Justin Timberlake's 'Ninja' Slur Controversy Baffles Japan

Justin Timberlake's

Justin Timberlake recently called Madonna a "mother chucking ninja". Some people in the US were upset, saying the word had racist connotations. In Japan, some folks were baffled by this controversy.

As US Weekly points out, the "ninja" remark caused Twitter outrage, with people alleging that Timberlake was using "ninja" as a substitute for a racist slur. With what's going in Ferguson, folks might be more attuned to language like this at the moment. Or maybe it's more than that. Back in 2012, Website Grantland did a good explainer on how "ninja" was used by white celebrities like Katy Perry because they know the other word isn't for their use. Here's Grantland:

Saying "ninja" is basically just a cooler way to say "the 'N' word"; review if necessary the Louis C.K. joke about that phrase, and how saying "the 'N' word" is just "white people gettin' away with saying 'n*****,'" because all you're doing by saying it is making other people think the actual word.

Japanese site Walkerplus covered the controversy, which then launched a thread on 2ch, Japan's largest net forum. "Don't drag ninja into this!" wrote one 2ch user. "Naruto must be pissed."

"It's sure is depressing to see white people use the word ninja like this," chimed in another. "Once again, Japan is made evil," quipped another.

Others couldn't believe that the word "ninja" was discriminatory. "I don't get this at all," said one 2ch user. Others wondered if it was based on colour or pronunciation -- if so, that makes this coded language most unpleasant. Being 2ch, there were also stupid racist comments, as you'd expect to see on anonymous bulletin boards. However, not all of them were.

"Actually, during the subprime crisis, the term NINJA meant "No Income No Jobs Asset" and used," explained another 2ch user.

"This really has nothing to do with real ninja," added another commenter, while another commenter wrote, "This makes me angry... It's also dissing Japan."

"Alright, just stop using the word 'ninja'," said one 2ch commenter. Well, better yet, to those using it as coded language, stop?

That's one of the depressing things about this. I like ninja! Like, you know, ninja -- whether that means the historical ninja or the ninja of popular imagination. I don't want ninja ruined by slurs -- whether they are actual slurs or perceived slurs, that's besides the point. Crap like this taints ninja. Intended or not, it draws unpleasant associations to the word.

And what is Justin Timberlake even calling Madonna a ninja for? Ninja are about stealth. About sneaking. About listening. Madonna is about being bombastic, gaudy, and showy. That's fine! She's an entertainer. But, there's nothing ninja about Madonna. Nothing at all. And "ninja" is the last thing she should be called.

【悲報】「ニンジャ」が米国で人種差別用語になるwwwwwwwww [2ch]

Picture: KPG Payless2/Shutterstock


Comments

    Whatever happened to that "I Am Ninja" guy, did he get locked away for extreme racism and being a white guy in a ninja hood?

      I think he just kept pulling out teeth and making friends with everyone who's ever been on Ripley's believe it or not?

    Was there any context to Justin Timberlake's tweet? Like, did it just say "that @madonna is a mother chucking ninja" or was it in reply to something?

      Who needs context when there's clicks to be had?

    Baffles Japan
    I think ol' Brian missed the sarcasm prevalent in all of those comments he brought up, it's practically spilling out of the seams. You could say it flew unnoticed over his head like a skilled ninja.

    That said, JT is being an idiot, if you want to call someone a nigger, call them a nigger. Substituting a word for another to mask your message whilst still delivering the desired message just to avoid being pulled up for using the word nigger? That doesn't come close to ninja like skills.

    This is not the first time that a minority of fuckwits have misappropriated a ubiquitous and utterly harmless word so that apparently sane people can't use it anymore for its original purpose to avoid being tainted by association with the fuckwits. (Eg: Friendzone.)

    In this particular case, I don't think there's any possible chance of misunderstanding my regular use of 'ninja' (eg: "Ninja-looter stole our shit and disappeared," or, "Yeah, I got here early because of my l33t car-ninja skillz," or, "I am a fucking ninja at [ANYTHING I'm really good at or am pretending to be good at].")

    The appropriate response to anyone who calls you out for 'racism' when using the word ninja in any of those contexts really deserves nothing more than an arched eyebrow and questions about whether they're high.

    As US Weekly points out, the “ninja” remark caused Twitter outrage, with people alleging that Timberlake was using “ninja” as a substitute for a racist slur.There is actually a precedent for this if you've ever watched Leprechaun 6: Back 2 tha Hood.

      ...if you've ever watched Leprechaun 6: Back 2 tha Hood.
      I would be surprised if any of the friends and family of anyone involved in that movie ever watched it even just to be polite.

    Like, maybe, MAYBE if Madonna was black I could see why people would think "oh Justin is trying to be racist in a sneaky fashion".
    But she's not, so there's no reason to even consider that he might be going for that angle.
    Are people too sensitive or just stupid?

    Seems to me Justin Timberlake is a 'Mother Father Gentleman".

    "And what is Justin Timberlake even calling Madonna a ninja for? Ninja are about stealth. About sneaking. About listening. Madonna is about being bombastic, gaudy, and showy. That’s fine! She’s an entertainer. But, there’s nothing ninja about Madonna. Nothing at all. And “ninja” is the last thing she should be called."

    She's quick and spry. There. So not the last thing perhaps? She's agile and a lot of her music does contain subtlety. There. Did it again. Do you suck or what?

      And if people hear you playing Madonna in your car, no one will think you are a ninja. Ultimate disguise. Like a ninja. JT confuses everyone on twitter, like a ninja.

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