There has been recent controversy on the word Nigga, a word that has been driven through the confides of history, miss translated, and used in many different ways to define the persons of melanated skin mostly.
Before I get into this discussion, let me define the word nigga, the word it was derived from, and a bit of it’s history, slightly
Nigga: according to dictionary.com is a term used to refer or to address a black person.
Most commonly the word nigga is used as a term of endearment for black people
- Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
- a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
- a contemptuous term used to refer to a member of any dark-skinned people.
- Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of any racial or ethnic origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
- a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by black people; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised
The two words are forever intertwined, in more ways then not. And we seem to be forever enslaved by its definition, using the term, and what it means.
For another slight piece of history, The slaves would attempt to address each other by repeating their masters use of the term “Nigger”. They couldn’t pronounce the “er” so they would say “nigga”.
For some etymology, The European colonizers would call the African captives and natives nigger out of their black skin which was a translation of the Spanish word negro
Nigger was one defined as “slow and lazy,” during slave times and often defined slaves, as black, slow, and lazy, as well as ignorant.
A tactic to degrade and dehumanize the slaves in order to keep them in line.
Ancient Romans, would use the word niger to define black people, They compiled the two.
Some more etymology. “nig” has been a term that has been in black people for millennia. The word net-ger was an ancient Egyptian term for king (n-g-r or en-jer). Also net-ger was used for divine and pronounced N-T-Y-R. The ancient Ethiopians defined their emperors as Negus (Ne-goos), or Negash (ne-gash) as kings. There are other ancient African terms to look at as well.
The Romans were believed to translate black niger from n-g-r when they invaded Nubia. They interpreted That, or so it is believed.
this origin “nig” has been a part of history for a long time. It’s connection to Nigger, and negro is up for grabs, I couldn’t find the connection, but if I were to theorize anything then there were many mistranslated of Negus, Negash, and Net-ger that turned into negro, which was transformed into nigga and nigger.
With all this being said, Now down to the meat of this argument. Many black people use the word as a term of endearment to other black people. It is a word that is used commonly to define a plethora of ideas, words concepts. When you dont have a word to use, nigga is the word to use. It addresses people, places. things. Nigga is culture, its a part of us as black people. And to many black people, it is the possession of the word from the oppressive peoples of the past.
The argument against the word is that because of its demonstrative and derogatory use, nigga shouldn’t be used. That is for black people to black people for black people. There are people who believe that it reconnects them to slavery segregation and that it shouldn’t be used by anyone, not even Blacks. Another argument against it is that Black people shouldn’t be upset if other people use it (white people). Because one it’s a word that a lot of rappers use in their art. It is a cultural term that is connected to those that live in impoverished locale. Thus, black people shouldn’t feel offended when other people say it and shouldn’t use it. This is because to some black people there are white people who grew up and used it with them, as well as Latinos, and many other people from different backgrounds. In this they believe that there is no reason to feel offended when others use the word. Especially when it is a universal term that a lot of rappers use frequently. One example is Kendrick Lamar’s M.A.A.D. City in Good Kid M. A. A. D. city in which in the chorus the word “nigga” is used multiple times. There was recent controversy with a young drunk white girl that used the term when reciting the song on stage with Kendrick Lamar. There are many people who disdain the word specifically because of the endorsement of the word through hip-hop and rap which so many young diverse children misuse. They look up to these rappers and want to be them so they mimic them. Some say this is unfair to the rappers and their art, others believe that they should be indited for the use of the word influencing the youth. There are black people that wish that Black people would use more uplifting words in its replacement ” king” or “brother”. These would change the narrative of how we “see each other” and thus eliminate the word “nigga”.
For: like I said before, it is a term of endearment to our kin.
The power of the word nigga was taken from our oppressors. We use the word to address each other. A wise man once compared the word to being commerce for black folk in the use of language. It is a currency that we exchange between one another. It isn’t a word for others to use and should be discouraged to do so. It is for us, by us, as a badge of victory for wining one over our oppressors. A small victory in a sense. “white folks have everything, the one thing they cannot have they feel offended by. It’s simple, just don’t use it. The historical context of the word doesn’t belong to you and shouldn’t roll off your tongue. Nigger definitely shouldn’t come to your mind. A word passed around and transformed from generation to generation and finally received well in a community and you wish to take it away because you’re asked to not say it. Sounds like entitlement doesn’t it?
This is a term that is used to address others like them. and its justified with the struggle that black folk have gone through, almost as if it were a badge.
Reminder, those are some arguments for and against the word. Me, in my opinion, I prefer ntgr, netger, neegus or naga, which are Ancient African for the same term, god or king. I believe these words are more endearing than nigga because it uplifts those that I address. Therefore they understand the respect they are being given during the conversation. This is necessary i the black community for reasons in a other post. I don’t promote the use of the word nigga, nor am I against it. However if you are to use it, be prepared to defend it and to receive and counter the backlash to the word. Also, know its history, hopefully this post opens your eyes and you do your own research on this word.
Below is a link to a you tube channel video by Kaba Kemene, an ankh that discusses the word nigga in more depth.