Wired Editor Uses Yoko Ono Lyric to Compare Cyclists to Oppressed Black PeopleS

Ha ha ha! Here we go again. This kind of language pops up every once in a while for different reasons, I suppose, and it really has to stop.

Before you say it, yes, I know this guy was referencing John Lennon and Yoko Ono's song, "Woman Is the Nigger of the World." I know that. But there are two reasons Lennon and Ono can get away with it and Wired.com editor Ryan Singel—and other people who try this sentence formation—can not:

  1. Not only did Lennon and Ono invent that phrase, they then spent months and months defending it with arguments about "niggerization" and whether the term "nigger" can be expanded from its associations with blacks to include oppressed minorities of all kinds. You may not agree with their proclamations, but it should be noted that at no time did they casually poop out some tweet about people who ride bikes being niggers because of all these racist cars and then leave it at that.
  2. RIDING A BIKE IS NOT LIKE BEING AN OPPRESSED MINORITY AT ALL!

Lennon and Ono's song at least made some sense in that, like blacks in America and beyond, women of every nation have suffered centuries of torture, rape, general brutality, disenfranchisement, condescension, medical malpractice, and intractable institutionalized inequality. Even noting that history, there are still a number of feminists who have a serious problem with saying women are niggers. Last year, when some young women at a Slutwalk showed up with signs bearing the famous Lennon-Ono lyric, it caused a serious rift in the feminist community.

Here's a simple rule of thumb: Unless the group you represent has had its membership intentionally slaughtered and literally beaten down for centuries, you're not the nigger of shit, my man. You're someone who may have had it rough from time to time, but you've not felt the weight of what it means to be a true minority in the world.

Just so we're clear, I don't think Singel is a racist, and he's already deleted the above tweet and apologized. But let's let his mistake serve as a reminder to us all: Truly oppressed people generally don't have to call themselves the nigger of anything, because they've got their own words—kike, spic, cunt, chink, and faggot are a few that immediately come to my mind. What's that slur that people have historically used to humiliate and belittle people who ride bikes? Oh, yeah, never mind.

***

Just to be sure we're not crazy, we decided to see how "cyclists are the niggers of the road" might fit into the song to which it was paying homage:

Woman isCyclists are the nigger[s] of the worldroad,
Yes, she is, they are, think about it.
Woman isCyclists are the nigger[s] of the worldroad,
Think about it, do something about it.

We make her paint her face and dance them ride bikes near cars,
If she they won't be a slave and say that she they don't love us. drive with traffic.
If she's they're real, we say she's they're tryin' to be a manmotorcycle,
While puttin' her them down we pretend that she's above us they're not riding bikes.

Woman is Cyclists are the nigger[s] of the worldroad,
Yes, she isthey are,
If you don't believe me, take a look at the one you're with about to cut-off.
Woman isCyclists are the slave of the slaves,
Oh yeah, better scream about it, yeah!

We make her bear and raise our children them swerve and fall,
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen them on the pavement.
We tell her home is the only place she should be them to stay in their lanes
Then we complain honk that she's they're too unworldly slow to be our friend.

Oh, woman is cyclists are the nigger[s] of the worldroad,
Yes, she is they are,
If you don't believe me, take a look at the one you're with rear-ending.
Oh, woman iscyclists are the slave to the slave,
Yeah, all right.

Hit itthem!

We insult her them ev'ry day on tvthis Facebook page,
And wonder why she hasthey have no guts or confidence.

When she's they're young, we kill hertheir will to be freeLance Armstrong,
While tellin' herthem not to be so smart we put herthem down for being so dumb.

Oh well, woman is cyclists are the nigger[s]of the worldroad,
Yes, she is they are,
If you don't believe me, take a look at the one you're with about to run over.
Woman isCyclists are the slave to the slaves,
Yes, she is they are,
If you believe, we'd better scream about it!
Uh, uh, uh, hey, hey.

We make her paint her face and dancethem stay on bike paths,
We makeher paint her face and dancethem stay on bike paths,
We makeher paint her face and dancethem stay on bike paths,
We make her paint her face and dancethem stay on bike paths,
We makeher paint her face and dancethem stay on bike paths,
We makeher paint her face and dancethem stay on bike paths,

Nope. Doesn't work at all.