The N-word

I  was raised to believe that Nigger was a derogatory term used to insult blacks. In school, I learned that Nigger can be traced back a Latin word niger meaning black. While I was in high school, N. W.A. and gangsta rap became popular. My peers who embraced hip-hop culture embraced Nigga as a greeting.  Use of the word has caused much debate.  Personally, I  have used the word to refer to Blacks( African Americans). I recently read a post on Facebook that made me wonder if I should continue to use the word.

I thought about Richard  Pryor, and after he had come back from Africa, he refused to use the term nigger in any of his comedy.  I thought about  Maya Angelou when she said it is never okay to use the term.   I understand Angelou position to be we can’t recycle a negative word and make it positive.

In the past decade, we have seen a lot of controversies when Caucasian Americans whites have used the term. When a white person says it still considered derogatory but yet  African American (Blacks) use the term daily. When I examine my use of the word, I have to admit it’s not in an affirmative context. I use to describe behavior I believe is a thug like or negative.   I have used it as a greeting in the past.   I believe my  N-word usage is a form of self-hatred.

I know I struggled with colourism growing up. I learned in my environment my maternal grandmother was a light skinned black woman. My mother is light skinned too. My grandmother would make comments like ” Niggers love red”, she would also call me a spook. Family members would say she wanted to raise her children like white people.  So I concluded from what I heard being black was negative.

I guess in the words of Malcolm X using the term Nigga made me feel like house nigger.  I have to admit I  have desired to use it as a derogatory term to describe some white people. Maybe it’s time to remove Nigger and Nigga from my vocabulary?

I know the show Blackish had an episode about the N word. Maybe Humans need examine their usage of the N word. What is your motivation for using it? I know pop culture (hip hop) has tried to change the meaning of words.  Dope no longer is just a reference to nactorics to means something is good. Bad is another term where it has negative and possible meaning depending on the context. Depsite those word having a postive and negative connection. The postive has not erased the negative. Can the N word meaning be transformed to being affirmative?


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