you'll have people that absolutely balk, BALK at the thought of trying to reclaim derogatory phrases. You get the gist. Minority groups often have awful labels assigned to them to define them by the dominant culture/class--n-gger, f-g, ch-nk, k-ke, we can unfortunately go on and on and study it until verily our eyes bleed. And they will bleed.

Without getting into a lot of theory I do think the oppressed have the right to define their own language and who uses it. This is why I'm not extremely bothered by "nigga" anymore even if I don't want to run headlong and embrace it, same with fag or dyke there a term for Atheists? No?

I get ahead of myself. Back to Chinx & Gookstaz and TMM's post. He goes on:

Now for people like Chinx and Gookstaz, they see it as empowerment, the same way Black folks still call each other "niggaz" to show affection.

Pause. I kinda disagree with the notion that "niggas" is for affection, or it may just be me & my hood. It's either empowerment or policing black behavior, BY other black folks. Of course it is used to show a certain bond/solidarity sometimes though, sooo carry on:

Even though we've come this far in race relations, you have to ask yourself why they are doing this before you knock on them. It's apparent to me that not all -- including ignorant intellects and the goons that still hang from their nuts -- people know what it's like to be in an Asian man's shoes.

Oh yes.

I already jumped ship from the progressive boat two years ago, and I refuse to be a part of an ideology that is headed -- not there yet -- toward censorship.


It's about fucking time we took back our image from mainstream America. To quote Gookstaz,"The name stays till we flipped another chapter." I'm right behind you.

And agreed, with some thoughts. Seeing Chinx explain his name put me at ease: he has a reason, a philosophical reason. Gookstaz I'm not really convinced and I'm wondering if he's just going for shock value. My tolerance ends when you're using an ugly word for exploitative purposes--I'm all for artistic expression WITH. A. POINT. Even if it's not a super deep one, but meaningful.

Now...usually when we balk at minority groups using slurs against themselves, we say why would you perpetuate such an ugly word? We don't want to reclaim it. But to me, this is what a chink/nigga/goon looks like--you do flip the image on its head. Sometimes, if people are willing to get past the "lol omg chinks!" and a lot of times they aren't. Then they get it in their heads that, omg I can say chink to my Asian friends now and we start a vicious cycle again.

So, the reason I wrote this extensive post is because A) I wanted my own voice because by the time I got in the convo a lot of folks had swallowed me thoughts; and B) I'm not really sure where I stand with this sometimes. I'm fine with reclamation/depowering words but I have to wonder, yeah you have your reasons but does it work? I'm entirely too concerned with the outcomes I suppose. Do we create a double standard this way? I'm not sure. I don't want to pick & choose the instances I'm comfortable with it/"understand where they're coming from" since I'm in that place too. I've talked about reclamation and all that before and it never gets any easier to go back out and explain. It changes. that was my comment, basically, and how I feel; I think I may come back when I'm more coherent and not re-reading John Donne sonnets later in the day, I just wanted to get that out before I forgot or something.

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