I Have No Words / Pop Culture / Random Thoughts from an Uppity Negro / The Color Line

I Have No Words…Girl with Tourettes Syndrome Displays Blatant Prejudice

This is a feature I’ve kept up everytime something in the news surfaces that just has NO apparent explanation and just totally stops me in my tracks.  One was Pat Buchanan’s explanation that blacks should be thankful for slavery because it brought us to the wonderfulness that is the effing country.  **rolls eyes**

But this morning, my friend sent me this YouTube clip and it stopped me in my tracks.  I want you to watch the whole clip, and then continue reading.

I mean, are you friggin’ serious.

“I’m not a racist.  NIGGER!”

Well ya HAD to have learned the word from somewhere!?!?!?  And based on mom’s explanation, I guess we’re to believe that the idea of “NIGGER” is what pops in her head when she’s sees a black person because apparently that filter between mind and mouth is non-existent.

So, I guess I do have “words” on this one and I’m ready to go ballistic.

Actually, it’s almost serendipitous because last night at our youth group we some how got onto finger gestures and of course being the stupid black person in the room, I took it to the next level and did my best impression of random black folk thinking they look hard or thuggish or dare I say gangsta.  That gave room for white kids in the room to show that they know gang signs and of course, they threw up the infamous “Blood” with their hands.   To which one of the kids looked at me, laughed and said “Look, I can be black too!”

Yes, she went there.

So, I said quickly, do I want to go there with her, do I want to sew my quilt or put down my shuttle and go there with her.  I merely took a break from sewing and asked her “So, being in a gang is associated with being black?”  She looked around, clearly a bit stunned that I called her out on it, and she answered truthfully, “Yes.” 

I told her I was going to talk with her later, and you best cool believe that I’m bringing it up again.

[Editor’s Note:  I did the picture search for this section after I was done writing this whole article, and I noticed that on a Google search of “Blood gang” not ONE single picture showed up with someone of my skin color throwing up the sign, just the white folk–now you tell me who’s really obsessed with gang life?]

So, is this what white folk really believe about black folk–about me? 

Gangs, I mean should I go down the list and really say that street gang life as we know it is really the copy-cat version.  For anyone that watched the Laurence Fishburne movie “Hoodlum” [yes, it's in Italian, which proves my point, but it's the best I can find] the biography of Bumpy Johnson, or even the Denzel Washington movie “American Gangster” these were both real-life biographies of blacks who were trying to do EXACTLY what their Italian counterparts in the Mob had been doing with impunity for quite sometime–which was take care of their own when it seemed the powers that be didn’t give two craps about their existence.

Or one need to pay attention to the movie “Gangs of New York” clearly this was before the black street gangs began to terrorize their own.  Or even, the Ku Klux Klan falls into that same category of terrorizing citizens, but the face of gangs in this country is undoubtedly one of color.

So, the question is what was implanted in both of these young girls mind that associates all that is the word “nigger” with black folk or even gang life with blacks.  Yes, media has done a very good job for this.  Out here in Washington, the Postis doing a friggin 12-part series on Chandra Levy, the intern who was found dead back in 2001, and clearly there is no push to find the people that have been murdered in the Trinidad neighborhood and that’s just since I’ve been here this summer!  There is the clear association that this type of killing is normative (although there is an argument for that) in the gang life versus that of a white woman, who’s life is clearly of more value.

In the case of the young girl with Tourette’s Syndrome, clearly, someone who’s had some level of influence in her life has made the connection of “nigger” and black skin, ergo black folks.  And even more pointedly in her case, why is it that she only blurts out the inappropriate things?  Is the Tourette’s trigger only kick in when a person without this gene would not say something?  That is to say, normally, this girl wouldn’t say “nigger” if I walked by her, but only because she thought it, it comes out? 

I don’t know.

Whatever the case, the mum needs to do better to teach her kid about black folk, and my other friend asked why did the black lady just stand there and laugh. 

I don’t know, do you?

I’d REALLY love to hear your thoughts on this one.  Hopefully for those that read my blog about the “quilt sewers” will be happy with my response to this one young girl.  Or maybe not.  Do you think my response was appropriate?  Should I have said more or less?

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

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28 thoughts on “I Have No Words…Girl with Tourettes Syndrome Displays Blatant Prejudice

  1. @ Uppity
    I’m glad you called her on her foolishness. The audacity, I tell ya!!! What kind of people are you around during this internship? Are they even from this planet? Because the ignorant ish you have been sharing with us is absolutely absurd. But anywho…you told the girl that you would speak with her later…Did you, and if so, what was her response?

    I think your response was appropriate for the setting. If you really broke it down to her then and there, you probably would have made her cry…and that’s not a good look. But I would have said a little bit more, just to get her shook for pure GP.

  2. @talented tenth

    I’m around ignorant people. These are the I’m-not-racist-I-have-black-friends type of people.

    I mean, this girl spoke out of sheer ignorance. If I were to put myself in her position, even as someone with skin color, I would no longer be “intentionally black” but rather someone who was born–and happened to be black. Growing up out here in the DC burbs of Montgomery County, MD, I’d prolly think the same thing as she did.

    I can’t fault her for that. What I can fault her with is if she has the opportunity to learn more and she doesn’t.

    I haven’t talked to her yet, but the next itme I see her I DEFINITELY will bring it up.

  3. I think you handled this well. I think talking to her about it privately is likely to change her more. You’ll know more when you she how she responds to you talking to her. As you say, all of us are ignorant of the stuff we don’t know; the question is whether you are willfully ignorant by refusing to learn when given the chance.

    Re Tourette’s, I’ve heard that the character of it is that you say inappropriate things. As to how someone would have learned the n-word, uh do you know anyone who hasn’t learned it? Kids pick up cultural information about racial hierarchies and enact it on preschool playgrounds even when their parents and teachers are racially aware folks who are trying to either protect their kids from the culture or teach counter to it.

  4. Agree with Olderwoman re: Tourette’s – thx for the wise insight.

    I myself suffer from the related syndrome of echolia (repeating words/phrases heard); God forbid that you listen to me while watching Hannity (gotta keep your eye on the cretins <; })

    I gently suggest – cliche, I know – a little compassion, education and forbearance is in order.

    Re: the signin’ knucklheads – I have to commend you on your enlightened response.

    Love your site, and keep on keepin’ on.

  5. Tourette’s girl was also giving the finger during the beginning of the clip, she gets this behaviour from home.

    Don’t mean to come off as pedantic, but reason and knowledge matters…

    Inappropriate gestures can also be part of the syndrome; if I am correct in reading the first clause as a premise, and the second clause as a logical conclusion, it seems that you are making a pointillistic argument whose “conclusion” is really an unsubstantiated assertion.

    If this is not clear, consider this question: Is it possible for a person come from a picture-perfect home *and* know the word nigger, *and* know that is an unacceptable word? (see “olderwoman post above”) If you answer yes, you have undercut your “argument.” If you answer no, be aware your belief is not supported by neuroscience.

    [Did you know there are aphasic patients with damage to speech areas that cannot speak anything but cursewords? Hope that piques your curiosity <; } Oliver Sachs documents such case(s?) in at least one of his books.]

    Please, please, please start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome.

    Btw, I was motivated to respond for three reasons:

    One, as a Black man living in the US, I sometimes tell white friends, when other Blacks say or do something that they do not understand, to educate themselves on what it sometimes means to be Black in this country (and others, I know…) before prematurely coming to a conclusion about motivations and causes of the act. (Rev. Wright anyone? <; } ). By analogy, I think it’s fair to encourage everyone to do the same when it comes to this girl with TS.

    Two, I believe that we are living in an increasingly Balkanized and intolerant society, which at times is fueled – tragically, in my opinion – by reflexive attitudes of those that have felt the sting of ignorance of greater society to *our* plight. I.e, many of us would know(act) better if only we took our own experience of the effects of ignorance, and apply them when judging others.

    Please remember: your “-ism” isn’t the only “-ism.” (Geraldine Ferraro, Steinham, are you listening? <; } )

    And third, I’m taking a mental health break from my all-white conservative leaning work place today. Got on my last nerve… <; }

    Of course, your belief could have some truth in it. However, it is probably not the whole story, and is not supported by the “premise.”

    Everyone – lets all be careful about premature subvehicularization. We won’t make it out of this century if we don’t *all* step up our game in this respect.

    I respect you.

  6. Oops -I got cute with XML tag; engine apparently removed my “snip” tag.

    The first line of the above post is a quote from a previous poster, and NOT my opinion.

    If you blew off my post above post because everything else I said contradicts the first sentence, please re-read/consider.

    thx and apols!

  7. @red_not_yella (the first one, so it’s really not you)

    I understand your question–however, I think the point still remains that I just think it’s interesting that the connection between the word nigger and black people have been made.

    And from a strictly scientific point, I’m highly interested to know what neuro (neural ?) damage takes place that would affect the “filter” part of one’s brain that would make them only say inappropriate things.

    Saying all of this to say, does it not make you wonder what all that it is that we as humans absorb from our daily lives that we ultimately filter, but those who don’t have that ability no longer filter.

    Additionally, it just seemed to me (and of course, this was just one snippet and not nearly the whole story) that she just loved that word nigger a lot more than the other words. But again, that could have just been directorial license knowing that it’d be more controversial to play nigger fifty million times as opposed to the f-word.

  8. weird – i tried to post a reply, but perhaps it was too long?

    anxious to reply in full,
    please advise

  9. Hey, thanks for your response!

    Pre-amble:

    My concerns in my referenced post were primarily focused on what I believe to be a probably well intentioned, but
    nevertheless non-sequitor presented by a poster, and the societal implications of such non-sequitors. (Sorry, hopelessly INTJ <; })

    I am constitutionally wary of attributing indoctrination to single causes, like familial influence. For instance, I never heard nigger in my (Black) family, but I soon learned who it applied to after moving to a majority white neighborhood and school district. I never learned the phrase “ignorant cracker” either until then. <; }

    So I’m not so quick to simply “blame the parents” – I think it is not easy without actually knowing more about the
    family – knowledge of things that cannot be gleaned from a Youtube vid, to make a strong case that the parents are
    to blame. Sure, I think it is a safe bet that there is some racism in the family, but *I* think that it is a safe bet because I believe that the great majority of whites have been infected, to varying degrees, by the influence of
    white supremecy, cultural ignorance (sometimes willful…), character flaws endemic in all human beings, and the
    usual littany of human psychological defense mechanisms. BTW, I feel the same about sexism in relation to men.

    (You have to actively unlearn this shit)

    end part one

  10. Now…

    Re: “[...] think the point still remains that I just think it’s interesting that the connection between the word nigger and black people have been made.”

    As an uppity 43 year old Black man living in the Midwest, in one of its more narrow-minded, segregated cities, working in an otherwise all-white work environment, working in a white male dominated career (software development, I no longer find it “interesting.” <; } [I know you didn't mean "interesting" in the literal sense...<; }]

    YOUR observation is valid and IMPORTANT. <; } I will go further and posit that – gasp – societal influences teach racism – parents, or no parents. Racism infects our society (US) and judging from my reading and contacts, other societies as well. [Don't want to be presumptious, or appear as if I am bullying you into a postion, but from reading your blog, I think I could safely wager that you agree.]

    end part 2

  11. Re: “And from a strictly scientific point, I’m highly interested to know what neuro (neural ?) damage takes place

    that would affect the “filter” part of one’s brain that would make them only say inappropriate things.”

    I am not a neuroscientist, but I believe Broca’s Aphasia is the disorder I was speaking of in my prior post. See:
    http://braincampus.learnpsychology.com/npsych/aphasia.html. Additionally, the Wikipedia article on TS can point you in the right direction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome#Causes.

    Also, it seems that angular gyrus is implicated in speech acts.
    W.r.t damage per se, strokes, brain surgery, and other injuries can disrupt the function of these areas, IIRC.

    As an aside, google “nMRI racism” and “nMRI conservates.” Now I know a bunch of people will be tempted to scream
    that the conclusions drawn by some researchers are specious, and that nMRI just measures oxegenation (sp?), not neural activity, and I have to agree. Needless to say, we see *something* going on. <; } (Epiphenomana anyone?? <; } )
    end part 3

  12. RE: “Saying all of this to say, does it not make you wonder what all that it is that we as humans absorb from our daily lives that we ultimately filter, but those who don’t have that ability no longer filter.”

    - Call me a jaded old man, misanthrope, materialist, or whatever, but that the mind is constantly (even as you read this) aggregating and filtering information from various parts of the brain, other than the cerebral cortex – parts of the brain that that have to do with the for F’s – feeding, fighting, flight, mating, as well as other parts not associated with high-level thought.

    Have you read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? It is dedicated to ruminating over the very question you ask. Great book!
    —————–
    Re: Directorial license – can’t discount your hypothesis!

    Look forward to corresponding more,
    thx for helping me think and learn!

    I respect you.
    end of transmission <; }

  13. The technical term is coprolalia.

    Coprolalia is an occasional characteristic of Tourette syndrome, although it is not required for a diagnosis of Tourette’s. In Tourette syndrome, compulsive swearing can be uncontrollable and undesired by the person uttering the phrases. Involuntary outbursts, such as racial or ethnic slurs in the company of those most offended by such remarks, can be particularly embarrassing. The phrases uttered by a person with coprolalia do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of the person.

    People with this condition truly can’t help it and are often embarrassed and ashamed. In addition to the N-word they also may utter fag, lesbian, mother- fu–er, slut, spic, and any other socially unacceptable word you can think of.

    I’m sorry you are offended but I can assure you that people with Tourettes and/or coprolalia did not get the disorder from bad parenting. It is a true medical condition.

    I should know, my daughter has it.

    Just as you expect tolerance from others you should also be tolerant. Those with Tourettes want to be accepted just as much as you do.

    Here is a story about a man with coprolalia:

    http://www.sptimes.com/2004/08/01/Floridian/Finding_harmony_in_di.shtml

  14. clearly she is not racist, a quick google search will tell you she first heard the n word on a rap song by the artist eve. she knows that dropping the n bomb in public around a black person is the worst possible thing to say and thats why she does it. just like yelling bomb in an air port or saying fatty around a fat person she cant help it. just cause you know big words and can form gramatically correct scentences doesnt mean you can justify calling her a racist. i think its hilarious though that she heard the nbomb from a black rapper though, figures.

  15. i really dont understand how you can write a big opinion paper like this without doing 2 min of google research about the topic. i mean common, and you say you were at youthgroup the other night. doesnt the bible say “judge not, lest ye be judged” . i was born and raised in the church and judgemental christians like you are the reason i dont believe anymore

  16. @craig

    the Bible says a lotta things.

    You’re not a Christian….meh, that’s not new. If I was supposed to feel sorry for you because you’re no longer a Christian you picked the wrong blog.

    I’m guessing your a first time reader. If you read some of my other posts, such as the one I posted today you’d see my own struggles with traditional forms of Christianity.

  17. pity was the last thing i was looking for. i was merely pointing out that you are judging a person you don’t know who has a disease you know nothing about which you saw on a 3 min youtube video.

  18. “I did the picture search for this section after I was done writing this whole article, and I noticed that on a Google search of “Blood gang” not ONE single picture showed up with someone of my skin color throwing up the sign, just the white folk–now you tell me who’s really obsessed with gang life?”

    anyone reading this blog, please kindly open another tab, go to google image search and type in blood gang. i dont want to call you a lier, but when i search this all i get is people with your skin color

  19. perhaps your filter settings are different than mine cause a google image search of “Blood gang” doesnt show the pic you used until page 6

  20. @craig

    Since Google hits have the ability to change day to day depending on their popularity, I would point out that such a search in late July must have produced such results. The picture I used appeared on page four of the Google image search I just did and it wasn’t even a reference back to this page, but to another. Also, by page two there was evidence of white folk being associated with Bloods.

    Also, are you not judging me about an alleged judging of the young girl with Tourettes.

    In the case of the young girl with Tourette’s Syndrome, clearly, someone who’s had some level of influence in her life has made the connection of “nigger” and black skin, ergo black folks. And even more pointedly in her case, why is it that she only blurts out the inappropriate things? Is the Tourette’s trigger only kick in when a person without this gene would not say something? That is to say, normally, this girl wouldn’t say “nigger” if I walked by her, but only because she thought it, it comes out?

    I don’t know.

    I made a proposition and didn’t come to any conclusions.

  21. “I noticed that on a Google search of “Blood gang” not ONE single picture showed up with someone of my skin color throwing up the sign, just the white folk–now you tell me who’s really obsessed with gang life?”

    “I would point out that such a search in late July must have produced such results. The picture I used appeared on page four of the Google image search I just did and it wasn’t even a reference back to this page, but to another. Also, by page two there was evidence of white folk being associated with Bloods.”

    common man, first u say not a single black person, now its on page 4???

  22. @craig

    Alright, you’re making no sense right now.

    I said a search that I did, which would have been yesterday, produced the picture I used in the post on page four. Re read what I wrote.

    Above all this topic is dead. I wrote on it in July.

  23. This topic is dead? Is that what you say when people don’t agree with your opinion and you have no option left but to admit you might have been wrong? There are more black people in a GIS of Blood Gangs than white people. Accept it. That’s media for you. Sure it doesn’t help your argument, but that doesn’t change fact.

    Also, that girl has a disease. She can’t control what she says. Sure its wrong, but its not racist. She doesn’t believe what she says, she just can’t control it. She said so her self in the video that she knows it’s wrong, she feels really bad about it and she wishes she could stop. Lets believe she is telling the truth and just feel her pain instead of yours.

  24. @greg

    This topic is dead because of people not reading what I wrote.

    For the LAST time I’m commenting on this piece:

    1) I never said she was racist, nor implied it. I said she displayed prejudiced.

    2) I never said it was more whites who were Bloods. I made the implication that whites were as equally obssessed with gang life as blacks.

    3) I stated my opinion as I saw it, and then I posed questions. Those from the medical community have posted comments.

    4) It’s my blog. Just like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity don’t let people get a word in edgewise, this is MY opinion and I’m beholden to no one. I say what I say unashamedly and unapologetically.

  25. I think that youn are all being dumb! you can learn NIGGER from many different sources. like music and even other blacks! wow that just proves how ignorant you truly are!

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