H O W A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y

Faces & Voices 5
An Anthology
of Verse and Prose

the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

E. R. B

Faces & Voices 4


“What up my nigga?”

By Tracy Hunter

      “Nigga?” Why do we insist on addressing each other in such a derogatory manner? Why should we not want something more from each other? Why should we not demand more? Are we that incapable of fabricating a more intelligible form of recognition?
      Black America has forbid White America from using the word “nigger” in any form when referring to a black person. It is considered a sign of racism and prejudice. It is considered a sign of disrespect! How can we demand such respect from others, yet tolerate the lack from each other? 
      I have asked this question over and over and have yet to obtain a decent reply. Some urban youth feel that Black America has redefined the word “nigger.” It is no longer a term of indignity when falling from the lips of the “right” person. In fact, the acceptable term has transformed from “nigger” to “nigga.”
      The The use of the word “nigger” in any fashion by blacks today is truly something that bewilders me. Do we actually think that replacing two letters makes this an acceptable cliché? I fail to understand why we would have any type of association with an expression used so freely and heartlessly to degrade our ancestors.
      I look forward to the day when Black America collectively realizes that the causes as well as the solutions to many of our problems can be found within our own communities. With this in mind, I hope we soon come to understand that in order to effectively demand respect from anyone, we must first respect ourselves. Until this concept is realized, the asinine use of any term associated with the word “nigger” will be something that continues to disgust me.

© 2001 Tracy Hunter

© 2001 Howard University.
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse and Prose, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2001. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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