Whatup my nigga?
An essay on the word nigger
The word nigger and its forms “nigga” and “nizzle” have been used for centuries.
This term derived from the Latin word niger which means dark. It is a highly controversial term used in many countries it can be heard in the USA, Canada, Britain and Russia. It is used as a more harsh replacement for the gentler term Negro. It is a pejorative or discriminatory term used to refer to those people of dark skin, particularly those of African decent. Historically, African-Americans have appropriated the slur, subverting it to a self-referential term that is often suggestive of familiarity, endearment or kinship. Many, however, always have rejected the term as racist and dehumanizing. Generally, "nigger" is considered a highly offensive racial epithet, especially when used by non-blacks.
Previously used by blacks in only intra-ethnic settings, "nigger" as a socially acceptable term of kinship or endearment has become increasingly common among African American youth. For example: "What's up, my nigga?" would be acceptable when spoken by one African American to another. The commercialization and subsequent proliferation of hip-hop culture internationally, for better or worse, has returned the term to broader public use across ethnicities in much the same way it is used in the young African American community, and as an artifact of hip-hop culture. Among whites, some use it casually, as an archaism, to refer to African Americans; but most are rural, from poor areas of cities, and/or born before the 1950s. "Nigger" also persists in use as a racial slur among non-blacks across ethnic and class boundaries.
"Nigger" has a long history of causing controversy in literature. Carl Van Vechten, a White photographer and writer famous as a promoter of the Harlem Renaissance, caused a great controversy by titling his novel Nigger Heaven, in 1926. The controversy centered on the use of the word "nigger" in the title and fueled the sales of the hit novel. Of the controversy, Langston Hughes wrote:
“No book could possibly be as bad as Nigger Heaven has been painted. And no book has ever been better advertised by those who wished to damn it. Because it was declared obscene, everybody wanted to read it, and I'll venture to say that more Negroes bought it than ever purchased a book by a Negro author. Then, as now, the use of the word "nigger" by a White was a flashpoint for debates about the relationship between African American culture and its White patrons.”
The famous controversy over Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), a classic frequently taught in American schools revolves largely around the novel's 215 uses of the word, nigger, referring to Jim, Huck's raft-mate.
Because the word was freely used for many years, there are many official place-names containing the word "nigger." Examples include Nigger Bill Canyon, Nigger Hollow, and Niggertown Marsh. In 1967, the United States Board on Geographic Names changed the word nigger to Negro in 143 specific place names, but use of the word has not been completely eliminated. In April 2003, there was a stir in Australia over the naming of part of a stadium in Toowoomba "E.S. Nigger Brown Stand." "Nigger Brown" was the nickname of Toowoomba's first international rugby player. Edward Stanley Brown had a particularly fair complexion and hence was given the nickname "Nigger," in a similar way that a tall person might be called "Shorty." He also used the shoe polish brand "Nigger Brown." The stand was named in the 1960s. As in the United States some decades ago, the word was used casually by whites, with little thought given to it. Brown himself was happy with the nickname; in fact it is written on his tombstone. A growing black consciousness among Australia's aboriginal population has meant the term increasingly has become an offensive one, particularly when uttered by whites; however, just as in the U.S., some younger blacks have appropriated the term for self-referential use.
A common argument among some young African Americans and other youth centers on the pronunciation of "nigger" as nigga. The vernacular pronunciation of the word, they believe, renders the word harmless. In an interview in Tupac: Resurrection, a documentary, Tupac Shakur expresses this view: "Niggers was the ones on the rope, hanging off the thing; Niggas is the one with gold ropes, hanging out at clubs. sic" Nigga, youth contend, is simply a synonym for accepted slang words such as dude and guy. Such use of nigga is heavily dependent on context. It could be an insult to say, "Hey, you niggas" (grammatically analogous to "Hey, you guys"), but saying, "What up, my niggas?" would be perfectly acceptable. In the first example, the use of "you guys," is similar to "you people," a phrase often seen as off-putting when used by whites to refer to blacks. The second example is in the African-American tradition of using the word to express kinship or affection.
Many feel nigga is simply "nigger" pronounced with a southern accent, the spelling a phonetic representation of the word as it always has been pronounced in African American Vernacular English. There is no difference, they argue, between the two words. Both words are also pronounced the same in most dialects of standard English.
Whatever way you view the word nigger you have to admit it’s a fucking cool word. People who get pissed off about it should have their testicles and/or ovaries mauled by rabid lobsters. I know that was unprofessional but I don’t give a fuck. I like saying nigger, nigga, nizzle, and all the other racial slurs. I’m not racist or anything, they just sound cool. Peace out Niggas.
Hey you, your a nigger.
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