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On the buses - John C. Kirk

Dec. 22nd, 2005

12:58 am - On the buses

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A slightly odd thing happened when I was on the bus this evening. Following the example of "Quantum and Woody" (a comic which I know some of you have read), I'll use "noogie" as a substitute for another (offensive) word that starts with "n".

So, as I say, I was on the bus, and then lots of people got off at a particular stop. The bus tends to empty out there, so I'm often the only passenger left who goes on as far as the railway station. There were a group of young guys behind me (probably aged about 18), mostly black, but there was one white guy with his hair in braids. As they went past, the white guy punched me (lightly) in the arm, and said "This is the last stop, noogie". I knew it wasn't, and assumed that he was deliberately trying to annoy me (I do encounter idiots like that every so often), so I just gave him a cold look, and didn't say anything. However, on reflection, I wonder whether he was actually trying to be friendly.

Arguments in favour of "foe":
* He punched me.
* He gave misinformation.
* He used a term that's bordering on illegal.

Arguments in favour of "friend":
* He didn't hurt me, so it may just have been a way to get my attention.
* He may have believed that his information was correct.
* Since I'm clearly not black, it would be a rather bizarre insult (and probably dangerous for him with the company he kept), so "noogie" may just have been the equivalent of "bruv"/"mate"/"comrade".

Thus, it's poll-time again:

Friend or foe?

Friend
5(83.3%)
Foe
1(16.7%)


I guess I have a few things to learn about "keepin' it real" etc...

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Comments:

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From:aca
Date:December 22nd, 2005 09:03 am (UTC)
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I'd go for tosser. Not really either, just an annoyance.
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From:bazzalisk
Date:December 22nd, 2005 10:20 am (UTC)
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Clearly an idiot, but that word has become used as a common term by the poor urban black community, and as a result by the poor urban in general more and more - it's not supposed to be an insult, any more than gay people consider "queer" to be an insult these days.

As with everything, *how* you say it makes more of a difference than *what* you say - still not a word I'd use though.
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From:johnckirk
Date:December 22nd, 2005 10:31 am (UTC)
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I liked the comment I heard about this a while back. Paraphrased from memory: "Speaking as a black man, if *anyone* used that word to refer to me then he'd be spitting teeth afterwards. Unless of course he was bigger than me, in which case I'd just pretend I hadn't heard him."

I do know what you mean, although it still seems a bit weird for two white guys to refer to each other that way. If you haven't read the "Quantum and Woody" story that I mentioned, then you'd probably find it interesting, since there's a discussion about the relative merits.
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From:shuripentu
Date:December 22nd, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
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I voted "friend" since there wasn't an option for "well-meaning but probably very inebriated".
I have been told that some black youth nowadays use "nigger" as a term of affection among themselves, since taking an insulting term and making it your own means it stings a little less when it's next hurled at you. I don't know how reliable this information is, but it sounds reasonable to me.
Of course, it's still not generally okay for a non-black person to call a black person a "nigger", but this guy sounds like he was one of the gang and his use of the term would probably have been fine by his friends.
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