Nigga = Oppression

N.W.A Niggas With Attitude~N.W.A Niggas With Attitude~ In the essay Watts discusses how rap music uses the “n-word” in different ways. The NWA has especially be recognized for their usage of the word. Yet in their lyrics they are describing the challenges that they face as young black men growing up in Compton, California in an impoverished black neighborhood. The subject matter of their music talks about the possibility of an early grave, being charged for crimes they didn’t commit, police brutality, poverty, drugs, sex and other topics that are relevant to the lives of their black listeners. Even the cover of this album is prophetic and prolific of how they envision themselves in this chaotic environment.

In the essay “Confessions of a Thirty-Something Hip-Hop (Old) Head”, the author Eric Watts discusses how language, history and hip-hop culture function with black communities. His articulation of the use of the “N-word” and its differences uses and contexts especially interested me, bringing to light a new use of the word without necessarily changing its meaning. 
Watts first confers about how in some discourses “the n-word” is dividing. His thinking is logically accurate. 
 White people feel that it divides them from black people, and they feel its exclusivity, makes them feel excluded from using they term. Some white people believe that the history being term is too horrific, and that no one should be able to say it, or that it should be eliminated. 
 However, Watts argues that the word also divides groups within black communities according to generation and class. 
 The majority of people somewhat understand the limited given history about the creation of the “N-word.” It seems as though most people know it has some kind of tie to slavery but aren’t exactly sure how the word came about. Watts argues that the history as well as the connotations tied to the “N-word” holds no actual meaning, which can be said about any word. Any meaning that is assigned to any word is created, accepted, and kept by people. That is why languages differ among populations geographically and there is no real universal language. History additionally helps to add connotations and associations to words. 
 The essay also discussed how civil rights era generation views “history as a living memory that can be reanimated through the communal act of memory”. To them, the term “nigger refers to people, places and events that not only document white supremacy but also stimulate collective emotions regarding our being in-time.” 
 Watts concludes that the “N-word” overall symbolizes the experience of oppression. From the time that it was coined until now it has had the same meaning whether spelled nigger or nigga. The difference in usage depends upon the source and context. When black people use it in a modern day setting it is used as a term of endearment or recognition of a shared experience. Its saying “I recognize you as an individual who shares the same systematic and institutional racism within our society.” It creates a bond, community, while recognizing the oppressive circumstances they feel as a part of the black American experience.
 This definition really stuck with me personally. I understood this idea without being able to logically articulate it into words that make sense as to why some people can say it and others can’t. It represents a shared experience. It’s not just a word that black people say because white people can’t. It’s not a word that black people created to purposefully promote the exclusion of other groups. It’s certainly not a word that black people use for fun, and it is not a word that all black people have the power, or influence to stop the usage of the word. Even if all black people agreed all of a sudden to stop using the word, it would still continue to be used by the dominant racial group. This is because it was created by the dominant white race and continues to be maintained by them. White people do not experience the same oppressions that black people do which is why I do not agree with them using the term. Them saying it means absolutely nothing or instead is reminiscent of its usage in a derogatory form. However I do believe in freedom of speech and would hope that anyone outside of the black race who decides to use the term thoroughly educate themselves about the “n-word” in all respects to fully understand what they are saying.