First of all, I’d like to apologize for that title if you’re dyslexic or have dyslexic tendencies, but I can explain myself… maybe. I can at least try to take an extremely long detour to distract you…
(This entry contains the use of language. If you are offended by language you may skip straight to the video.)
So a friend and I were noticing how some folks on the internet seem to constantly be up in arms about something. If they don’t like something they won’t go elsewhere, but instead they’ll stay where they are and will let everyone know how outraged they are by something they saw, something they took personally, or something that offended them, not hoping, but expecting that it should/will change/go away because of their humble opinion. Sometimes people even go out of their way to share what an awful thing they saw so that others should know to avoid this awful thing, and can also take the effort to chastise it at their own whimsy. The irony should be coming into focus right about now, but sometimes videos, pictures, or articles may go ‘viral’ due to the sheer controversial nature of the subject matter, or something that is so unbelievable/shocking that it warrants the preface, “you gotta see this!”
One such subject that seems to throw people up in arms is racial stuff. I say ‘racial stuff’ because one can be racially focused without being racist, however it often comes across as racist because, well, if our race-o-meters were to be compared to a light switch, there tends to just be an “on” and “off” in the public eye — there’s no sliding dimmer switch.
Racism is strange not as a thing itself, but because everyone will pretty much agree it’s a bad thing, but in reality it’s not bad for everyone. For example, if someone is treated poorly due to their race, that means by default someone else is privileged due to their race. What I find strange is all the double standards that are created by race. For example, some black people may refer to each other as “niggers,” “niggas,” or “my niggas.” This may be offensive to many given the history of the term, however if, let’s say, a white person was to address those same black people as “my niggas,” to put it lightly, that white person may experience some backlash. This is what I find strange. Would the group of black people calling themselves “niggas” essentially be dubbing it as a privileged term, and thus privileging themselves as the only people worthy of using the term? It’s an interesting dynamic. There’s a bit of a (for the lack of a better phrase) power struggle that arises from the use of a word in such a way.
Now, I don’t believe that the use of racial ‘slurs’ are used in a serious setting, like a court room, but are used in comfortable settings and used with a degree of humor. Humor not as in joking 100% of the time, but humor as in a rhetorical mode that allows for more open discussion due to an mutual understanding of little to no consequence. I just made that definition up on the spot, but at least until I change my mind, I stand by it. So please allow me to continue to use humor in this post in the utmost rhetorical sense, as a device to convey a point which would be better expressed and understood if we reserved our apprehensions and judgments for the sake of the humor. As some in improv might say, “just go with it.” Humor is personal, but I’m not sure if that is widely understood. You can learn a lot about someone through a humor-based approach to the ‘getting-to-know-you-game.’ (this may be another article for another time, but allow me to continue)
For example, if two Asian people how are good friend are referring to each other as “gooks” and “chinks” and seem to be getting along just fine, it is most likely because they know each other, or at least have reached the point of understanding that such terms will have little to no consequence on their relationship/association with one another. However, if a complete stranger, no matter the race, struck up a conversation with these same people and started referring to them casually as “gooks” and “chinks,” there would certainly be an elevated level of anger present quickly thereafter. A mutual level of understanding was not reached in this scenario, ie: humor was not obtained.
Okay. If you’re still with me here through this long meandering and poorly conceived draft that I’ve allowed my standards to dip to to deem as ‘good enough to post,’ let’s take the aspect of racial stuff to another stage, specifically the comedic stage.
Let’s use Kevin Hart for example. Pretty much everyone loves Kevin Hart. He’s energetic, hard working, quick-witted, and can be quite funny. Kevin Hart doesn’t base all of his humor on racial stuff, but there are certainly racial elements to his routines. He may casually drop the N-word (nigga) here or there as he may do with his friends in conversation, and most of us audience members understand given the context of the routine, and regardless of our race we may laugh along (given the joke is funny as well). So we all find it funny and are all comfortable with it, so we laugh.
However let’s say now you want to share whatever joke that was with a few people you just met at a party. There’s a few things that could happen. One is that you say the joke and everyone is offended. Another is you don’t say the joke, or try to sugar-coat it because you assume everyone will be offended. Another is you say the joke and those listening find it funny, but they don’t know you well enough and don’t want to make it seem like they enjoy laughing at unsolicited racial stuffs, and even though everyone would find it funny, you now look like the bad guy. I believe the term for that is insecurity (not from you, but from the other people).
This is where I might talk about something along the lines of “be yourself,” and “those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter,” and other popular quotes/cliches you may have found on wordtumblr, pinstagram, and other things of the sort.
So getting back to the title of this article, “Digger Nick.” A friend and I enjoy the satire and humor of the long-running hit Comedy Central show “South Park,” and wanted to make something similar. We were having a stupid conversation one day (where we just turn the intellect down a few notches, or off, for some sophomoric giggles) and the dyslexism of “digger nick” slipped out of my mouth. The lack of capitalization should help you reach the finish line on that one if you’re still catching up there. We knew if we were to introduce this humor it would be near impossible to get everyone on a comfortable level to make it funny, and ultimately decided that it would be even funnier if we did not. The only road block we figured we’d have to circumvent is being racist or offensive, and what better way to do so than making an innocent children’s show to illustrate our point. We imagined the scenario of a parent and their child watching our new children’s show together. An innocent child would not find the phrase or subject matter of “digger Nick” offensive, and thus if the parent did, it would be because they are not innocent. We are not being racial — they are. There isn’t even anything racial in the entire show, however a viewer might see it differently and get offended due to their prior knowledge of racial stuff.
Because we have been shown the ‘dirtier underbelly’ of the racial stuff, and we have learned what the bad things are (so we can avoid them, of course), that is what has given us the ability to dislike, hate, and feel uncomfortable. There’s no way to un-experience something and regain innocence, unless you get a severe case of memory loss (which would totally not be worth it (but it’s okay, you won’t know the difference when it happens)), but we try our best to dance around the potential issues surrounding racial stuff, and that is what I think the problem is. Everyone has a race, and thus everyone has a certain threshold of racial stuff they find, or have grown to find comfortable. If you go around being straight-up racist to everyone you see, then at least they’ll know to avoid you because that’s just who you are (unless maybe they’ll want to be your bff). One of the big issues surrounding racial stuff and racism, in my opinion, is when people are not aware of their own racial tendencies, or pretend they are not at least a bit racist. That’s when things get out of hand. It may be uncomfortable to admit if you are a bit racist, or maybe you don’t even know, but if we took a humorous approach and just assumed that everyone we speak to is racist then we’d at least be a lot more genuine, and ironically, more accepting. If I knew everyone was racist, including myself, then I would be ignorant in chastising others, or getting worked up about racial stuff. There are legitimate and illegitimate reasons for stereotypes existing, which is what most racial stuff is based off of, and they aren’t intrinsically funny or offensive until you view it with a racial opinion… but why not take a humorous approach?
ANYWAY: Well that turned out to be a lot longer than expected. I just wanted to explain why I made a video called Digger Nick… it’s actually a concise little story. And it rhymes!