The “N” Word

Self Hatred: The ‘N’ Word – A Term of Endearment or Enslavement

The first installment of the Self Hatred topic focuses on the usage of the word nigger in any form and how it effects the Black Community.

The 3 Questions

1. Should Black people use the word nigger in any form, and why or why not?

2. What does the word nigger mean to you?

3. How do you feel when Whites and other races use the word?


The most charged word in the English lexicon is nigger in all of its forms.  It stems from a place in American history that is linked to shame, pain, and misery.  Used as an insult to all people of African decent, this word is just as likely today to start a riot as it was in the Civil Rights Movement nearly 60 years ago.  However, through time and an ability to adapt the negative, Black people have turned the phrase into a “term of endearment,”  and something to be quasi proud of.  Use of the word in this manner has at times caused rifts between generations due to the negative connotation of the word to past generations.  Due to our inconsistency pertaining to the use of the word and who is allowed to use the word, the Black race comes off as confused and ignorant to their own history.  Does the use of the N word contribute to the destruction of the Black Community?

Please write in and respond to our 3 poll questions or post some questions that you would like to see asked.  These questions and more will be addressed during the discussion found on YouTube beginning on  4/5/2014.

The N Word Part 1

The N Word Part 2

The N Word Part 3

6 thoughts on “The “N” Word”

  1. 1. Should Black people use the word nigger in any form, and why or why not?

    I am of the mindset that Black people should never use the word nigger in any form, not even as an insult. There are several reasons why I think the word has no place in the lexicon of Black people, one of which is the thought that it can be used in a positive form. This word has been used and was originated to bring shame and degrade our ancestors, great grandparents, and even this current generation of people. To say that it is a term of endearment in anyway, is akin to taking the whip that a slave master used on your ancestors and embracing it as the sign of your freedom or the noose that was used to hang your ancestors and wearing it as a neck tie. Trying to turn something this negative into a positive is similar to turning drug dealers, murders, and thugs into role models. Some things you can’t make positive because they are evil through and through.

    2. What does the word nigger mean to you?

    Although the word has a definition attached to it, I personally feel that the word is short hand for every stereotype attached to Black people; lazy, stupid; shiftless; cowardly; loud; ignorant; etc.

    3. How do you feel when Whites and other races use the word?

    I, like most Black people, had used the word frequently in front of all races. As I got older and wiser I came to the conclusion that I was a contributor to the very stereotypes I had hoped to shatter with my works when I would use this word either in the presence of other people or my own. I used to feel that when a Black person would say “my nigga” they were saying it in a manner that didn’t harbor any malice behind it. I knew where they were coming from. With others, especially White folks, this was not so clear. I didn’t know what that particular White person may or may not have meant when they said it, but I know what it meant historically from a White person to a Black person so I would immediately take offence to it. On reflection, any use of the word by anybody is flat wrong.

  2. 1. Should Black people use the word nigger in any form, and why or why not?

    The “N” word stems from a part of history that most are ashamed of in some way. As many things tie us to our past and bring us together, I feel that many find it acceptable to use the word. I use it, and I don’t have an issue with blacks using it as long as there is no intentional negative connotation. All words are associated with experiences and meanings.

    2. What does the word nigger mean to you?

    To me, the term does not only carry negative meanings. It can be used as a term of endearment, referring to a friend, a loved one, a person in general, etc…

    3. How do you feel when Whites and other races use the word?

    Whites should not use the word. The usage is one that is based on similar past expereinces and cultural connections of people of color. I don’t have much of an issue with any non whites using it. In some way, we have all been opressed but them…

  3. 1. Should Black people use the word nigger in any form, and why or why not?

    The N word has such a history to use the word in any of its forms is degradable for any race. I know culturally it is used as a term of endearment, but there are so many other words that can be used in its place. When the word is used by Blacks as an endearment term it erases its historical context, and we never want to do that. It shows a lack of value to our brothers and sisters and our mouths are as filthy as the men that called our ancestors the N word. It should be banned.

    2. What does the word nigger mean to you?

    The N word is a term made to make Black people feel less than a man or woman. It means 3/5 of person….

    3. How do you feel when Whites and other races use the word?

    I feel disgusted. Its upsetting whether they mean to use as a endearment term or not. Its a word that history is too strong to take the bitter taste out of my mouth whenever it is used.

  4. 1. Should Black people use the word nigger in any form, and why or why not?

    I believe that it should not be used unless it enters an academic discussion on its historical context and significance and to iterate why it should not be used. Newer generations of Americans grow farther and farther from the time it was commonly and acceptably used as a slur to denigrate and humiliate, so as it get tossed around jokingly without thinking, future users of the word will be increasingly ignorant of its origins symbolizing a long history of oppression.

    I understand that some black people might enjoy using the word ironically, perhaps as a way to assert a unique cultural identity. But the problem is that white kids today look to black people on how to be cool. In Germany I remember a young black soldier’s shock when he heard a cheery German kid use the term nonchalantly. I thought, what would you expect – the only understanding kids over here have of the word is from popular black music. And so it will go with newer generations of white kids in America, too. So I’m with Coach Carter on this one – if you don’t want white people to think the word is cool and funny then black culture will have to set the example.

    2. What does the word nigger mean to you?

    It’s a word that historically has been used to categorically disparage a race of people, grown out of white America being largely unable to adjust to the abolition of slavery for many generations. I think it’s important for newer generations to be aware of the original connotations of the word in order to move progressively in a positive direction of integration and mutual respect.

    3. How do you feel when Whites and other races use the word?

    For the reasons above, white people and other races today I think can have some trouble when trying to appreciate modern black culture such as worrying about whether or not they’re required to censor themselves when enjoying popular songs. Then it just gets awkward and confusing, which can very possibly lead right back to more ignorance, hostility, and segregation.

  5. 1. Should Black people use the word nigger in any form, and why or why not? Never, in its current form it is accepted from black to black but not from anyone else to black. This difference in acceptance maintains the walls of hate and fosters the division of races. How can we as blacks expect anyone else to respect the pain the word conjures up if we use it to great one another, wtf?

    2. What does the word nigger mean to you? It means an ignorant black to me.

    3. How do you feel when Whites and other races use the word? I wonder if they dare to use it so freely wherever they go or, even more importantly, when no blacks are around. It doesn’t bother me and I wouldn’t fight some idiot over it because their obvious intent is to control you by making you lose control. I only value the opinions of people I respect so someone who would find the need to call me that is unlikely to generate any response other than pity.

  6. Just my two cents…….

    The “N” Word

    The word Nigger, commonly referred to as the “N” Word has been traced to the Latin word niger, meaning Black. This word became the noun, Negro…Black Person in English and universally the color black in Spanish and Portuguese. Reportedly, back in the early modern French era, niger became negre then later, negress, meaning Black Woman. Now days one can compare negre to the derogatory word nigger, which in earlier English substitutes terms such as negar, neegar, neger, and niggor. In 2001, Dr. David Pilgrim, Dept. of Sociology at Ferris State University, expresses it is probable that Nigger is a phonetic spelling of the White Southern mispronunciation of Negro.

    It is generally known that over time, racial slurs have victimized all racial and ethnic groups; but no American group has endured as many racial nicknames as Black folks. Nicknames such as coon, tom, savage, pickaninny, mammy, buck, sambo, jigaboo, and buckwheat are just a few names characteristically given to many of us. Many of these forenamed slurs have become effusive traditional pseudo-scientific, literary, cinematic, and everyday reconfigurations of African Americans. These exaggerations, whether spoken, written, or reproduced in media and material objects, often reflect the degree and vast network of anti-Black prejudice.

    Unsurprisingly, the word, Nigger, carries with it much of the hatred and disgust directed toward Black Africans and African Americans. From both experience and history, nigger defined, limited, made fun of, and ridiculed all Blacks. This fact remains true whether it’s used as a noun, verb, or adjective, it strengthens the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless nobody’s many ignorant people fall belief to. As it is identified as foolish, in my opinion, no other American surname carries as much purposeful cruelty.

    Back in the day, blacks remain subservient to whites. The chain-of-command was set up by an ideology that justified the use of dishonesty, exploitation, and intimidation to keep Blacks “in their place.” Every primary societal establishment offered legitimacy to the racial pecking order. Ministers preached that God was White and had condemned Blacks to be servants. Scientists measured Black skulls, brains, faces, and genitalia, seeking to prove that Whites were genetically superior to Blacks. White teachers, teaching only White students, taught that Blacks were less evolved cognitively, psychologically, and socially. The entertainment media, from cabaret to television and film, portrayed Blacks as obedient servants, happy-go-lucky idiots, and dangerous thugs, and they still so today. Not so long ago, the criminal justice system endorsed a double standard of justice, including its unspoken approval of mob violence against Blacks which, is often in a subdued manner, remains a standard today. Both American slavery and the Jim Crow laws which followed were over-the-top with beliefs of certified anti-Black laws and images. The negative portrayals of Blacks, both historically and today, are reflected in and shaped by everyday material objects, such as, toys, postcards, syrup, detergent boxes, food commercials, and children’s books, just to name a few.

    The word Nigger, like the false impressions it incorporates, is degrading to Blacks, and to some people rationalizes their abuse. The use of the word by Blacks has not lessened its universal harm. Anti-Black attitudes, motives, values, and behavior continue within our society. Historically, Nigger, more than any other word, captures the personal hatred and established racism directed toward Blacks.

    As a foe of the “N” Word, I believe the word should not be used and omitted from current day textbooks and dictionaries. While television is only one method of perpetuating the “N” Word, a much broader and faster moving means of transmission is the internet. The total stoppage of the “N” Word is realistically impossible, however, in order to mitigate its use I subscribe that African-American parents, teachers, sports figures, and entertainers must make it clear that the “N” Word is not part of Blacks vocabularies. Additionally, these mainstream moguls must feature the word’s brutal past and erase the ignorance that fuels its use. I also believe it’s important to educate the world, to include Blacks, so a global understand and a community of shared knowledge is grasped and realized about name calling and derogatory nicknames. While many may view the “N” Word as an overreaction by African Americans, they should know there’s a price you pay for deliberately offending people.


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