The English word “nigger” is known to be a derivative variant of foreign words for black (e.g., “negro” means black in Spanish and Portuguese, “nègre” means negro in French, and “niger” means black in Latin). However, the word is more infamously known as a racial slur used derogatorily by racists to offend and demean people of African descent, and sometimes people without white skin or Aryan ancestry. The word nigger is an epithet, meaning a descriptive term or phrase used to reference an object’s characteristics. I’ve read a plethora of literature on American slavery and the history of “nigger”, and knowledge of the word’s initial use as a pejorative term is indeterminate. Knowing the word nigger is a derivation of multiple words from several languages with homogeneous definitions, spelling, and pronunciation, I personally don’t believe it’s possible to pinpoint the actual period the word was first used. Although, there’s no need to assume why the word has been used for the past four centuries. Racial bias and bigotry have been prevalent in America since 1492, when Christopher Columbus discovered how peacefully Native-Americans were living and incited the European colonization that ruined their lives, which also prompted the forcible migration of blacks from their native continent of Africa. I believe it’s worth noting that blacks weren’t the first or the only slaves in America. Also, disparaging and slanderous dialogue existed before prejudiced people began to refer to blacks as niggers. As a black man, I’m perplexed by the hullabaloo and controversy encompassing the continued use of the word nigger. The arguments and motions taken to condemn the use of a word that’s already perceived as incongruous are futile and trivial. “Nigger” is just a word, and I believe words are more defined by cognizance than formal explanations. For instance, an overt racist could call me a “nigger” or just a “black boy” and I’ll perceive both as an insult, but should I be more offended by the usage of the ethnic slur if I know both phrases are meant to provoke me in the same way? My answer is, no. I’m more concerned with the actions of antagonists than the words they choose to use.
In recent history, an alteration of the word nigger has been utilized as a term of endearment among blacks, that word is “nigga”. Some discern that it’s imprudent to use a word so closely related to a conspicuous slight. Others view the candid and perpetual use of “nigga” as an attempt at reclamation, or an effort to debilitate the negative connotation associated with the word nigger and its historical implication. Personally, I believe disputes against any group’s chosen vernacular will always be unavailing. Discourse on opposition of discourse is pointless. Currently, “nigga” is being used colloquially all around the world by people of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities, especially those who recognize, appreciate, and participate in the popular fashions and trends set and influenced by black culture. Black culture (often referred to as hip hop culture or urban culture) is undeniably universal in the 21st century, unfortunately. American cultures are generally geared toward unhealthy habits, reprehensible practices, vacuous notions, and shameless negligence. And, black culture is by no means an exception to the cliché of American mores. “Live Fast, Die Young”, “You Only Live Once”, “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll”, these are a few of the mottoes that capture the ideology of the typical American enthusiast, they are also popular song titles and hackneyed song lyrics. There are many customs, conventions, ideas, and beliefs that are shared mutually between cultures. For example, everyone loves to have fun and enjoy themselves regularly. But, ofttimes there are more dissimilarities than similarities between cultures. Still, people of all cultures are influenced by some of the same things, and all cultures are consonant with each other to some extent. Because of the open divisiveness amid race relations in America, I think people inadvertently disassociate black culture from popular culture, despite black culture’s omnipresence. The fact is, regardless of perspective, black culture has the most ubiquitous influence on youths, globally. Nonetheless, black culture’s influence is, without question, the primary cause of the exorbitant inner-city murder rates, the perpetuation of African-American stereotypes, the decline in quality of music and entertainment, and so much more.
Niggas, niggas, niggas. There’s so much I could say about niggas. I could rant for days about how niggas create their own hardships by making conscious irrational decisions, which lead to situations they know will evoke austerity and privation, and that will promote desperate actions that are obviously bound to leave them desolate in a cell behind bars. How could anyone have the audacity to conclude that spending any amount of time incarcerated for an injudicious act is honorable or something to be proud of? I don’t know. But, I could also proclaim my revulsion for nigga shit by expressing how ludicrous it is to believe that displaying tenacious aggression, being infuriatingly argumentative, being insistently confrontational, being annoyingly petty, and being alarmingly sensitive are somehow signs of masculine dominance and not symptoms of acute emotionalism. Does it make sense for someone to be so bold as to respond to every slightly testing situation with undue emotion while that person wholeheartedly believes showing emotion is emasculating? No, it doesn’t make sense. You see, niggas got life fucked up, but let me elaborate. Black culture is everchanging, but opposed to evolving it’s presently in a state of devolution. Cultures determine social norms, and they indicate the standards and guidelines that many people live by. Personally, I’ve always been a freethinker and my actions and beliefs are based on logic and rationale, not trends and fads. But, I understand that many people conform and acquiesce for the sake of acceptance and commonality. The troubles within black culture are congruous with the ills of society. For instance, in the 60s, 70s, and early-80s, black music was themed around loving a woman, being a decent person, and triumphing through adversity. But, in the late-80s hardcore hip hop music was introduced, and then black music’s themes began to sway toward the degradation of women, violence, and enjoyment in living a rough, gritty, fast, felonious street life. However, music is often impacted by reality. Hip hop music in the 80s was a direct reflection of life in America’s inner-cities. Gang violence was pandemic, and drugs and money turned a lot of women into prostitutes and gold diggers. Oscar Wilde said it best when he professed, “life imitates art far more than art imitates life”. Yet, nothing can vindicate hip hop artists for their propensities toward the glamorization and glorification of despicable deeds and impetuous deportment. Moreover, it’s not only music that depicts life’s tribulations and encourages witless buffoons to behave irresponsibly. Movies, folk tales, books, propaganda, and all forms of entertainment that instigate ideas are blameworthy.
I believe it’s counterintuitive for a person to desire a satisfying life without taking the proper steps and measures to optimize their chances of fulfilling that desire. In other words, niggas need to grow up and open their eyes. Understand this, Doughboy and O-Dog are fictional characters from movies based on actual events, so mimicking their actions will induce real-life consequences. T.I. and Young Jeezy are degenerate, convict rappers that bolster the complexities of being destitute adolescents that grow up around violence in poverty, and that are burdened with the seemingly obligatory ultimatum of either succumbing to the allure of a criminal lifestyle or being a mediocre average Joe with a day job. Pain, affliction, and misery are not implements of life that warrant gratification, and intentionally inflicting misfortune on yourself is indefensible, and just plain ole stupid. Individuals hold the responsibility to govern their own credence and to differentiate the fantasy of entertainment from the reality of real life. Belligerence and buffoonery aren’t requisites of excitement and enjoyment. There’s nothing manlier than expressing affection for your woman, caring for your loved ones, and providing for your family. Inordinate aggression and bumptiousness are indications of mental fragility, not mental fortitude. Success is a lot less complicated when you make cogent choices and contemplate the ramifications of your actions before you make final decisions. Those are facts, but in spite of those things, niggas would still rather “turn up” than wake up, they’d rather get high than elevate their minds, they’d rather roll deep than think deeply, they’d rather get money than get paid, they’d rather “pop off” than fight for a noble cause, and that’s all unfortunate. Withal, I’d be remiss if I omitted the fact that there is absolutely, positively no such thing as a “real nigga”. Being a genuine, strong-minded, and virtuous person with honesty, decency, and uncompromising integrity are all the qualities a person needs to be considered “real”. I’m done, but I’ll leave you with this, and certainly you’ve heard this before, you reap what you sow.