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Nigger vs. Nigga: Is one better than the other

Updated on March 30, 2012

Not Really!!!

N-Word: Hate and brutality
N-Word: Hate and brutality

Stop the casual use of the n-word

We ain’t niggahs no mo!

400 years of slavery where our women were raped

We were beaten, starved, and lynched

400 hundred years of being degraded

With a word that was formed out of brutality

I can’t understand why the sons of Royalty

Would label themselves as animals

I can’t understand why the root of mankind

Would continue to dishonor those who came before us

We ain’t niggahs no mo!

Term of endearment

Tell that to Malcolm X

Because we are brothas

What family kills itself?

Every time we acknowledge the word niggah

We accept a chain that was intended

To destroy our souls and to delete our humanity

It allows us to see ourselves as less than animals

It helps others justify their guilt

We ain’t niggahs no mo!

Term of endearment

Tell that to James Meredith

Because we are brothas

What family kills itself?

I reject the moniker of hate

It existed in the past

But it does not apply to me

I am a powerful Nubian Prince

Whose legacy was written

Before history was recorded

I am not a nigger anymore

Term of endearment

Tell that to that to those four little girls

Because we are brothas

What family kills itself?

It's time that we realize

That Bob Marley was right

We can ‘emancipate’ ourselves

By throwing off part off the yoke

That binds us to a past of violence

We ain’t niggahs no mo

by Bruce Bean

The poem above was written out of anger. I respect hip-hop and rap artist. I respect their message, but I refuse to listen to most of their music. The reason is simple and it has nothing to do with profanity or their their misogynistic lyrics. It has to do with what leads to their hate of women and that is the use of the word niggahs or any of its variations.

Now, I am not like many people who believe that the n-word should be banned form the planet forever. As a writer, I can see some context in my own life where I would have to write the word because that was what someone said. However, I fault those in the rap community with making the use of the n-word casual among a generation who do not understand its implications.

An example: I took my daughter and two other girls swimming at a public school and saw a group tennis players sitting on the court talking. They were a mixed group and probably representative of today's society. There was only one African-American among the group, two whites, an asian, and a couple of Hispanic kids. They were all males. One of the white kids was speaking and he said "Niggah, fu sho." He said it and then they all saw me and the conversation stopped.

As a teacher, I hear this all the time, but the most disturbing case that I have ever seen involved a student from another country. His parents were West African. He lived there until he was seven years old, yet, here he was seven years later and he had become a niggah to his friends.

I asked him about it and he said simply, it's how I grew up. Now black people have called each other a variation of the n-word for centuries. The question is when will we stop? The word was created to brutalize a people. It was used to rape our mothers and dehumanize our fathers. Yet, young princes and princess's of African heritage use it as if it were a badge. It is not term of endearment. It is a term of hate and you will make it as casual as using the word "Dude" is on a California beach.

Using the word niggah allows rap artist to justify calling our women bitches and hoes and degrading them on stage. Using the word niggah allows us to shoot each other and murder our future. Using the word niggah allows others to justify their brutalization of people of color because they say, "They are just animals anyway." Many of our brothers and sisters have died and niggah was the last word they heard.

Lets cut off this yoke of bondage. I hope my poem did not offend you.


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    • pcharboneau profile image

      pcharboneau 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I have a daughter who is half-black and I overheard my ex-boyfriend's half-black daughter say the word "nigga" one day. I gave her almost exactly the same speech this article says. Lol. I am Native American/Caucasian-mixed and even I know that racism is still rampant in America. The last thing we need is to have that word on the loose to be used as a word of hate.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      What an important subject that needs more attention than it gets. I am a 57 year old white woman who grew up in the south. My school system segregated when I was in the fourth grade. They put one black girl in a class of 35 white kids. Even then I understood racism and how hurtful it could be. I became friends with the lone black girl in my class and the first real fight I ever had with my parents was when I asked if I could bring her home for a weekend stay. My parents were not racist but were protective of me and feared that allowing the visit would bring the wrath of the neighbors down on me. I just couldn't understand.

      For a while, things seemed to get better in our country but today, I am afraid that racism is as bad, if not worse, than ever. The media shoulders some of the responsibility and so does our divided political system. Keep writing! We need to keep the dialogue going and keep educating. Voted up and awesome.

    • SpanStar profile image

      SpanStar 5 years ago

      This was a good hub-nice work.

      For some unknown reason too many of us believe words are just words but the reality is words have power, we cannot be in a crowded theater and simply yell out "FIRE." We cannot use racial epithets or rather shouldn't. Words most definitely have power and as your hub pointed out there at times we are labeled by these words. If we did not believe words have power then why do we watch what we say around little children?

      The idea that life is preordained is not so, we alone create these conditions as a people.

    • Emmeaki profile image

      Emmeaki 6 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      What was crazy was when I once heard a group of kids on the train talking. This one kid was like, "This Indian nigga did such and such, then this Chinese nigga came in and said..." I was thinking WTF? The kid talking was Hispanic and the others were of varying ethnic groups, including black. Somehow "nigga" has replaced "dude" in many kids' minds. It's sad to think that many of them don't even have any knowledge of where the word comes from.

    • profile image

      Burdman 6 years ago

      Dont blame music for problems in society because almost everyone who listens to rap also listens to R&B which talks about love and finding the right girls but rap is more about partying and having fun white women are trapped in abusive marriages and most of them do not listen to rap so your logic is flawed.

    • profile image

      Cadet Jones 7 years ago

      It's rather saddening to see such ignorance from Nae and "white pride," both opposite ends of the dilemma and continuing to degrade the opposite race. I wish they'd just understand that neither side is different and we should all accept each other's personality, culture, and background. Soon it won't matter, regardless. In a few hundred years at this rate, there will be no more single-raced persons, or even of color / non colored skin.

      The amount of procreation between all the different races is beginning to allow many "mixed" babies and children that will only continue to create deeper and deeper mixed children in time. I myself am English, Irish, Scottish, and German. While I know of friends who have so much different blood in them that they literally cannot distinguished their heritage, and are just plain tanned colored.

      One of these days, we will not see each other as "Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander" or any such other notions. Instead, we will all simply be "Humans." The way our species was meant to be, united.

    • profile image

      white pride 7 years ago

      nae.You are just as racist as I am.Grow up and go back to ignorant black human being. But the rest of you are okay.

    • Barraoc profile image

      B.C. Hollywood 7 years ago from Co. Meath, Ireland

      Great hub habueld. Fanon spoke of 'internalisation of inferiority' and how it is essential to the process of racialisation. The n-word and all of it's connotations seems to have been fully internalized in modern times. Use of this word only serves to keep the idea of 'race' afloat, for both the racialised and those in racially privileged positions.

      Many people don't realize that when the Irish first arrived in America they were not considered white at all. This is in large part due to the colonial situation at the time.

    • profile image

      NAE 7 years ago


    • tomdhum profile image

      tomdhum 8 years ago from memphis tn

      outstanding hub/

      Just a thought on racism. I am 53 white male and when I first saw a black man on TV I was surprised. But when I turned the TV off I went on with my life as a white boy. Now a little older ,I wonder when a black man is called a nigger can he just turn a swith and go on with his life? Some Americans they think that racism no longer exist. They think Equal right law make it impossible to be descriminated against. However the rotten smell of racism not only touches the lives of African Americans but reaches as far as their very soul.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Agree 10% with MadameX on this one. Intentionally or unconsciously, continuing to use the word -- even in self-reference -- is degrading. It is a puzzlement why anyone would choose to label themselves an "animal" unless the intent is to turn the word's meaning on its ear and proclaim it proudly. Still, as used in hip-hop music, it's not exactly a positive, is it?

      Love your line about being a Nubian prince. Now THERE'S an image that should be widely cultivated. Great hub and of course you did not offend! MM

    • profile image

      Madame X 8 years ago

      habueld - This is a wonderful hub! I think your message is extremely important. You're right, it is a degrading term and I always feel offended when I hear someone use it. This message has to spread. Good job.