Etymology: slang deviation from “nigger,” which itself is an alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese negro, from negro black, from Latin niger
1. The slang term “nigga” is used by and among Blacks usually as a term of affection or endearment or a form of non-offensive address that developed as a way for Blacks to re-appropriate (claim) the word “nigger” to convey affection rather than hatred. The word is increasingly being used among non-Blacks in a similar manner, especially young people. Yet, the word can also be used offensively in the same manner as “nigger” by Blacks and non-Blacks alike.
2. The word “nigger” is a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry used to refer to Blacks, members of any dark-skinned people group, and/or members of a socially disadvantaged class of persons, and is the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in the English language in referring to Blacks such that it is now often referred to as “the ‘n’ word.”
3. Not all Blacks use the word "nigga" and a debate exists among Blacks as to whether Blacks themselves should use it. A debate also exists among Blacks as to whether non-Blacks should use the word even if the non-Black uses the word in a non-offensive, non-inflammatory, non-racist, and affectionate or endearing manner just as Blacks use it. Interestingly, many Blacks who use the word have accepted its use by Puerto Ricans possibly due to long-time interaction and mating between Blacks and Puerto Ricans and common social and economic condition. Some Blacks who use the word also have no problem with Whites using the word especially if the Black and White are friends but the general rule is that, of all non-Blacks, Whites are never permitted to use either the words “nigger” or “nigga.” Paradoxically, the Civil Rights Movement has been so successful that some White youth who are urban or hip-hop culture enthusiasts find it the ultimate compliment to be called “nigga” and/or want to be able to use the word. Also, some Whites, especially young people, use the word privately between themselves also as a term of affection, endearment, or address.
Black man: There are Black folks and there are niggas. Black folks are trying to feed their families while niggas act a fool making all Blacks look ghetto, loud, lazy, uneducated, and poor.
As an address:
Black man: What's crackin lackin nigga?!
Black man: Nothin much. What's up with you nigga?!
As a term of endearment or affection:
Black man: Y'all all my niggas. I would die for you.