Last week I accidentally used the word “wigger”. I was describing someone I know who wears baggy clothing and sports jerseys, listens to nothing but hip-hop, and loves basketball. And while fumbling through the lexicon for a proper descriptor, I called him a “wigger” and was instantly embarrassed for myself, because as it turns out, I sounded like a total cock. Sometimes words do this to you. Or maybe your subconscious does it to you. Either way it sucks.
“Wigger” is a portmanteau of “white nigger”, which means the pedigree is so horrible it doesn’t deserve to be called a portmanteau. It should be called an “idiot word squash”. The utility of “wigger” is that you’re accusing a white kid of imitating a subset of black Americans, which, because we’re all subconsciously racist, naturally must be a bad thing. Perhaps the world will excuse me this one misstep; I did, after all, grow up in the American south, and recall hearing this word a lot growing up, mostly from teachers and ambulance drivers.
But in that moment I was stuck. I couldn’t think of another way to describe his aesthetic without writing an essay about his look and his attitude, and therein I was revealed to be a shallow, judgmental ass, with some closet racism tossed in there just for fun. We use all sorts of words to quickly describe people and their aesthetics. I can talk at length about hipsters and rednecks, billionaires and bluehairs, and everyone knows what I’m talking about, but the only word we have to describe this particular type of dude is “wigger”. It’s a trapping word, and demonstrates the limits of one’s patience and creativity with the English language. English tries to keep up with the pace of cultural change, but now and then we evolve these mutant rodents that just need to die.
There just aren’t enough words to describe every individual. I mean, besides their names. I move we make all proper nouns into regular nouns, so instead of saying “that guys a wigger!” I can say, “that guy’s a damian reginald matthewson!” and everybody will collectively say “ooooh….” and know what I’m talking about. With Facebook and all, we pretty much know everybody anyway.