NIGRESCENCE in a White WORLD
This was my final report for Theories of Personality Psychology Course at Philander Smith College. Although 3/4 of the course dealt with the European models of psychology (Freud, Jung, Murry, Erikson, Masalow, Adler, etc.) our final was based on “Theories of African American Personality: Classification, Basic Constructs and Empirical Predictions/Assessment.” After studying the models and given our final to report on African psychology I asked my professor and was allowed to go a different route writing my final seeing as how obviously I am white, and when I publish my writings I hope to bring understanding of different cultures and ideals to all you guys. A primary reason I enrolled at a HBCU was to create unity, expand understanding between cultures, and social justice. Here is my final, I hope you enjoy it. Especially if it can give at least one person more understanding of tolerance, respect, equality, and/or understanding that we really are all one people.
Nigrescence is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘a process of becoming black or dark,’ it is not an adjective or a verb but a noun which is particular in its own right. A noun is defined as ‘a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things. Therefor Nigrescence is the word used to identify a class of people who are in a process of becoming black. Nigrescence is pronounced (ni·gres·cence) or for the layman (NI-GRESS-SENSE) although if not discussing around a scholarly environment or relevant conversation some creeds may wish to refrain from loosely throwing around the term as it closely mirrors the notorious word that many of us are bound not to utter, aka the infamous N-word. See as where the N-word can be used as weapon or a source of admiration and positivity greatly depends and varies based on the person/class that is delivering the most controversial and guarded word in the English language. Nigrescence is much more defined as it is a philosophical theory of thought based on distinct cognitive-emotional states in transition from an Anti-Blackness and Pro-white orientation to a conscious multi-cultural/pro-diversity/ transracial/inclusively humanistic orientation at its mature-optimal level of expression. Once again, to simplify what Nigrescence means is the process by which one embraces their root culture (for the sake of this report we will primarily focus on African Americans/African Worldview) then balance knowledge of self with a conscious integration into (White America/European Worldview).
The purpose of this paper is to relay a fact-based report based on Africentric Theories compared/contrasted with Non-Africentric Theories (widely known as European Worldviews/Models & other accredited theories/models) to create a bridge of mutual understanding and respect in a world that has been dominated by racism, injustice, and inequality since the inception of recorded history. It’s a bit late to go back and save the slaves of ancient Egypt, or the generations who lived & died as servants doing nothing except building gigantic monuments for their Kings & Gods. Perhaps it’s not too late for us to fear not the complications and cultural differences between modern day races & cultures.
Knowledge truly is power, so just as the example set in the first paragraph: Nigrescence is a model for being Africentric and having knowledge of self, while functioning in a European Model society. While Nigrescence is an African American (AA) orientation of black self-awareness and humanistic orientation in a white world, this paper will also look at two primary AA models: Africentric vs Pseudo-Africentric so readers can get better understanding of the AA culture in response to modern culture in relation to history and Eurocentric models of thought.
Before delving into the different theories of personality in relation to one another and trying to make a bridge of understanding and mutual acceptance for differing cultures it is first relative to address the elephant in the room and address the N-word. Wikipedia describes the history of the N-word as:
In the present-day English language, the word nigger is an ethnic slur, usually directed at black people. The word originated as a neutral term referring to people with black skin, as a variation of the Spanish and Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger (meaning the color “black”). It was often used derogatorily, and by the mid-twentieth century, particularly in the United States, its usage became unambiguously a pejorative, racist insult. Accordingly, it began to disappear from popular culture, and its continued inclusion in classic works of literature has sparked controversy. Because the term is considered extremely offensive, published written media often replace it with the euphemism “the N-word”.
The variant “nigga” has to some extent been reclaimed by African Americans.
The current debate is over the last line of Wikipedia’s definition in relation to what is considered derogatory, and the usage with the “Nigg-ER” vs “Nigg-A.” Wikipedia defines “Nigga” as:
Nigga (/ˈnɪɡə/) is a colloquial term used in African American Vernacular English that began as an eye dialect form of the word nigger, an ethnic slur against black people. The word is pronounced the same as nigger in some dialects of English, including where common speech is non-rhotic.
Then Wikipedia further describes the dichotomy of the word in terms of the “Nigg-A” by describing its usage as follows:
In practice, its use and meaning are heavily dependent on context. Presently, the word nigga is used more liberally among younger members of all races and ethnicities in the United States. In addition to African Americans, other ethnic groups have adopted the term as part of their vernacular.
There is conflicting popular opinion on whether there is any meaningful difference between nigga and nigger as a spoken term. Many people consider the terms to be equally pejorative, and the use of nigga both in and outside black communities remains controversial. H. Lewis Smith, author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Affair with the N-word, believes that “replacing the ‘er’ with an ‘a’ changes nothing other than the pronunciation” and the African American Registry notes, “Brother (Brotha) and Sister (Sistah or Sista) are terms of endearment. Nigger was and still is a word of disrespect.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group, condemns use of both nigga and nigger.
Some African-Americans only consider nigga offensive when used by people of other races, its use outside a defined social group being an unwelcome cultural appropriation. Used by blacks, the term may indicate “solidarity or affection”, similar to the usage of the words dude, homeboy, and bro. Others consider “nigga” non-offensive except when directed from a non-African-American towards an African-American. Yet others have derided this as hypocritical and harmful, enabling white racists to use the word and confusing the issue over nigger.
Non-rhotic English-speakers, such as speakers of many British dialects and African American Vernacular English, pronounce “nigger” and “nigga” identically and do not distinguish between the two words.
The purpose of analyzing the N-word before delving into African theories of personality vs European is because to look at complex theories of thought and psychoanalysis sometimes one must consider the most basic sources that can divide cultures and humanity. No clearer example has ever been more apparent than the N-word in modern society. Ripped out of current headlines, white political comedian Bill Maher made an off-color joke during a recent episode of his HBO program “Real Time” by stating, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger. No, it’s a joke.” The backlash from Maher’s statement was immediate and fierce as many AA and others were highly offended by his use of the derogatory term. Like many non-AAs Bill Maher had gotten a bit too comfortable in his rhetoric and crossed a line many AA take very personally due to the history and oppression caused by a word. Shortly after the incident, and backlash Maher welcomed rapper/actor Ice Cube from the legendary group N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) for an interview, and the topic of Maher’s slur was immediately addressed. Ice Cube effectively explained the use of the word, and why it is unacceptable for anyone not of AA decent to repeat the word:
I still think you need to get to the root of the psyche because I think there’s a lot of guys out there who cross the line because they’re a little too familiar, or they think they’re too familiar. Or, guys that, you know, might have a black girlfriend or two that made them Kool-Aid every now and then, and then they think they can cross the line. And they can’t. You know, it’s a word that has been used against us. It’s like a knife, man. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s when you use it as a weapon against us, by white people, and we’re not going to let that happened again … because it’s not cool … That’s our word, and you can’t have it back.
… It’s not cool because when I hear my homie say it, it don’t feel like venom. When I hear a white person say it, it feel like that knife stabbing you, even if they don’t mean to.