When I hear people of color refer to each other as “niggers”, especially during Black History Month, I makes me feel uncomfortable, but I suppose the freedom of speech that allows such a politically incorrect term to be used even during such a politically sacred month augments its sacredness.
Still, the term "nigger" is tabu to me, so much so that certain Negroes who respect my feelings and who are privileged to use the offensive term as a term of endearment or otherwise, have apologized to me for pronouncing it in my presence. Wherefore it is with great trepidation that I spell it out today. It seems to be in print a lot and on the tip of many tongues during this Black History Month, a month that seems to accentuated the color line in Kansas City and its surrouds - the historical scene of terrible crimes against humanity along racial lines.
I do not know how I would feel if someone called me "nigger." I would probably consider it an insult. Maybe I would eventually get used to the epithet or even take pride in it. Diverse peoples have from time to time proudly adopted the demeaning names given to them by their enemies: for example, Enemy, Rattlesnake, Helmet Head, Dirty Dog, and so on.
Everyone knows very well that the term "nigger" is from the Latin, niger, meaning "black." I believe the color black is beautiful, yet I find nothing inherently wrong with using the word "Negro" or fundamentally right about using the word "black" in its stead. Incidentally, there are many black whites in Brazil - a little bit of white makes a person officially white; and there are black Caucasians in India. As for "African-American", many Americans resent being hyphenated. Besides, Africans are not all alike - Africa has many peoples and nations. Nor are all Africans black: St. Augustine, for example, was most likely a Berber, and Hannibal was probably of Semitic descent.
Of course it is the intention behind the use of a word that counts in these sensitive matters. Denigrating racial slurs are not appreciated by the persons to whom they are directed. In any case, people will think as they will, and if a word becomes tabu they have a bad habit of substituting another word to express themselves.
Much to Donald Trump's puzzlement, his rap-tycoon friend, the king of Phat, has affectionately called him a "nigga." What does that mean? Who knows? Maybe I will be a white nigga someday.