History: The Word Nigger


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Seems since an NFL player used the word nigger during an altercation with a Black security guard at some concert a few days back, the word nigger has moved to the forefront of conversation. Again.

 

Nigger - Wikipedia

Nigger is a noun in the English language. The word originated as a neutral term referring to black people, as a variation of the Spanish/Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger (“color black”). Often used slightingly, by the mid 20th century, particularly in the United States, it suggested that its target is extremely unsophisticated. Its usage had become unambiguously pejorative, a common ethnic slur usually directed at blacks of Sub-Saharan African descent.

 

 

Nigger - Merriam-Webster

 

Definition of NIGGER

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1
usually offensive; see usage paragraph below: a black person
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2
usually offensive; see usage paragraph below: a member of any dark-skinned race
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3
: a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons <it’s time for somebody to lead all of America’s niggers … all the people who feel left out of the political process — Ron Dellums>
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Usage Discussion of NIGGER

 

Nigger in senses 1 and 2 can be found in the works of such writers of the past as Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, but it now ranks as perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English. Its use by and among blacks is not always intended or taken as offensive, but, except in sense 3, it is otherwise a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry.

Origin of NIGGER

 

alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguesenegro, from negro black, from Latin niger

First Known Use: 1574
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nigger - Wiktionary

 

Etymology

Ultimately from the Latin adjective niger, meaning “black“. Several Romance languages (ItalianSpanish,Portuguese, etc) have the word “negro” meaning “black” (in colour) derived from the Latin “niger”, while French has noir, its nègre being borrowed from Spanish. During the period in America’s history when black workers were shipped to America to work as slaves, this word came to be adopted from the Hispanic South American languages to describe a person of dark skin. Essentially, a “negro” person simply means a “black” person. Through constant repetition of the Spanish word in the American accent, it seems likely that the word was corrupted from “negro” to “niggero” to simply “nigger”.

 

 

SB.TV – Dean Atta – I Am Nobody’s Nigger

 

Uploaded on Jan 27, 2012

Dean Atta’s controversial poem, ‘I Am Nobody’s Nigger’, gets a visual from SBTV’s production arm, Sudden|Black. Featuring prominent figures within the uk music scene, Scorcher, Clement Marfo, Random Impulse, Mic Righteous, Roxxane and Jamal Edwards.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-am… Buy ‘I Am Nobody’s Nigger’ on iTunes all proceeds will be donated to the Stephen Lawrence Charity

Poem by Dean Atta @deanatta
Directed and Produced by Paris Zarcilla @pariszarcilla
Executive Producer Jamal Edwards @jamaledwards
Production Company @SuddenBlack

 

 

 

 

Now you have some history, definition and understanding about a word many know jack shit about.

 

I suggest you read this definitive work on the word nigger:

 

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Nigger and Caricatures

 

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31 Responses

  1. I hate the word because it takes me back to the “Jim Crow Era”,which I choose not to be reminded of.

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  2. Yes. I so hate a word. When I was a counselor. People would call each other that word. Told me a black person could say it not anyone else. I didn’t get it and it has never come out of my mouth.

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  3. ` nice post and very moving video.

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    • Yes but many people are not getting the message from the video.

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      • maybe they’re not really listening. i think many people scan material or listen to a few seconds and hit the like button without knowing what they ‘liked.’

        surely anyone who listened (and i listened a second time before makin this reply!) will absorb the essence of that message.

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      • Thats the problem. It seems the human attention span is shorter and shorter. And we don’t comprehend what we read or hear. Thank you for “getting it.”

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      • it’s ironic that i’m reading, “A Lawyer’s Journey” (Morris Dees Story) and yesterday lovely Silvana handed me a book she bought in Venezuela, “Malcolm X – Road to workers power..:” — It’s a journey back to Mississippi’s horrible history month for me.

        there seemed to be a time when i thought that we were putting racism behind us, but now i watch the news from afar and see that we are still a very primitive species, and it saddens me. there are many ‘followers’ in the world who don’t think for themselves, and there are few deep thinkers who are spiritually advanced who have the backbone to speak up and out and help shange this very-primitive attitude between people. may those with the courage to speak up never grow weary.

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      • Yes, many here in America thought with the election of a Black President, America was finally putting it’s nasty history of racism in the rear view mirror. Not so. In fact electing a Black American as POTUS brought out racist Americans like bringing out roaches is accomplished by turning off the light.

        I plan to shine a bright light on lies & misinformation of the racist roaches, and watching them scurry back into the woodwork.

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    • Hope you are enjoying the season….

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  4. Sorry, I had a call from my son, Mario. Didn’t listen to video until right now. I can remember kids in elementary school calling names. You know the kind. I have always thought that this is so dehumanizing. I guess I reacted to the blog before I have digested it all. Hugs, Barbara

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  5. Great Education Piece Mr Hack!. One should have no questions about what this word means. or it’s usage…your lesson plan is displayed in perfect detail and gives pure clarity …. Meaning Simply NO DOUBTS, should remain if one has at least a basic elementary level education. Thank you for breaking it down in simplistic form with written & visual with a verbal.
    If one does not “Get It” after following this… well Enuff Said!
    sharing

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    • Hey There Ms. Carrots….how have YOU been? Staying out of trouble?? ;-)

      Thank you for the kind words!!

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      • Hi Peas, yes I am staying out of trouble to the point of boring LOL… dealing with my job playing their politics and using me as a pawn to get to someone else …smh…but I am ok and plans to go dance the night away this Sat. to some good Ole School music ..:) Oh tried to call you yesterday am..just to check on you sir :) bigg Huggs

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      • You boring? Not likely. When U taking a vacation from your job issues?

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      • that remains to hang in the ???? column …sadly

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      • Yes me Boring , it must be if I am boring myself LOL

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      • OH GOSH I’m going to take a vacation from those issues as soon as I can replace it with some other income…lord knows I want to just walk LOL.. and trust me I have been beyond boring I’m sure hahaha

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  6. I do so hope that EVERYone stopped using this term. The fact that so many people call each other nigga – nigger gives others the simple right to use the same. What is it that people don’t get?
    So many great men and women have risen and fought and still there are those that blasphemise themselves and each other thinking it is cool. Pull your fuckin’ pants up boys.
    What really, really pisses me off is that if I (capital I) say nigger it is practically a crime.
    Very often young rappers/ hiphoppers on Twitter will ask me to ‘check out’ their tunes. The filth of shooting, disrespect for themselves and others turns my stomach and yet I cannot answer back to give them a proper slap upside the head without an outpouring of bull.

    Okay – well you have hit a sore spot today Jueseppi – I think of MLK and M X and wonder what they must feel and think even beyond the grave after all the hard work they did for their race.

    The End.

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    • I think the video poem says it best Ms. Lesley.

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      • It does indeed but who will reach the insiders who are keeping the word alive and cool? Who will pull the lot together and have enough clout to erase it. It really irritates me that big names don’t come down hard – Usher, Flo Ryda, 50 cent, Chris Brown and upteen more stand up muscians who can and do speak the language needed to cut it out – along with so many other issues that are so big they deserve their own blog posts. Of course you have hit on many :)

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      • Thank you Ms. Lesley, your words are very encouraging. ;-)

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  7. I REALLY hate that word. :(

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  8. So you think this word should be used? I think it is really awful.

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