Nigger to Nigger

by: Frederick Foote

No matter how much whites and blacks despise the idea of the Nigger and the word itself, the use of the word reflects our continuing reality of racism and oppression.” A brief but poignant examination of “The N Word”…

Nigger

Nigger is an offensive term to many people in the United States. The term has an invidious history of demeaning people of African descent. It is a despised term for many whites and blacks yet, at the same time, it is a term of affection among some blacks when used by other blacks.

Let us define Nigger as a low-born creature of limited potential and social use and more importantly inferior to those of the white race. Let us also note that there is a dimension of savagery, sexual lust, and brutish behaviors associated with the definition of the word. Hip-hop music has expanded the use of the term and its variations (Nigga) into a nearly universal presence.

No matter how despised the terms, Nigger, and Nigga, are alive and thriving.

Nigger was, and is still, used to define people of African descent in the United States as a lesser race or as subhuman or as animalistic and depraved. This idea that there is a race hierarchy with whites at the top and all others on a lower level is the foundation for the concept of the Nigger. One of the great and continuing contributions of the USA to world history and culture is the concept of the Nigger.

The citizens and institutions of this country have spread the vile idea of the Nigger to every corner of this planet. On our military bases, in our foreign business operations, our tourist travels and government posts, we have carried, cherished and nourished the idea of the Nigger. It is one of our most significant cultural exports.

The United States’ domestic and international news and entertainment media have spawned, maintained, and thrived on delivering the concept of the Nigger at a profit. From Birth of a Nation to Nina, our media denigrates blacks and promotes European standards. In the U.S. the Nigger is evident in the political parties that are divided and defined by race and in the residential segregation that is the foundation for our unequal education systems.

You can see the Nigger concept clearly when you look at the life expectancy of blacks and whites in this country. Our criminal justice system is one of our most monumental expressions of the continuing power of the Nigger concept.

No matter how much whites and blacks despise the idea of the Nigger and the word itself, the use of the word reflects our continuing reality of racism and oppression. The USA is built, organized, and fueled by the concept of race and the idea of the Nigger. The U.S. has defined itself as a white nation. The distinction between black and white is critical to the identification of the people and the nation. There would be no United States of America without the Nigger.

Condemning, censoring, or ignoring the word misses our racist reality and deflects us from understanding our history, our present times and our future. When and if the United States accepts responsibility for creating, caring for, and nurturing the race and nigger concepts and addresses the consequences of this misbegotten husbandry we may start to understand the power and methods of nigger creation and perpetuation.

I’d like to offer an expanded definition of Nigger as a person or group who would deny the humanity of others based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sex or gender/sex orientations or other immutable features. And, I would add to the definition those who know or should know about the nigger creation process central to this countries’ being and its impacts and do nothing to oppose it.

Under this revised definition, we are, most likely, speaking Nigger to Nigger.

So, Nigger, I could spare your delicate ears and sensitive disposition by referring to Niggers by other terms such as, Negro, African-American, Afro-American, or black, however, these are just polite versions of Nigger –  the words may change but the meanings remain the same.

So, Nigger, check the articles below to shed some light on the above claims or just get up, get in your car and drive to Nigger Town. Ask yourself, “Why does Nigger Town exist?” And, “Why do I live elsewhere?” Nigger, our racist realities speak louder than numbers or words could ever express.

Residential Segregation / Political Affiliation / Life Expectancy / Media Racism / US Criminal Justice System

3 Comments

  • Creepier still….white and black use the word ‘Niggles’ without a blink of where it derives from or whether they consider it an acceptable term to use.

  • I think if we as black people stopped using the word, it would die out eventually and I would be more than happy to see it go. Reappropriation of the word has does nothing but keep it in the vernacular of mainstream culture. I find that repugnant. I believe we have the power to change it, no matter how racist our society is. In fact, I believe that our continued use of the word has actually come full circle – back to bite us in the ass – a constant reminder of a past we grow increasingly distant from, though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Your essay is suggesting that, for better or for worse, black Americans are visible on a global level. This is our time to change what being black looks like, sounds like, and feels like.

  • Heather, thank you for reading and responding to my essay “Nigger to Nigger.” However, I do not believe that if every black person in the United States stops using the term nigger, it will die away. Nigger is embedded in our culture from Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to much of our hip hop music.

    Nigger is such a powerful term that it is a critical part of our history and culture. To understand our nation, you have to understand the origins and history of this word.

    In any case, the word is now international and is beyond retrieval by blacks or whites in the US.

    White Americans created the term nigger, and now some feel embarrassed and threatened by their ancestor’s creation. It may be more effective to understand and address the racism and discrimination that are the foundation for the nigger concept. These foundation factors still exist and deserve more attention than the word Nigger.

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