Language and Predjudice

free research paper sample

It is amazing that a simple six letter rod has such a confusing and controversial history that no other word in American slang holds. It is something about these two syllables, in and egger that nowadays causes people to turn their heads and ask, “Who said THAT? ” Unfortunately, sometimes it causes people to do something else: retaliate. This could mean hurting individuals, saying other powerful words in return, or even worse actions. However, it was not always like this. Long ago, Niger was used everywhere.

You could overhear “Niger” on the street and see the use of Niger on signs on the sides of buildings; awing this had no harmful reaction, but it is not the same in today’s world. My own opinion of this word is simple; don’t use it to hurt other’s feelings. Since it is basically impossible to abolish a word from ever being said again, I think this is the best course of approaching this subject. Some will disagree with me, saying “that it should never be used no matter what,” or “only the African Americans should use it,” but neither of these things are going to happen.

It will always be used, by both white and black individuals. I believe the method of using Niger in a way that will cause no introverts is using it only around people you know will not get hurt, and this is what I am going to try and argue. I know this may sound foolish to others, but it is what I believe. I admit that my friends and I have used this word from time to time, but I don’t use Niger as the word that holds controversial history. I think Niger has evolved to a word that describes a close friend or mischievous individual, because in most cases it is used as, “Sup, enigma! Or something along those lines. I realize I am only a white nineteen-year-old college freshman, and in the future, my opinion about his word may change as I grow in experience and age. Other individuals with actual history with this term might not agree, but I think words, such as Niger, should not hold power at all. I think only our actions and intentions should hold importance. Only words put into action should cause a person to feel emotions. This way, people could not get angry at another for using Niger when the user did not intend any injustice or harshness.

No time to write a research paper?
Order it from experienced writers now!
For Only $13.90/page $19.90

Order Now

However, the world does not work like this; so we must watch what we say. Throughout history, the human beings have had difficulty with interracial relations, from Western Europe to Western civilization, from Africa to Oceania. In the United States, the relations between white and African American Language and Prejudice By philippic nave been strained since the thirteen colonies’ time, and although things nave come a long way, there is still much tension in today’s culture.

Currently, one of the most delicate topics today is how the powerful word “Niger” has evolved from commonplace pejorative to the despised word it is today, and I believe the best course of action to calm controversy is to use the term whenever you are around errs you are comfortable with, where no other individual will be offended from “Niger” being spoken. “Racial Segregation in the American South: Jim Crow Laws. ” Prejudice in the Modern World Reference Library. Deeds. Kelly Rude, Richard Hands, and Sarah Herdsmen. Volvo. 2. Detroit: CUL, 2007. 333-357. Global Issues In Context.

Gale. Gale, Coinage Learning Trial Site. 11 Feb.. 2014. The article provided here gives a full informative detailed history of the discrimination of African Americans in the south during the sass and sass. The authors inform the reader that racism was projecting during this time when the American colonies were under control of the British Empire. The idea that dark colored individuals were a sign of evil started in Britain and was carried over to the Americas. The height of African American discrimination was during this time when they were often referred to as “black cattle”.

They were taken away from their homeland and forced into the international slave trade and could not fight back due to their lack of technology and resources. They were not viewed as humans, but as property who worked the fields of white masters. This allowed a new view of social tutus in America, and white men could become more powerful with more slaves. Even when America escaped to freedom from Britain, nothing changed for the African Americans. Thomas Jefferson hypocritically developed the famous phrase that “all men are created equal” when he signed the declaration of independence.

However it was discovered later that Jefferson himself was a slave owner and had 6 children with an African American woman. Years passed until men of power even talked about slavery during their conventions. Eventually when the topic came up, they agreed that an African Americans were considered three-fifths of a person. Soon more slaves were needed in the agricultural dominated south, because of the technological advancements in cotton. The derogatory expression “cotton picker” is derived because of this epidemic. The slave’s lives were dominated over their owners, who were often violent and cruel.

They lived in horrendous conditions, working from dusk till dawn, and then fitting ten people in one small shack to rest Just to do the same harsh tasks the next day. Slaves thought their time would rise to be free whenever the North defeated the South in the Civil War, however they were wrong. Jim Crow laws dominated the African Americans after they were said to be “free”. Everything in America was segregated from water fountains to seeing a movie. Blacks had to address white people with Mr.. Or Mrs.. And were treated as second class citizens.

Throughout the late sass and early sass African Americans had to battle their way to get their independence. Rival organizations were founded, violence ensued, and people’s lives were destroyed because of ignorance. The UK Klux Klan and the Black Panther parties were some of the iconic racial organizations of this time. Eventually in the late sass’s, the Jim Crow era was finished, and blacks were finally seen as something other than scum. This article is very strong in providing information and numerical facts during this time, however tails to provide tires person accounts tot what happened during this time.

My plan is to use this information to provide a historical background about the individuals that the term Niger, is referring to. Michael B. Katz. And Mark J. Stern. “Beyond Discrimination: Understanding African American Inequality in the Twenty- First century. ” Dissent 55. 1 (2008): 61-65. Project MUSE. Web. Feb.. 2014.. The authors in this article now cover a modern view of the inequality of African American. Blacks have disadvantaged that start at birth rather than most white citizens. A study shows in 2004 that “the median black family income is 35,000 compared to 60,000 to white families. Also, “Only 31 percent of black children grow up to earn more than their parents, as opposed to 68 of white children. ” These reports show that African Americans are given less of a chance to succeed compared to other families. This mainly has to do with the inequality that blacks have received in the past. Still today some companies are hesitant to hire a black employee over a white one. This causes a gap between races that is virtually impossible from blacks to overcome. Even though all racism laws are banished, blacks are still not in the same economic category of white individuals, due to their bleak history.

This article gives prodigious statistics about the income of both white and black individuals, and gives phenomenal examples of inequality in the modern era. My plan to use this is to give the reader a better understanding of how there is an economic gap between races, along with other discrimination still happening today. Middleton, Phil. “Niger (the Word), a Brief History. ” Welcome To The Black Box, Personal Narratives in High Definition. Google Translate, 01 Jan. 2001. Web. 11 Feb.. In this article, written by Phil Middleton, he gives a great history of the term, 2014. Room how it was derived to how it is used today. Middleton states at the beginning of the article that, “Some of the content in this writing may be offensive to children. ” This warning is not toward any other group, Just children. So does Middleton think only children are hurt by the word and not others? I thought this observation would be relevant in my research paper. Middleton states that the word Niger is traced backed to its Latin roots, Niger, which means black. It caught on to be a noun in many languages, meaning a “black person” in English and simply the color black in others.

This word was quickly used in a derogatory fashion toward African Americans. Every racial group has its own disparaging words, such as cocoons, honk, etc. However, Niger has become the most popular, often used in many people’s languages, (White and Black). Niger has been used in many forms, because it is considered the ultimate insult. In 1878 a tobacco company named one of their products, “Nigeria Smoking Tobacco”. Many years later the name was changed to “Budgerigar Smoking Tobacco. ” This shows how it was used commonly in history, even on brand names, to being something censored today.

The frequent use of this word will never be non- harmful to African Americans, because of how this word has been used to describe them throughout the past. This article gives many strong facts throughout history that support how strong the word Niger really is, however it could give statements from African Americans to further strengthen the power of the word. I plan to use this article to give history about the actual term, and how it has evolved to what it is today. Chris Vagina. “He Can’t Say That, Can He? : black, white, and shades of gray in the films of Attraction. Transition 112. 1 (2013): 23-31. Project MUSE. Web. 16 Feb.. This article, written by Chris Vagina, discusses where the line when using the word Niger in movies is. He mainly focuses on the works of Question Attraction, which directs movies that approach racial idioms very frequently. The movie Vagina focuses on is Dagon Unchained, a movie that has won numerous awards. Vagina find the movie very controversial, with him being surprised at many racial scenes throughout the film. Vagina states that he eventually warms up to the film, and ultimately views it as not so racist.

However, other individuals do not see the movie like Vagina sees it, including a famous African American director, Spike Lee. Most of Lee’s films approach inequality and mistreatment of African Americans throughout history. He sees the constant use of the word Niger, used 213 times throughout Dagon, as offensive and attacking the culture of African Americans. This movie shows many portrayals of gruesome attacks on slaves, which also adds to why Dagon Unchained is considered one of the most controversial movies to this date. I find this article very strong on what it is trying to bring across to its readers.

I believe that Vagina should, however, provide a first account on what Attraction believes his movies should bring across to its viewers. My plan is to use this article to both agree and disagree with my argument. I believe that this movie is only used for entertainment purposes only, and that viewers should have an open mind when coming to see a movie like this. I will also use the other side of Spike Lee’s view, to oppose my argument. Marriott, Michel. “Rap’s Embrace of ‘Niger’ Fires Bitter Debate. ” The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 Jan. 1993. Web. 16 Feb.. 2014.

This article, written by Michel Marriott, embraces the subject of the use of the word Niger in music today, and the message that it brings across to different groups of people. Marriott also approaches how it is used by comedians and television as well. Most young black rappers today have embraced this word, since to most, it means “man” or “brother”. The author finds that in almost every hip-hop song written by an African American, the word Niger is used constantly. However, most famous white rappers, such as Mine, do not confront his subject, and refrain from using this word at all.

Most young blacks believe that using this word constantly will take away its hurtful, racist meaning, and turn it into something else. However elder African Americans are still offended to what Niger means, and the power that it holds. This article holds many strong opinions, and gives informative facts that the reader should know. I do not think this needs improvement anywhere, because it gives a broad outlook on the subject and lets the reader know what is happening. I plan to use this article to agree with my argument, and to provide evidence on why I am right.