One Wod Changed Over Time: Nigger


“My niggas. Some niggas that you don’t wanna try.


My niggas. Some niggas that’s really do or die.

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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 over time, especially in the 20th century. Two 16th century quotes that are commonly cited in dictionaries are from scholarly tracts. A 1700 quote by judge Samuel Sewall uses the term in a denunciation of slavery. Gradually, however, polite discourse increasingly used the term negro (which dates to at least 1555) and nigger became relegated to the vulgar tongue, increasing in offensiveness over the centuries.
So for instance, when Mark Twain uses the word in Huckleberry Finn , by the standards of his day he is not being especially offensive (although even then it was a term that would not be used in polite society), but is using the term as a marker of class and socio-economic status of the characters who utter it.
In the 20th century of course, it has become extremely offensive. It, along with cunt are just about the only taboo words in American discourse today (it’s interesting that the most offensive terms have strong racial or gender discrimination components). About the only acceptable use is in Black English when African-Americans use it to refer to themselves.
In the O. J. Simpson trial of 1995 when evidence of its use by a detective whitness, Mark Furhman was introduced, the word became reffered to as the N-word. Mark Furhman continued to lie and say he never used the word nigger in his life, evidence of a tape recording was brought against him as he stated “we have no niggers where we grew up” along with many other citations.
After all of the hardships the background of “nigger” has proven to have had on African-American ancestry, why would urban youth even insert the word into their vocabulary? And, most of the time, use it towards another of color? “Because we can” . Simply stated by a female of urban youth, Nina Peterson. This is

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