What’s up my nigga?

I’ve had the argument before that spelling or pronouncing the “N” word differently has two different meanings.

The term “nigga” has become a pop culture term of endearment. Although it still stems from the negative term used during slavery, its become almost acceptable to say. White people, and I’m talking white collar, suburban white people use the term and call each other “niggas”. “What’s up my nigga?” It’s used jokingly and has no negative connotation or racist undertones. The offensiveness is lost because of the context. It doesn’t help that black culture uses the term so freely. Who buys most of the hip hop? White people.

Saying “nigger” – actually pronouncing the “er” – seems to me to be much worse. Clearly racist. This is the kind of thing you hear older white men saying in the backwoods of the deep south. There’s some clear hatred there that still exists, and has for generations.

I think its true that younger black people don’t really know the true meaning of the word. But it’s allowable because their parents, the product of the civil rights movements, have embraced the term. They use it with pride. Its a way to shove the meaning of the word back in the face of white America. Embrace your blackness. I respect that and think it shows a lot of grace. I think it’s over-use in pop culture has really stemmed from basic ignorance though.

As George Carlin says, its not the word. As words are meaningless, its the context it’s used in. Now…. of course there are times when it’s simply not appropriate.

Don’t be afraid to use the word nigger in a discussion of the word itself.

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