The N-Word.


Well…where to begin so as not to offend a good majority of the people in the world, including my ever so gracious leader. I should probably start from where this train of thought occurred.

To begin, I was in lecture (surprisingly) and my professor was going on about the subject he was teaching, which was music history. No, we’re not talking about the Beethoven (I still cannot spell his freaking name), Vivaldi, Haydn, or Schumann, but a bit more recent artists. Just to give you an idea of the general time-line, Scott Joplin, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, etc, etc…Let us establish now, and establish it firmly, that during those times, although people believed in equality, it was not practised in the way we do so now. To make it even simpler, there were fucking shit and boat loads, of racism during the times of those artists. Now before Scott Joplin, Nat King Cole, and Louis Armstrong could present their smatterings of music and pseudo-African practices, some white guys thought it would be hilarious to showcase the quirky practices of these black folks a.k.a make fun of them.

To get the to meat of the point, my professor showed the class a book cover of one of the score sheets. It blatantly read: “Nigger Songs.” But in due respect, he opted to say, “And uh…N-word Songs.”

As pissed off as I am about the unfair treatment of “black” or “African-American” people of those times, I honestly do not think it was necessary for my professor to say, “N-word” instead of “nigger.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not for racism. It’s just that in this instance, I do not think it was entirely necessary. For one, all the people in my class are pretty laid back and border line apathetic, but bottom line is, no one in that class would be offended with the term. Secondly, my professor was quoting something, if it is part of what you’re teaching, then I see no need to go out of the way to cover up what is said, in front of thirty adults, who can read, and know better than to walk around calling every black person a nigger. Next, my professor did not mean to say nigger in an offensive way. It’s just a word, and plus he did not sincerely mean to racial connotations of that word.  Also, although it might be possible that my professor’s ancestors might have had a hand in slavery, he himself did not participate in said slavery. Finally, my professor was using the word, “nigger” in the context of the song and the times. I know this may be a little hard to grasp but at that point of time, the word nigger was not yet a purely racial term. The term was just a token staple of what to describe black people as, kind of like how nowadays we use the term, “African-American” to describe black people who are living in the U.S. To reiterate, the word nigger at the time was a word to refer to a group of people with a very dark skin colour and certain physical features. With those points in mind I would like to ask those loyal readers of The Infection to illuminate how else this word in this context would be taken.

Also, since I am not from an African-American background, I would like an explanation for the words nigger and nigga and how they are different and the same.