This is an age old question that I hear non stop. Why do black people choose to use the word nigger or variations of it like nigga (no need to disguise what we are talking about) when it is a word with hateful roots. Let’s talk about it then:
There’s only one real answer to your question… Why you so worried about it? I feel like your real question is why can’t you use the word nigga. You can’t because you can’t, and we can because we can. There’s no science behind it.
This is a loaded question, indeed, but I am glad someone had the courage to ask. I’m not going to stand as one of those self-righteous, politically correct “African Americans” and say that I have not and do not use the word. I grew up in the hip hop culture and we certainly embraced it as a term of endearment – thank you NWA, in particular. As I matured and became educated about it, I understood it to be a negative root word, created by racists in this country to identify with persons who looked a certain way on the outside. I still may use it as part of my vocabulary in certain contexts to describe anyone who exhibits the characteristics of wanton ignorance, racism, bigotry, etc, because to me, being a “nigger” is a state of mind and not a person’s race, creed or color.
Black folk do have a way of taking negative things and embracing them to convert them to positive and the N word is just one of them – I mean “Black” used to be derogatory and then we started using it on everything and then someone thought African American was more suitable, so it’s all about timing and context in this country, I guess.
I do not think it is appropriate for anyone who is not a Black person in America to use the N word, including those who emigrate from the continent, because they are not privy to the historical and progressive context of being Black IN America.
Black people have a beautiful history/lineage of turning anything negative, into something not only positive but magic. It’s why our food tastes so good. We learned to take scraps of pigs scraps of anything and make them into chitlins. So in turn, we did the same with this horrid word used to oppress us. We turned it into something that was ours, something that we could use a way of connecting to a shared experience only we as black people have and continue to experience.