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The N Word Essay

1777 words - 8 pages

The words Negro, nigger, and nigga have always been a sensitive topic, yet it is a topic that needs to be addressed in light of the more common use of its vernacular. One word is used to describe a color, while the others are used to define a people. It’s very clear to many the negative connotation these words carry, but where did these words come from? Furthermore, is there a difference between the word nigger and nigga; and why is it that African-Americans now use the word nigga to degrade each other in today’s society? These words, in spite of their spelling, still holds the same degrading power as it did during the time of slavery, and they are still spoken out of cruelty and ignorance, but who is to blame? Can one still blame the Spaniards for considering people of a darker skin tone –Black? Can we blame the Europeans for perpetuating their hatred and ignorance of superiority over a race of people to the point they felt it lawful to define and dehumanize them? Or does the blame lie with the African-American race as we use this degrading labeling on our own kind, thus becoming the victimizer. Either way nigger or nigga are words that should be eliminated from the vocabulary of every human being.
According to Anthony T. Browder in from The Browder File: 22 Essays on the African-American Experience, “The Portuguese were the first to enslave Afrikans and they were the first to call them Negroes. When the Spanish became involved in the slave trade, they also used the word Negro to describe Afrikans. The word Negro is an adjective to describe the color Black in Portuguese and Spanish, but during the slave trade it became a noun used to describe a race of people” (qtd. in Trinicenter, par. 1). It is ironic that the word Negro is so closely related to the Greek word Necro, which means death. Death is exactly what came with being a Negro, when it came to European slavery. The Europeans were conduits of physical, mental, and spiritual death to enslaved Africans and eventually to African-Americans. It is not clear how the word nigger came to be, but Lerone Bennett, Jr., senior editor of Ebony magazine notes, that Americans of African descent have been arguing about names ever since they were forcibly transported from Africa by Europeans who arbitrarily branded them "Blackamoors," "Moors," "negers," and "negros" (Ebony 23). The Europeans no longer used the word to describe a color, but used it to describe a people. No matter what the origin, this word was used as a weapon to destroy and kill the mind and spirit of a race, and has become the self-fulfilling prophecy for many African-Americans today. So many people have forgotten or either do not realize the destruction behind this racial slur; that it has simply become another by-word with a forgotten history.
Ignorance is the state of being uneducated, unaware, or uniformed. There is an old saying, “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you,” but I contend that what you don’t know can stifle you from...

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