I've been noticing a certain trend going around most of my Naija friends on facebook: They keep posting and sending this video on their walls (here's the link to the vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEiA83fWF-k). And after I watched it I thought to myself, "I understand the African American perspective of that word to an extent, but wetin concern these Nigerians?" The African American people in the video have a right to be offended by the word 'nigger,' because that was an insulting word used against their ancestors, but this isn't the case for these Nigerians. Keep in mind these are the same people who call their African American companions "akata." Isn't that hypocricy? They don't like black people using the "n" word but they're more than willing to insult their own race by calling them "akata." Fuckerey. But looking at this topic from a broader perspective, the "n" word most black people often communicate with today is different from that used in the slave days and the segregation era. First of all, the words are spelled differently: Nigger/Niggers and Nigga/Niggas (or sometimes Niggaz). Secondly, they have two entirely (almost antonymous) definitions: Nigger is a racial slur to demean and insult a black person while Nigga is a urban term used to regard someone in a non-derogatory manner like dude, or buddy. Yet regardless of contradictory definition and different spelling, people still confuse both to mean the same thing and get offended by the non-offensive of the two (nigga) which makes no sense. If they want to get offended because Nigga is close in spelling to Nigger, then why don't they get mad at the word Niger? And since Nigeria is actually formed by adding the two words "Niger" and "area," why don't they kuku get offended at the country sef. The funny thing is they ironically do the same bullshit they get mad at. The same people who don't say "Nigga" because it's offensive say words like "dawg" instead. Now if I used their own logic, I should also be offended by someone saying, "Whaddup dawg?" Afterall, "dawg" sounds like "dog" even though it's spelled differently and has a different definition. Using that same illogical logic some black people use, I'd be mad because by someone saying the "d" word, they're calling a human being a four-legged animal that is often domesticated in the house and used for labor or leisure purposes without getting paid (sorta describes a house slave doesn't it?) So if they want to get mad at people saying "nigga," then I think it's only right that they use the same dumb logic when people say "dawg."
A more specific example of this huge contradiction is the "brother/brotha" difference. We all know what "brother" means (Just in-case you don't, it means a masculine sibling), but "brotha" has a different definition to it. Brotha doesn't mean sibling, it doesn't even mean relative, it's a respectful regard to describe a black male. Brother is kind of a possessive noun (ie "my brother, your brother," "her brother" etc), while brotha is a generalized noun used for black males (ie "This is a brotha," "He sounds like a brotha"). As a matter of fact, I had an recent experience to prove the validity of my contrast of the two words. A couple of days back, I was playing online poker when a guy with a picture of a Wayne Rooney jersey joined the table. I complimented him on his picture and got into a football discussion with him. He asked me where I was from, and I said "Nigeria," he then replied, "ah a nigerian brotha lol." Now if I were to substitute brother for brotha in that response, I probably would have had to correct him saying something like, "um Nigerian isn't my brother, in fact it isn't a person, it's a nation." But no. He didn't mean the same thing as brother, he meant brotha (as in "black guy"). But do you see how stupid I'd have sounded if I confused both word. Yes, just as stupid as some people who make that same mistake with nigger/nigga. The same analogy could be used in the sister/sista terminology btw. There are many things that sound alike and have similar spellings that don't mean the same thing, hell, there are some words with the same spelling that have different meaning: Trick/trick- one definition is a cause an illusion to fool, another urban definition is one that like to spend money on women, bitch /bitch- one definition is a female dog, another is either a promiscuous woman or a female asshole (asshole as in heartless idiot not anus). There are so many things in the English language that have different meaning and are the same word, or have different spelling and mean the same thing ( ie blond/blonde). In fact, the English language is filled with paradoxes like for instance the pronunciations of rhyming words like "no, go, so, and yo," have similar endings with the "o" sound regardless of changing the the consonants in front, but yet in certain words like "do and to," the same logic was applied but yet the pronunciation changed from "o" to "u." That's the English language, it's insane and filled with paradoxes, and to make matter worse, slangs and ebonics confuse definitions even more. So I can understand if you don't get the nigger/nigga difference, just take an English class and maybe just maybe, you'd be fine.
Look, the truth is, these are just words. You shouldn't get offended by words, instead you should be offended by the motives behind them. For instance, if a rapper who says "nigger," says it primarily and knowingly to only insult his ancestors then it makes sense to be mad at that fact, but if the rapper says it to regard his compadres (ie "Shout out to my nigga 50") without any reference or implication to slavery then why get angry? So if I say "I have a bitch," to announce that I just purchased a female German Shepherd dog, should all the women get offended because I said the same word used to demean feminism or should they acknowledge the fact that my usage of "bitch" isn't to insult but to regard a female dog? I hope they choose the latter.
Let me simplify it for y'all, it's not the word that you should be offended by, it's the implication of it. It's what language is really all about; the communication of ideas and feelings, and words are just tools of language. And if you're still offended by the usage of "nigga," then I have two words for you my friend: Nigga, please.