Posted by Lewis on March 21, 2005
In Reply to: ORIGIN OF THE WORD,'NIGGER' posted by DA MINISTA on March 21, 2005
: During slavery slaves were sold to the americans by
: portuguese slave traders.
: The americans were buying ,"Ne-gros", which is spanish for black, the slaves owners coined the term, "[N-word]"
: trying to say, "Ne-gro", "Black".
: It did not start out as a derogatory term, it became
: that after slavery to the civil rights movment and today. Blacks today say it means, "A low life person" with that anyone can be a [n-word], this comes from a lack of research. Many blacks call themselves [n-word], why ? I don't know, but it just means, "BLACK".
You are right that the word 'negro' was used instead of 'black' to described dark-skinned people and that 'negro' when pronounced carelessly sounds like 'negra' and then mutates to 'nigga' which with formality of spelling became 'nigger'. However, your post ignores the social context of the word - the word 'negro' or 'nigger' was applied to slaves and so a person being dark-skinned i.e. 'black' being described as a 'nigger' implies that they are of low status (i.e. a slave or ex-slave). Thus when used by a white person about a black person it acquired derogatory connotations from the context. When
slaves were called 'dark goods' that de-personalised them and was a wickedness. Black Africans were far from being the first slaves - the ancient peoples all appeared to accept slavery as a norm and in England in the feudal system, most of the country existed in 'serfdom' which is little different (slavery only being abolished in comparatively recent times). The majority of people held in slavery being kidnapped Africans or their descendents during the 16th-19th centuries established the notion that being dark-skinned implied slave-status and words to remind them of that historic wrong cause offence.
Some people think that 'nigger' is a reclaimable word for people of distant African origin and some people use 'nigga' as the reclaimed spelling, but when all is said and done, the use of the word is 'colorist' and denotes people being lumped together as 'black' when in fact they are like 'white' people - of varied hues and origins.
'Black' is a socio-political statement, not a skin-tone.
Nobody can be truly 'black' as that requires the complete absence of reflected light and nobody can be truly 'white' as even albinos do not reflect all light.
The native Americans got closest with 'paleskins' I reckon, as ironically did the very un-PC people who say 'darkies' - at least those are accurate, even if rather generalising.
So, if as a paleskin, I were going to use it other than in discussion, I would be very careful about context before saying 'nigger/nigga'.
L the pragmatic Liberal.