Niggers vs. Niggas

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Ciara L. Brascom ENG 101: Freshman Composition I May 25, 2012 Nigger vs. Nigga: Is It Really A Bad Word and Who Can and Can’t Say It? The word nigger or some may say nigga, though the subject at hand is small of a word. The subject contained within the subject is immeasurable. Nigger is derived from the Latin word for the color black, niger. No one knows precisely when or how niger turned derisively into nigger and attained a derogatory meaning. However, we do know that by the end of the first third of the nineteenth century, nigger had already become a familiar and influential insult. According to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang it did not originate as a slur but took on a negative connotation over time. Though the word wasn’t derived in a derogatory state Europeans translated it to insult and dehumanize Africans that were enslaved. Although we try to familiarize ourselves with basic history, we as African Americans still make use of the word to show a friendly salutation. The usage of the word nigger by any race is insulting and disrespectful to the Africans that were captured brought to America and enslaved and the entirety of the Black race; the usage of the word shows a lack of respect to one’s self as well as the Black race and a lack of understanding for the history, translation and intent of the word nigger. The N-word’s story is horrendous, but not always predictable. How did the word nigger come about? What is the history of the word nigger? Was it just a word that was created for the slavery period to label Africans? Or was it that Europeans saw a race of individuals living in abundance and wanted what they had? The word nigger carries with it much of the hatred and disgust directed toward Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, and mocked African Americans. It was a term of segregation, a
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