Why 'N*a'and 'N*er' are different and why they are the same *WARNING*Submitted by andysavestheday on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 12:55
*Warning – if you are offended by the usage of ‘nigger,’ ‘nigga’ or a frank discussion of race and culture, please be warned that this piece is very blunt and while I do not believe it is racist at all, you may think differently.
Rachel Jeantel became nationally known after she testified in the Zimmerman trial involving the death of a Florida resident named Trayvon Martin. In an interview on CNN she recently described the difference between the word ‘nigga’ and ‘nigger,’ a subtle difference that seems to only make sense to the ‘new school’ or current generation.
She is wrong.
In today’s world the word ‘nigger’ still means the same hateful thing it meant in recent history:
The word ‘nigger’ has a long history. From it’s roots in Latin languages (negro is Spanish for black), to it’s beginnings in the Western world as a non-offensive descriptive term denoting the dark skin-color of an individual, to a hate-filled word used to label an individual (often directed at those with dark skin) as ignorant and inferior, ‘nigger’ may mean different things to different people today but it will never loose the sting of being one of the most ugly racial slurs ever muttered.
The word ‘nigga’ has a rather short history compared to the word ‘nigger’ from which it is considered an offshoot. According to Rachel Jeantel the word ‘nigga’ doesn’t mean what most people think it means. Numerous sources, including www.urbandictionary.com, indicate that ‘nigga’ can actually be used as a word of endearment, and that the word can refer to an individual of any race.
Utter the word ‘nigger’ today and no matter what your skin color you will get a few sideways glances; the word has an ugly history attached to it and NOTHING is going to change that – and nothing should change that. History is important because we can learn from history and hopefully keep from repeating it. ‘Nigger’ should always be a despised word.
Utter the word ‘nigga’ today and depending upon your skin color, the skin color of those around you and your environment, no one will think anything of it. Comedians and musicians routinely use the word ‘nigga.’ Depending upon skin color the word can be used to sound cool or tough or friendly. Phrases like ‘that nigga is crazy’ or ‘that’s my nigga’ are common in many circles. ‘Nigga,’ as it is used today, is nearly synonymous with once commonly used words such as ‘chum’ or ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’ or ‘guy.’
The problem is that ‘nigga’ has a unique history.
Only a few generations ago there was no such word as ‘nigga.’ There was only ‘nigger.’ There was no friendly variant or appropriate usage of the word ‘nigger.’ To call an individual a ‘nigger’ was, for a time, meant to make someone seem as less than human and inferior in every way. The attitude behind the use of the word ‘nigger’ caused strong families to live in fear, upstanding citizens to be marginalized, and peaceful youths to grow angry and violent.
To believe that the word ‘nigga’ is somehow made any different today simply by dropping the ‘-er’ from ‘nigger’ and tacking on an ‘-a’ signals both a misunderstanding of history and a foolish view of the world we live in.
‘Nigga’ means the exact same thing ‘nigger’ means: an individual that is inferior or ignorant – the superficial difference is that the word ‘nigga’ is often celebrated and mass-marketed while ‘nigger’ is still relegated to the whispers of hateful people and the pages of history books.
The real difference is that the word ‘nigga’ does not discriminate based on skin color – any individual of any race can be a ‘nigga,’ even a ‘Chinese’ individual as Rachel Jeantel said in her television interview.
‘Nigga’ no longer identifies race, it identifies a culture or a lifestyle.
To qualify as a ‘nigga’ in today’s world an individual must look a certain way, act a certain way, speak a certain way, think a certain way and live a certain lifestyle.
A ‘nigga’ in today’s culture relies heavily upon government assistance, places a great deal of importance upon material things, celebrates violence and superiority, listens to a very specific type of music, wears specific name brand clothing in a specific kind of way, often uses drugs or alcohol, is uneducated, lacks respect for any type of authority as well as the rights and freedoms of other individuals.
The fact that most may think I am describing a ‘black individual’ is the very hurdle that we must clear – popular culture, television, music, Hollywood and even government WANT you to believe that a ‘nigga’ is a black individual by associating brand names or musical styles or attitudes with the word because it creates the very division and hatred we often define as racism.
Racism, epitomized decades ago by the word ‘nigger,’ divided a nation and gave rise to the last great generation of individuals that were willing to rebel against the idea that they were somehow less free than any other race or people.
Racism, epitomized today by the word ‘nigga,’ has divided a nation and given rise to a generation not defined by the color of their skin but rather by the ideals, culture, dependency, and lack of respect for self that have poisoned the character of the heart of so many individuals of ALL races.
The simple truth is that a ‘nigga’ in today’s world is the direct consequence of a system created by government and popular culture, a system that I believe has (unintentionally or intentionally) created a culture of accepting ‘inferiority’ as a sick alternative to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
There are multiple facets such as the breakdown of the family unit, the lost desire to better the self and the community, co-dependency, ‘free’ money, the endless consumerism of greed and on and on that can and should be discussed.
We should rise above the division of manufactured ‘pop culture’ racism and work together to counteract these bad habits and dangerous beliefs that are infecting a society of diverse peoples and races.
The requirements of being a ‘nigga’ seem deplorable and widely undesirable at face value, yet popular culture promotes them and many younger individuals of the ‘new generation’ yearn to fit into the tyrannical mold of being a ‘nigga.’
The very things that are being degraded by this system – dignity, respect, character, family, religion, self-control, diligence, freedom, liberty, etc. – are the very things that can counteract this problem and better the lives of so many individuals, more and more of which are willingly beginning to choose this type of lifestyle.
We MUST realize that being a ‘nigga’ has NOTHING to do with skin color and EVERYTHING to do with attitude, environment, identity, self-worth, freedom and liberty.
We must understand the history of the word ‘nigger’ and never forget the hatred, tragedy and lessons associated with that vile word; and we must begin to clearly define and combat the rapid misunderstanding of the word ‘nigga’ as a cultural identity for a ‘new generation’ in today’s world.