What’s the big deal about the N-Word?

Black vs. white.. Sometimes it seems like these colors can’t work in conjunction, that they must antagonize one another. However, what some people don’t realize is that when black and white come together, something wonderful happens. Pictures tend to hold more meaning and poetry. Slavery is abolished. Patterns such as checkered and hounds-tooth are created. Discrimination and segregation are made illegal. History happens right in front of our eyes and we get a black President. Beautiful good haired tan skinned babies are born.. I mean, that last one alone solves the eternal problem of white folks tanning and black folks getting relaxers. Black and white is beautiful (just look at me!).

There still seems to be a war going on between black and white, however. One aspect of that war surrounds a word that stirs up confusion and hatred. The word I am referring to actually has two forms, but is ultimately derived from the word “negro” which is Spanish for black. Some people feel that the two forms of this word give it two separate meanings. This however is not widely agreed upon and still causes problems today.

Let’s begin with the first form of the word, “nigger”. This form of this word is typically pejorative. Caucasians used this word to refer to black slaves and black people in general during the time when being African and African-American meant being less than human. Today the word is still used in a similar fashion by racists, bigots, rednecks, and Republicans (in the privacy of their own homes of course). However, there is an additional meaning to this word that is misunderstood by black people today.

Let’s examine the word in a sentence. “You look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of niggers, it will be your fault.” This sentence brought to you by Mel Gibson and celebrity dementia. To any given African-American, this sentence has a racist connotation simply because of the use of the word. The sentence itself will be interpreted as “a pack of niggers” being any given group of black men. If the word nigger was not used, it would still seem racist because this kind of statement is often taken as a generalization. Whoopi Goldberg defended Mel Gibson by saying she didn’t feel that he was a racist simply because of this statement. Many threw rocks at her (or whatever angry people do these days) because of her view. With further examination of the times and the word, her position can be better understood. We will come back to this later.

The other form of the word is “nigga”. This form could possibly have been used as early as when “nigger” began being used, as it is simply the word “nigger” with a different end pronunciation. This would make sense considering the black accent (talking black, if you will) is heavily influenced by the lack of education of the slaves and earlier African-Americans. However, in recent times, this form has taken on nearly a completely different meaning. This form of the word is used primarily by black people today. The most popular use of it is as a term referring to another person (not necessarily even black, but usually male) but without the negative connotation. “That nigga owes me fifty bucks!” A black person that was raised in or has strong influence from the ghetto would use it in this fashion. It is often heard very heavily in rap music.

Educated and/or uppity black people often use this word to refer to other black people with tendencies that come from the ghetto, such as stealing, sagging their pants, and general shady behavior. A popular example of this usage comes from Chris Rock’s “Bring The Pain” when he gave a rant about “niggas”. One memorable quote goes as such, “I love black people, but I hate niggas..” He proceeded to talk about the kinds of things shady black people do to be labeled “niggas”. However, people who ARE “niggas” call EVERYBODY nigga as explained above.

So here’s where the confusion comes in. White people hear the use of the word nigga by educated black people and high-profile comedians and see it as a way to refer to the kind of black people they may not like as well, the “niggas”. The same way educated white people often don’t like “rednecks” and “crackers”, they see the lesser of the black race and tend to not like them as well. Sometimes they try to refer to them in a similar fashion, except they use the word “nigger”, as Mel Gibson did. That’s the way most educated white people speak. They pronounce their ERs. However, nearly ALL black people hear the word nigger and immediately recall stories their grandparents told them about racism or remember movies they saw about Jim Crow times. The form “nigger” is very sensitive. Now one thing you may notice is that if someone who wasn’t black were to sing a rap song and say the word “nigga” as it is said in the song, it’s less likely that black people will flinch. “Nigga” is not just a different form, but a different word, and much less sensitive to black people as a whole.

Now this isn’t the case with ALL black people. I personally do not approve of ANY form of the N-Word and prefer not to use it, though my hood roots don’t always permit. Older black people typically DO NOT LIKE THE WORD “NIGGA” or “NIGGER”. Any form of the word from anyone’s lips is often going to stir up trouble. That’s because many of them lived through being called the N-Word in negative connotation on a regular basis. The word in any form means hatred for them. I respect that, though younger generations either have no idea or don’t care anyway.

Rapper Jay-Z and comedian Katt Williams say that the use of the word “nigga” is necessary. They want people to remember where we came from. The black struggle isn’t what it used to be, but it is still very real and some people use the word as a basic form of protest against the authority for the lack of help for the struggling black community.. which is often made of the people educated black folks refer to as “niggas”. The problem with the use of this word is that it will continue to spark debate from white people who feel words should not have race-exclusive restrictions.

We need a resolution to put an end to arguments like this.. White people don’t like “niggers” (which is not ALL black people, just the ign’ant ones) just like some black people don’t like “niggas”.. However, calling them “niggers” WILL NEVER BE OK. That form of the word has too much negative history and will never be acceptable (and is still used by racists today). The problem though, is that black people feel it’s ok to call them “niggas” and that looks like hypocrisy to white people. It makes sense. The only way to get good white people to not use the word “nigger” is for good black people to not use the word “nigga” (We can’t expect them to give up anything if we don’t give up anything.. It’s only fair). The word and both of its forms needs to die.. At least from the mouths of good people.. then the people who use it to be racist won’t blend in so well.. and we can all unite, black and white, for the sake of lynching these hateful ungrateful evil fucktards of human being bastards.

The truth is, if you use or approve of the use of the word “nigga”, you genuinely can’t complain about the use of the word “nigger” outside of a directly racist context because ultimately they are the same word. The new meaning of the word “nigger” that white people cling to today comes from the meaning we have given to “nigga”. Most recently, some black people have given up use of the word “nigga” given a good understanding of its sensitivity and equivalence to the word “nigger”. The word they tend to use instead is “ninja”. I personally love this. Ninjas truly have nothing to do with “niggas”, unless you think of the shady behavior of “niggas” as similar to the stereotype of ninjas being assassins and decapitating fools in the night.

Hmm.. As a matter of fact.. it was a “nigga” in the projects that was climbing through your windows and snatching your people up.. So it could easily be a ninja that you’ll need to hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife…. and hide yo husband from cuz they decapitatin’ everybody out here.

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5 thoughts on “What’s the big deal about the N-Word?

  1. max says:

    I don’t use the word; but then again its use isn’t as prevalent here in Canada as it is in the US. At any rate, I’m uncomfortable using it. I cannot abide its use by white people in any circumstance, but I don’t mind when other Black people use it.

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  2. nicknotnikki says:

    You make an excellent point.. I’m not gonna lie, I use “nigga” every now and then… The same way I’ve been trying to eradicate b*tch and a** from my vocabulary is the same way that i’ve been trying to leave “nigga” alone..
    i can’t be mad when other people say it if it’s something in my language.. that’s just the way i see it..

    good points Rem..!

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  3. sdukez says:

    The N word. It’s a reflex. I’m not saying it is for me. I’m not gonna sit here and say that so-and-so is bad for using it. BUT it’s always going to be awkward when Latinos and Caucasians use it out of nowhere (only cuz this girl straight said it to my friends and I as a greeting). I’m sure a lot of people use it because it just rolls off their tongue when around friends, enemies and the frenemies in between. Sh!t I use it when I’m around my friends from time to time but I’m slowly (slower than a turtlesnail) doing that I can to eliminate that word and other foul words from my “vocab” – like Nick said – like b!tch, @ss, dumb@ss, sh!thead, d!ckhead (I think you get it).

    As far as anyone else using it, can’t stop em. I don’t want to sound like the ultimate hypocrite and say anyone who isn’t of OBVIOUS African American descent (::ahem:: drop of black blood in your complexion) can’t use it. But it is awkward. I don’t think people will stop using the N word. It’s gotten way too deep.

    🙂 Great post. Delayed reply. Love it all the same ^_^

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