The Word Nigger Essays

The Word Nigger Essays

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The Word "Nigger"


“My niggas. Some niggas that you don’t wanna try.
     
My niggas. Some niggas that’s really do or die.
     
My niggas. Ain’t no longer living a lie.
     
My niggas is stong. My niggas is real.”

     Does this artist use the word nigger in the same way that racists have and still are? The answer to this question is a simple one- no. Today’s urban society have changed, not only the definition, but also the spelling of this word, which was once used to belittle those of African-American decent. Now, the definition as proved through today’s urban youth holds many denotations- positive and negative. But has the definition really changed? Or are today’s urban society just being ignorant and socially blinded by the hardships of our ancestors as they continue to use a word that held such great racial tension when used in the 1800’s? Two answers for this one- yes and no. Yes the definition has changed, but not totally to where it’s precedent has been forgotten. In fact, urban youth are so socially powerful that they can take a word and totally flip it and use it within themselves but when one of another race uses it, they return it back to the old definition and the racial remarks commence.

     The definitions of the word nigger are as follows:
1.     a Negro
2.     loosely or incorrectly applied to members of dark-skinned race
3.     a vulgar offensive term of hostility and contempt as used by Negrophobes
Nigger (etymology)
1.     Latin niger becomes Spanish and Portugese Negro used in France for “black man” especially in Africa adapted by the English
2.     latin niger, for black, occurs in such river names as the Rio Negro in South America and the Niger f Central West Africa.

When used by a white person to describe a black or African American person, this can be the most hateful hurtful, offensive term in the language today. This word in American speech dates back to the late 16th century, although the modern spelling doesn't appear until two centuries later. The obsolete spelling niger dates to 1574. It derives from the Latin niger meaning black. It shares this common root with negro.

The first recorded use of the word nigger was in 1786 in a poem by Robert Burns yet variations on it including negar, neger, and niger are recorded two centuries before then.

The offensiveness of the term has increased ov...


... middle of paper ...


...ds in the air and scream.
In this thesis, I’ve actually learned a few things. From looking up the word in etymology books, I concluded that the society has come to realize that we do use the word amongst ourselves but never to the extent to which it has been used centuries ago towards our ancestors. One book quotes “…African Americans commonly use the word in different ways among themelves…”


1. DMX, Interlude, (Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, 1998)
2. “Nigger.” The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary ed. 1973
3. DMX, Interlude, (Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, 1998)
4. “Nigger.” The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary ed. 1973
5. “Nigger” Webster’s Third New International Dictionry
6. “Nigger” A Short Etymologica Dictionary of Modern English ORIGINS ed 1966
7. “Nigga” Dictionary for American Slang ed. 1995
8. Twain, Mark Hulckeberry Finn
9. Rice Jr., Earl The O.J.Simpson Trial San Diego, CA:Lucent Books Inc, 1997
10. Peterson, Nina. Personal interview. 2 June 2000
11. Punisher, Big. Watch Those! (Yeaah Baby!, 2000)
12. Rush Hour (movie)
13. Scoop, Fat Man, Brooklyn Clan (Hot 97’s mix tape)
14. “Nigger” Encyclopedia of Word and Phase Origins ed 1997

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The Word Nigger Essays

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