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In 2018 there is still a stigma behind the infamous ‘n’ word. It is not 1960 anymore, black people use the word as a formal greeting but as society becomes more open there seems to be confusion, who can say the ‘n’ word? Between the more inclusive movements it would seem everyone could say the heated word but no; the only people who should say the word are the people they directed it towards.
They used the word ‘nigger’ to describe black people in the United States for over 200 years.
It a demeaning term to make black people, or African Americans, feel less than their white counterparts. It became an everyday word around the South and in most of the United States, they referred black people by the word everywhere they went; they did not have a name, for the longest time it was just ‘ nigger.’ So, of course, the word would creep itself into their vocabulary, not as the racist anecdote, but as a common greeting with a little slang at the end, ‘ a gesture of solidarity, a linguistic boomerang, a mirror to shame racists, a technique for cultural exclusion, a booby-trap, and a provocation-all aspects of a long and fractious history.
’ There is almost a universality that someone may never use ‘nigger’ but drop the ‘er’ and add an ‘a’ then the word becomes acceptable.
They have re-purposed the word in books, movies, and music. ‘Nigga’ describes the black persons commonality with each other, another reason they must stick together. Clarence Major adds using the word ‘nigger’ with other black people is, ‘… a tragicomic sensibility that [makes black people] aware of black history.
In an ironic sense black people have turned the word around, claiming it instead of rebuking it. They know the history behind the word and still say it. Popular black rap artists use it often in their songs, they title albums with the word like Jay Z and Kanye West ‘N*ggas In Paris.’ But the issue is not with black people using the word, it is with other races using it. Not that they can track the word and traced that would be impossible. Professor Neal A. Lester started a class to discuss the different properties and contexts of the n word; in an interview he stated, ‘blacks can say it with little social consequence but whites cannot. There’s a double standard about a lot of stuff.’ The double standard being the use of the word, how can one race be given their own word and expect others not to say it? The simple answer is because it is still a derogatory term. Racism is still alive and well today, they can still use the word maliciously,’ In March 2014, Robert Copeland, the police commissioner of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, was chatting at a restaurant when he referred to President Obama as a ‘nigger’.’ With anti black sentiment still in society who’s to say another race is mocking or calling blacks,’ niggers’. When Barack Obama was president several white politicians accused him of being Muslim, they mocked his wife for,’ being too muscular’ they even said she,’ looked like a cast member of the ‘Planet of the Apes.”If someone like Barack Obama can face racism in the highest office a person in the United States can have, what happens to the rest of the black community?
Blacks look the saying of the word as a choice, like any word or phrase, someone can stop themselves from saying the word just like one can stop themselves from cursing. There has even been modifications for non- black people to not say the word like Amines concert version of “Caroline” where he stated where the n word would have been “ if you’re not black don’t say it” or even in Kendrick Lamar’s concert where a fan said the word while singing along to the song and he politely stopped to address the issue. The influence of black people is undeniable. Clothing, music, dance,and slang are the most prominent signs of black culture in the United States. Black people are often looked at for the latest trends the same goes for slang. Because of their influence the n word is looked at as a right of passage into a very exclusive club, one where the most famous of artist use the word without consequence. If a popular, black ,artist uses the n word in a song why can a person who is not black not say it?
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