Does the word Nigger offend you?

15 Sep

UPDATE: A lot of people read this. I would very much appreciate your thoughts and comments

It’s funny the power of words. The difference in affect a word can have, in different communities, across countries, across the globe. The word Nigger is one of these, over time due to politics, political correctness, equality, racism. Everything really. The word has gone through so many changes, from being used everyday as a description, to becoming an insult, and to finally today. Where on one side of the world it is seem as a racism comment – which is slowly changing even now. On the other side of the world it is being “Reclaimed”. In all these communities there are groups of people using one word in completely different context’s.

For some calling a person a Nigger is seen as racist, where as for others it is descriptive. In other groups the term is used both as a compliment and a sign of one-ness, of brotherhood. Whilst at the same time can be used as an insult.

What I wonder, does the word Nigger offend you? What about all the other words in this great language that have such subtle nuances from one house to the next.

If you think about it, words can only hurt if you want them too, surely if, logically, you can take a word in any context then it cannot offend….

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14 Responses to “Does the word Nigger offend you?”

  1. jay3arr 19 September, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    I am a Black Male, and Yes, the word nigger does offend me. I personally don’t use the word and hate when other blacks use it. Being that the term originated from a time of oppression, and forced superiority it will never be a “term of endearment” to me, or mean anything positive, coming from anyone’s lips. Check out my blog here on WordPress. I commented on Dr. Phil’s show last week that totally focused on the topic.

    jay3arr.wordpress.com

  2. Alex Towler 21 September, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    This is part of the point. The term used to be used as a form of hatred and oppression. But as with the word gay or fanny. In different places, and over time these words meanings have and will carry on to change. For people to be insulted still is silly. You were not a live when the word originated with negative connotations and you live in a time when it is a near opposite. So surely you are holding a grudge for your grand, or great-grand parents who are most likely not alive anymore

  3. jay3arr 14 October, 2008 at 6:41 am #

    Regardless of when I, or any African American was born, the term still, and always will possess the same meaning, that of degredation. The word gay means, someone who is homosexual. When has that definition ever changed??? The N word is defined as a racially offensive word. You obviously equate the word “gay” with negativity considering your comparison, but that is not the case. The two words should NEVER be compared.

    To quote you…

    “The term used to be used as a form of hatred and oppression….You were not a live when the word originated with negative connotations and you live in a time when it is a near opposite.”

    Used to be???Are you saying that people don’t use this word to degrade and disrespect Blacks? If you believe this, you’re living on a different planet. Racism exists, if you haven’t noticed, and it isn’t going anywhere. You are right, I wasn’t alive when the word originated, but my ancestors were, and I have heard the stories. I’ve seen the tears roll down the cheeks of the people that I love at the hands of racists. I honestly think that NO person outside of the African American race will EVER, EVER, EVER understand the true severity of the word.

    Last but not least, There is absolutely no other word in the English language that is as demeaning and offensive as the “N” word. Being that this is coming from an African American you should take time to consider what I am saying to you rather than try to tell me I’m wrong for the way I feel.

    PEACE…

    jay3arr.wordpress.com

  4. Alex Towler 14 October, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    I’m not telling you your wrong for the way your feeling. But as you freely admitted. The word was an insult and offense to your ancestors. Unless you have suffered in “The same way” then you can’t feel the same about the word. It may still insult or upset you but it won’t cause the same personal pain.

    The word Gay means homosexual, but it didn’t used to. Words change. The word Gay used to mean happy – and now, homosexual. So, no, I wasn’t “obvious equate the word ‘gay’ with negativity” I don’t equate the word Nigger with negativity eigther. As said, words lose their meaning over time. And so Gay and Nigger are perfect comparisons in my eyes because, like the word – Gay, I believe Nigger has and will continue to lose its potentcy and meaning.

  5. Alex Towler 14 October, 2008 at 8:59 am #

    I know it’s not the most reliable source but:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay

    Talking about the history of the word Gay and its root’s in the English language

  6. Alex Towler 14 October, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    And comparatively:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger

    Word’s don’t always hold the same meaning, they change over time.

  7. ukebloke 14 October, 2008 at 11:58 pm #

    Nice one for re-opening this highly contentious old can of worms. I abhor racism and bigotry in general and agree with you, that words change in meaning and potency over time. As you observed, a lot of people still find this word deeply offensive and for that reason, it should still be treated with caution. Personally, I don’t find the word offensive, just the way it’s used by too many ignorant bigots.

    Whilst we’re on the subject, to paraphrase Stephen Fry: what a twisted world we live in, where it’s perfectly acceptable to use evil terms like murder and torture (e.g. “He’s late; I’ll murder him when he gets home” / “Watching that play was absolute torture”), but taboo to use slang relating to the generally peaceful and often joyful act of sex. What’s wrong with f*ck and c*nt? I’ll tell you: nothing.

    BTW, a belated happy birthday 🙂

  8. jay3arr 15 October, 2008 at 4:44 am #

    Just to let you know, this will be my last comment on this subject, so you don’t have to worry about any further ranting from my direction. The reason I will no longer be involved in this back-an-forth discussion is because I don’t think you will ever realize where I am coming from. On YOUR post YOU asked a question… “Does the word nigger offend you?” and I answered. YES IT DOES. Now you are telling me that I am wrong for being offended by an overtly poisonous word. If you had any compassion or respect for the feelings of others, you would be able to take in someone else’s point of view instead of telling me to get over it. Should those of the Jewish faith forget the Holocaust? That was an integral part of their history, exactly like slavery was an integral part of the history of African Americans. I know it’s hard for someone on the outside looking in, so i guess I shouldn’t ask you to show any empathy. Obviously on this subject, you cannot.

  9. Alex Towler 15 October, 2008 at 8:52 am #

    I want to just say I am greatful for your input in this discusssion and if you do not want to comment on this anymore I understand.

    Your right I find it difficult to empathise with people. My post was talking about many things, the least of these was the question of offence. In my original post my closing comments say that it’s all down to how YOU individually WANT to interpret a word. “If you think about it, words can only hurt if you want them too, surely if, logically, you can take a word in any context then it cannot offend….” I have not once asked told you, that you are wrong. “I’m not telling you your wrong for the way your feeling. But as you freely admitted. The word was an insult and offense to your ancestors.” – It is in the past, and word’s do change. If we give it another 50 years and come back to this post I think a lot of people would be asking what the big deal is about. I like to think about words. Nothing I have said is intended as an insult but mearly to take a logical view on things and question obsurdities in our gut/natural reaction to the simplest of things. At the end of the day, it’s just a word and it WILL change.

  10. Taylor Harris 20 January, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    The word nigger does in some ways offend me because being young and a smat young lady there are some things people should and should not say to someone espally of that race

    • Alex Towler 20 January, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

      What I wonder though is why you think it shouldn’t be said? When all’s said and done a word is just a word – it’s down to the inflection and context?

  11. chloé 22 January, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    i agree it is just a word, i would assume people would call you a pom & people call me an aussie
    i’m proud to be an aussie, mate 😉

    some people just have chips on their shoulders & they need to “get over it”

    i feel better now lol

    where have you been by the way(?) not chats lately..

  12. rachel 4 February, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    jay3arr
    to that guy gay means happt so blah

  13. Elvis Nielsen 27 May, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    If I had a buck for each time I came to crystalgeek.wordpress.com… Incredible writing.

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