American Culture: The N Word Essay

American Culture: The N Word Essay

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Words hold great weight and hold histories that span many people and many generations. No word has been more notorious in American culture than the word nigger. The word was first introduced in 1442 when the Portuguese arrived in sub-Saharan Africa and referred to the people as “Negros”. This simple thought experiment might bring the effect this word has had to light: take the amount of people this word has affected in a negative way and multiply it by the amount of time they lived. The product will be the amount of total years this word has had a collective negative effect on society. Let’s look just at the time period of the trans-atlantic slave trade where people were kidnapped from their homes and taken to another continent simply because they were classified as “negros” because of the color of their skin . The trans-atlantic slave trade lasted from the 16th to the 19th century and according to a database compiled in the late 1990s displaced 11 million people. The average life span of a person during this time was 40 years; this means that this simple word caused 440 million years of pain in 3 centuries. But this isn’t the extent of its history. It affected many more people over many more years to come.
The word has had a history of transformation. The word negro was first used to describe the color of peoples skin out of ignorance for any other description or identity and soon became a noun in English. The French word, niger became negre and negress and also played a part in shaping the word nigger. Some speculate that the word nigger came from the mispronunciation of these words by White Southerners. Regardless of its history, the word became established as a derogative name in the early 1800s. Although many ethnic groups ...


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...t and pushed them into the ground has no more influence on them. They use it to show that it has no influence on them and that it actually means a good thing. But to people who understand the weight this word has had on the world and how many people have been degradged and even died because of this word know that under no circumstances will this word ever be acceptable in society and that people of color are now feuling their own opression with its use.
The word nigger has rationalized so much abuse and mistreament. It is a means to put down blacks and its shameful avaliablilty in todays language of people of color is very disappointing. This word captures so much hate and racism more than any other. People of color who use this word give into what it was created for and perpetuate insitutionalized racism and are giving into what the white man has wanted all along.

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