Woman Is The Ni--er Of The World

Album: Some Time in New York City (1972)
Charted: 57

Songfacts®:

  • While John Lennon is responsible for the single, his phrase was not at the time deemed to be racist, nor was it his intent. He was making a point that women deserved higher status in society.
  • The phrase was originally coined by Yoko Ono during a magazine interview in 1967. Lennon later said it took him until 1970 to "dig it." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Hugo - Dover, NJ, for above 2

Comments: 13

  • Lily from EnglandAs a white women I believe that this song has many meanings and shows the hardships that women had to face and still do to this day. However, the n word that John Lennon uses is a racial slur and was used to oppress black people and other minorities. So when black people use it, it is a form of respect and a way to greet one another. But when white people say it, we know that there will always be a double meaning behind it. Therefore, even though this song is about women, it is still very disrespectful towards others in my opinion.
  • James Tate from Los AngelesI know John meant well but Blacks and Womens Rights are totally different. For one Women were never forcibly put into slavery, unless they were Black. Women never had to sit in the back of the bus, unless they were Black. I understand that Women have and had to go through a lot but the struggle is different.
  • Jeff from Largo, FlThis song, more than anything, opened my eyes to the women's movement. I heard it first in the late 70's while in high school. I heard it on the "Shaved Fish" compilation album. I am a proud feminist today and I trace it back to this song and how it woke me up to how we treat women in the world, and this is still true today so much.
  • Dave from St Paul, MnI too "dig" what the message was. But did Lennon need to be provocative as such to get his point across? Sometimes I think he stirred the pot just for attention. 40 years later, people still respond to messages but ignore the messages, much less change things for the betterment of all in this world. But his misogynist record was louder and people choose to overlook that. It's all a song and dance on his part.
  • Garry from Corby, United Kingdomhe wasn't bieng racist, the "N" word especially in uk is synonamous with the lowest most oppressed form of something in a society,and really has no choice in the matter so women were deemed to be treated this way back in the day, the irish were refered to as "white ni--ers" in the uk because of the way they were percieved and treated with really no choice, they had to take any job they could to survive etc, as a result the irish work ethic is the greatest there is, thankfully those days are over. So it's a song bout how we treat women in society with a word that comes straight out of the slave trade.
  • Randy from Houghton Lake, MiI sang this to my wife at our wedding. It was a beautiful moment
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvYou know if you actually listen to this song, it's not really racist. It's a good song that people just get all mad about the title, then again not the first time John got people mad over one of his songs, the song "God" was another one that alot of people don't like.
  • Mlb from Washington, DcShameful Mendacity The word should be outlawed.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaI never liked this song, bad title or not. The entire "Sometime in NYC" album remains, for me, a low point in John's career. A lot of bad songs, an obnxious backing band (Elephants Memory from where else, NYC) and, last but certainly not least, Yoko's caterwauling. What an absolute mess.
  • Musicmama from New York, NyAnother great song from John! If you listen to this song and think about what John is saying with it, you can understand, I think, why African-Americans, particularly the young, call each other "Nigga." It's a recognition of the suffering and other experiences they have in common. In a way, John Lennon does that with "Woman is The Ni--er of the World." If you "dig" that, as John might've said, you can also say that the Irish were long the "ni--ers" of the British Isles, the Quebecois are the "ni--ers" of Canada and those of Korean ancestry are the "ni--ers" of Japan. And, although I'm as white as can be, being a transgender woman makes me a "ni--er" in some ways.
  • Renee from Bloomington, MnThe first time I ever heard of this song was when I was watching the Dick Cavett DVD's of his interviews with John and Yoko. I never thought it was racist and definitely don't feel there is anything meant to be demeaning about it. Of course, I never knew him personally but from what I know of John Lennon I think he was anything but racist.
  • Michaela from Brooklyn, NyI'm a 20 year old black women and never even heard this song.when I saw the title i was a little mad and curious.then I looked at the meaning of the song.I like the fact that he thought about women maybe, my kind.As an African-Carribean American,or a black young women,I'd like to say that I'm black and proud.
  • Kenne from Phoenix, AzThe song lambasts the perceived traditional role of woman's subservience to man across all cultures. It was banned from radio airplay because of the word 'ni--er' although many prominent blacks, including black comedian Dick Gregory, spoke out in defense of the song.

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