A negro is a person of black ancestry who is not expected to have any upward bounds. Many people believe that the difference between being a “nigga” and a negro is that being a “nigga” is a choice whereas you are born a negro because you are black. In the past, anthropologists believed that whenever a black man accomplishes something of importance, he is no longer a negro. Marcus Garvey once said, “A Negro is a person of dark complexion or race, who has not accomplished anything and to whom are not obligated for any useful service.” As slavery faded, so did the distinction between a “nigga” and a “negro.”
Now, the term “negro” has become close to extinct, and taboo to some, but another term has taken its place—NIGGA. A nigga is a term to describe any black person who has yet to accomplish anything deemed worthy enough by white people to disconnect him from low-class status.
Whilst the term is not used much to describe someone of lower class per se, it has become a term of endearment amongst blacks, and restricted to anyone of another nationality. Nigga is nothing more than a lackadaisical and less harsh version of nigger and negro, thus reflecting a slave mentality residing in the black community. Unfortunately, though times have changed, the meaning and stereotypical representation of the word has not. Although there are many blacks on the upward slope, many still have not proven to be more than just another nigga. The late Tupac Shakur had even tried to rotate the meaning of the word to something positive—“Never Ignorant about Getting Goals Accomplished.” While some took this new colloquial definition as a challenge to better themselves, others saw this simply as a ploy for Shakur to sell records.
“Nigger/a” could have easily became non-existent after slavery and Jim Crow, but somehow the term lingered and caused huge psychological damage in the lives of blacks. Rather than come out of slavery and segregation as an empowered people, we chose to embody the essence of being a nigger.
Whites are no longer our slave masters—we are. Rather than bettering ourselves, we act exactly how they expect us to act. Ignorance is bliss? No. Ignorance is demiss. We get on television daily and receive negative attention for being their jesters. Drugs, stupidity, poverty, abuse of all sorts, murder, incarceration, gang activity attach to our community like a permanent plague. I’m not saying that other races can do no wrong, but most choose to keep theirs less public.
As a result of this nigga behavior amongst some blacks, the rest of us are expected to act the same. If a black person is not exhibiting nigga behavior (i.e. speaking properly, not doing drugs, clean record, graduating high school/college, not having children by multiple fathers, living in the suburbs, living in a two-person household, having money…etc), they are considered “the exception” to whites and “not black enough” to blacks. Since when is ignorance a trait that should be celebrated and passed down? I may be the exception, or not black enough, but I, for one, refuse to be anyone’s nigga, nigger, or negro.
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