Meaning of the Word Nigger

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Ebony Sowell

November 5, 1998

Dr. Osinubi

The Meaning of the Word "Nigger"

I can recall the first time I paid close attention to the word nigger. In junior high a school fight would occur about every week and of course the whole school would gather together and watch. Well this particular fight sticks out in my mind because it was between two boys of different races, Hispanic and black. During their conflict the Hispanic boy bluntly called the black boy a nigger, and that was when the rest of the black students became verbally involved. I remember screaming out " who do you think you are calling him that?" If the white, Hispanic, or any other race calls us a nigger, we as black people become hostile. Now that I have put more thought into that incident, I ask myself who do we think we are calling each other the same name we became so offended by when a person of another race addressed us that way?

Since I have heard this word used around me many times before by my relatives and friends, I never paid much attention to it. According to Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary the word nigger means 1: a black person usually taken to be offensive. 2: a member of any dark skinned race usually taken to be e4deoffensive. 3: a member of a socially disadvantaged class of person .

When used by black people, the word nigger was seldom used in a derogatory manner. More often it is applied to someone who had prove himself, positively, in some situation: " How much money does she have."

"That nigger making about $6,000."

There are times when it is used in a derogortory manner within the black community

Why do black people speak of the word in such a positive way when in actuality the word has a very negative meaning? If our ancestors fought for every right our black community possess, we are showing no self pride in calling each other the same name we fought so hard to get rid of. Nigger is considered the most degrading word used in...
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