Editorial: The "Nigger" is Destroying Us



Growing up, I didn’t have any complaints about the diversity of my school. I thought we were all the same except for pigment differences, and the looks of our eyes and noses. Toward the latter years of my middle school experience, on my way to gym class, I heard it loudly: “That nigger is in the way!” It was extremely embarrassing to hear myself referred to as ignorant because of my brown skin. The word nigger had officially been brought to existence in my life and I didn’t even get to see who shouted it. I wanted to cry.


We must forget that our enslaved families were called niggers when the word quickly rolls off our tongues in our greetings, conversations, songs, and movies. I imagine their bodies rolling in graves hearing us refer to each other just like their demons. Would we still if we heard their stories first hand?



What a massive disservice to all the niggas running and revolting for us and themselves. They were many times hanged and mutilated before fighting for Civil Wars and Civil Rights. Niggas like Harriet Tubman risked their lives to run towards a freedom they could only have faith was real. Maybe we think we made it to the promised land, where we would be a nigger no more. We use this word commonly still, with the excuse of reclaiming something we never were to begin with. This stupidity is our reality.


Black popular culture has us feeling free from blame in our own oppression; like somehow adding an “A” to replace an “R” changes what nigger means. It remains a disgrace. A rapper like T.I. who is adored for his big words and intellect still puts nigga in heavy rotation to sell to millions of fans; like these little niggas are out here singing along on playgrounds. He is only one of plenty. My question is, “How can you perpetuate a word used to enslave you and not be a part of the problem?”


You can’t.



In the fight to end racism amongst each other, there shouldn’t be a word on our lips that was meant to declassify us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Because regardless of excuses, it still does. We should respect our history and ourselves and stop the infection of internalized self-hate. A key to our development and autonomy is through our communication. How we treat each other strengthens our communities and culture. Putting a stop to the manifestation of confusion, low self-worth, and destruction will command respect in and out of our circles and nurture the future that is evolving, today. The nigger is destroying us. Lay it to rest.


Artwork by Mark Doox