• Kyia Young

Why Everyone Should Stop Using The Infamous 'N-Word'

January 4, 2017

"If you can't fly then run, If you can't run then walk, If you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ahh…the "N word." One of the most notorious, infamous and insulting words in not only American history, but also around the world. This derogatory term is targeted to individuals of the African American or black culture. Nigger stems from the Latin word, "niger," meaning black.

According to AAregistry.org, Nigger "remains a principal term of White racism, regardless of who is using it." By the early 1800s, this word was officially established as a derogatory racial slur. Many people of the majority race and some minority races use this term to describe their hatred towards African Americans.

This term describes blacks as worthless and deems our culture as second-class to the rest. There are multiple variations of “nigger” in the American language, but the most common is “nigga.” This word is still used today in daily language, social media, and music. Typically, many of the individuals who use “nigga,” are of the black culture.

I’ve had the personal experience of making this word a part of my conversations. One of my friends brought it to my attention that this negative word was turned into a form of endearment within the Black community. “Nigga” is now used as a word that describes “friend” or “buddy.”

However, I still don’t understand how many black people use it, but won’t allow other races to do so. Moving forward, I’ve decided to try my best to not use this word at all just to show my respect for others, as well as my culture. Some blacks feel the right to use this word because they’ve made it their own by turning its negative connotation to a positive one. My question is: when someone of a different race listens to a rap song with the term “nigga” in it, would it be problematic or would you let them slide?

Some other historical terms that were used against blacks that aren’t typically used today, include: coon, tom, savage, pickaninny, mammy, buck, samba, jigaboo and buckwheat. With this article, I would like to educate the public on not only the use of the above terms, but also make my audience aware of some of the current struggles that African Americans still face today.

To my fellow African Americans: Try to keep this word out of your language and social media. Your prevention of using this word allows others to understand that this isn’t the correct way of addressing anyone of the African American race. In addition, it shows self-respect and obedience for your ancestors and black culture. Show black pride in the right way. Remember, you can’t get upset for someone using it against you, if you use it yourself.


Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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