The word “neger” (obviously derived from the word “negro” which is Spanish for “black”) was first documented in America in 1619 to describe African slaves being brought over to work in the Americas. However, it had no negative connotations until the 1900’s and was considered the appropriate term for black people until the mid to late 1800’s. The stigma attached to the word grew as it became less acceptable to even say, much less direct it at a person.
There aren’t too many words in the English language that are as polarising as the word ‘nigger’ (or more commonly nowadays ‘nigga’ thanks to hip hop culture). If you’re a white person and you drop the ol’ N-bomb in a crowd then people start running scared like you’d dropped a real bomb. The word is considered to be such a no-no that a lot of people abbreviate it to “the N word”, which is beyond retarded. Let’s hear a word from one of our sponsors on the subject:
I like this bit that Louis did because I feel much the same way about the word ‘cunt’ as I do the word ‘nigger’. It’s quite a rarity that I would ever use the word cunt to describe a vagina. Cunt is a term I reserve purely for other human beings. This cunt, that cunt, that ugly cunt, that fat cunt, etc. When one of my friends calls me one of the first questions I usually ask is “what are you up to cunt?” To the extent that the word is such a big part of my vocabulary, that when I go on a date with a woman for the first time one of the first questions I ask her is “so how do you feel about the word cunt?” If she screws up her face and says it’s a horrible word and she doesn’t like it, than I think to myself “well you’re a bit of a dumb cunt” and run away when she goes to the bathroom. If she smiles and says she uses it all the time then we have a winner. How could I have a relationship with someone who gets offended by a word I use so frequently? It would be a disaster!
So while the word nigger isn’t as much of a part of my lexicon as the word cunt, it’s still an old favourite and gets used regularly. There are a few reasons for this. One is because when I was young I listened to a lot of hip hop music where the word was used liberally. I also watched a lot of what my dad distastefully calls “black films” which were comedies with you guessed it – black people in them. Some of my favourite stand-up comedians were guys like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy who used the word all the time and often to great comedic effect. Later on came dudes like Dave Chappelle who also used the word nigger in a lot of his skits, so some of my fondest memories of laughing my sphincter off were related to the word nigger. For instance:
Another reason I like to use the word nigger is because I’m pretty against racism. That’s right, I like to use one of the most racist terms with one of the most heinous etymologies imaginable to combat racism. The word is inextricably linked with violence and brutality on black psyches and derogatory aspersions cast on black bodies. No degree of appropriating can rid it of that blood soaked history I agree. But by using it as a form of comedy (and often aimed at people who aren’t actually black!) I am effectively debasing the power of the word to be used as a racial slur. Like Louis CK said in his stand-up routine, there’s no such thing as bad words – that’s just bullshit propagated by PC fucktards with half a brain. The more negative attention and energy you give towards something – the more you empower it.
Context is everything. Do I refer to black people as being niggers? All the time. Am I doing so because I can’t stand black people or think I’m better than them? Assuredly not. I’ve had many black friends in my lifetime and from different parts of the globe. I once punched a kid in the face and knocked him into a swimming pool because he called my Sri Lankan friend Jono ‘Black Magic’ and told him to show him some tricks. The trick that young man got shown was a good smack right in the kisser and deservedly so. I’ve listened to music made by black people all my life, supported black athletes and enjoyed many films and TV shows made and starring black people. Hardly the actions of someone who hates black people or thinks he’s somehow superior to them. But I reserve the right to use any word I see fit, the idea that a certain race of people have ownership of a word in itself seems pretty racist to me.
Now obviously there’s a time and a place for everything and you need to pick your battles wisely. I wouldn’t rock up to a bunch of black dudes playing street ball in Harlem and say “What’s up my niggas?” I’m sure that probably wouldn’t end well for me. Unless I was with my own crew of hardcore niggas in which case it would be totally fine. The other black dudes would probably respect the fact that as the sole white guy in a group of straight up gangstas I must’ve done some crazy ass shit to impress the niggas I was with and am not to be fucked with.
But to my friends (black or white) I say it all the time. They know me well enough to know that I’m not a racist and that I make fun of everyone equally. Niggers, Jews, Wetbacks, Slopes and especially white people – no one is safe from my derision. In a country like Australia with so many different ethnicities and cultures it’s hard not to appreciate some solid racial stereotype humour.
To me, PC morons that parrot on about “casual attitudes” towards racism (referring to racist jokes at any rate – not actual racial vilification or discrimination) are living in fear and are part of the problem. They are the ones causing discontent between races by spreading that fear and constantly making reference to a pink elephant that is only in the room if you imagine it to be so. Scarily enough, they think they are the ones in the right here – I call it the ‘White Knight Syndrome’. Constantly rushing off to defend someone who needs no protection just so they can huff their own farts and feel good about themselves, the worst kind of arselickers in my opinion.
So to sum up, you don’t have to be black to be called a nigger.
But it helps.