Law prof. who specializes in 'Nigga Theory' says former NFL player is 'coonin'
A University of Southern California law professor whose specialty is “Nigga Theory” recently accused a former football player of “coonin” on Twitter.
Jody David Armour, the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at USC, tweeted a racial epithet towards two-time Super Bowl champion Dexter Manley, referring to the former Washington Redskins defensive end as a “coon” because Manley made a callous joke about African-Americans being “used to running from the law” on a WUSA-TV sports program.
“Dexter Manley coonin’: Watch Stunned Reactions of Uncomfortable Local CBS Anchors After Former NFL…,” Armour tweeted.
Armour’s academic focus is “Nigga Theory,” on which he lectures extensively within the legal community and has outlined in a series of books that includes titles like "Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America" and "Nigger Lover: Luck, Law, and Language in the Social Construction of Niggas."
“Nigga Theory” is the principle of using words like n——r or n—-a so long as they are being used for black empowerment through "redescription," as explained in Armour’s academic case study on the topic. Armour credits his “Nigga Theory” to comedian Chris Rock for his 1996 Bring the Pain stand-up, in which Rock expounds upon the difference between blacks and “niggas.”
The law professor has also advanced the notion that the n-word partly originated from gangsta rappers like Tupac and Jay-Z.
In his case study on the theory, Armour uses the example of depraved-heart murder—actions taken despite the actor’s knowledge that they carry a high risk of causing death or serious injury to another person—to explain that he uses “nigga” to mean “a depraved or indifferent black heart,” adding that he hopes the "redescription" will serve as “an urgent political call to bond with and support black-hearted wrongdoers.”
“I use these jagged epithets here as part of a metaphoric description, in racial terms, of the criminal law’s ancient subjective culpability or mens rea requirement,” Armour writes. “The word ‘nigga’ is a metaphor for black wickedness, black mens rea, which I use to probe the intersection of morality, race, and class in matters of blame and punishment and politics.”
Using the “Good Negro Theory,” he says, students can come to understand the dynamics between “law-abiding blacks” and “bad niggas,” helping them to see the distinction between the two groups and promote “solidarity between law-abiders and law-breakers regardless of race.”
Furthermore, Professor Armour encourages profane language like the n-word to be used in his profession because “Nigga-Talk” conveys a standard of morality that traditional law vocabulary cannot in a legal setting, because terms such as personal responsibility, subjective culpability, and moral agency “require” him to view his closest friends and family as “wicked and irresponsible.”
The exclusion of “nigga-talking” is a way of ignoring disadvantaged blacks, supports anti-black bias, and blocks communication between “niggas” and blacks thanks to mass incarceration and draconian punishment, he elaborates.
Although “nigga-talking” can symbolize a healthy relationship between blacks, “niggas,” and lawyers in Armour’s view, he also says it is reserved exclusively for those with a “ certain social identity,” explaining that “the n-word is a very cultural resource, a lot of people would like to use it, but right now it is primarily a black cultural propriety.”
He then quoted the lyrics of Kanye West’s "Gold Digger" (“Now I ain't sayin' she a gold digger/but she ain't messin' with no broke niggas”) to showcase how effectively the n-word can be used in the correct context.
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