by Sia Tiambi Barnes
There are several theories about the origin of “ni**er” and its slang version, “ni**a.” Wikipedia traces the word to simply meaning “black” (as in skin color) in the romance languages; whereas, a blogger has found roots for the word in Niger and Nigeria, where it means “king” and “queen.” While the Kemetic word “negger” actually means the “golden one,” Merriam-Webster notes that the word is “usually offensive.”
However it is translated, the latter connotation has such emotional fuel that the Editor-in-Chief of a Dutch magazine recently resigned, after publishing a fashion article that referred to Rihanna as “de ultieme ni**ab*tch.” Unfortunately, that n-word scandal is just one of many. Check out NewsOne’s top 10 “n-word” scandals of the year.
1. IN RHYME & VERSE
Maya Angelou said she was “surprised and disappointed” by Common using “the n-word” in a song, where she contributed a poem for his new album, The Dreamer, The Believer. She later called into 106 & Park, where Common appeared for an interview, to say: I don’t think the word ‘disappointment’ quite makes it. I was ‘surprised.’ I know that Common is brilliant. [bet.com]
2. PRESIDENTIAL FACEBOOK SLUR
Jules Manson, a former candidate for city council in Carson, Calif., wrote, “Assassinate the f**ken ni**er and his monkey children,” in a Facebook post. Consequently, the Secret Service visited Manson’s home, combed through his computer, and declared the case an “open investigation.” [nydailynews.com]
3. SCHOOL GIRL DAZE
More than a dozen girls on Kenmore East High School’s basketball team were suspended for two days and one game, after teammate Tyra Batts, the only African-American player, claimed that the girls chanted, “One, two, three, ni**er,” before the opening game. The Buffalo News reported that the chant started as a joke five years ago between a White and Black player and became a ritual for the team. After the incident, Batts got into a fight with one of her teammates, who then reportedly called her a “Black piece of sh*t.” [buffalonews.com]
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