Continents of Familial Origin

What’s the worst thing one can call a citizen of the United States of African descent?
“nigger
[nig-er]
The term nigger is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War. The senses labeled Extremely Disparaging and Offensive represent meanings that are deeply insulting and are used when the speaker deliberately wishes to cause great offense. It is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed, as in court or in a newspaper editorial: “the n-word.”
Despite this, the sense referring to a “black person” is sometimes used self-referentially among African Americans in a neutral or familiar way. The sense referring to other victims of prejudice, especially when used descriptively, as to denounce that prejudice, is not normally considered disparaging—as in “The Irish are the niggers of Europe” from Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments —but the other uses are considered contemptuous and hostile.

noun
1.
Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
a contemptuous term used to refer to a member of any dark-skinned people.
2.
Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of any racial or ethnic origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
3.
a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by black people; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/nigger)

“The history of the word nigger is often traced to the Latin word niger, meaning Black. This word became the noun, Negro (Black person) in English, and simply the color Black in Spanish and Portuguese. In early modern French, niger became negre and, later, negress (Black woman) was unmistakably a part of language history. One can compare to negre the derogatory nigger and earlier English substitutes such as negar, neegar, neger, and niggor that developed into its lexico-semantic true version in English. It is probable that nigger is a phonetic spelling of the White Southern mispronunciation of Negro….The word, nigger, carries with it much of the hatred and disgust directed toward Black Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, made fun of, and ridiculed all Blacks. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal reason for discrimination.” (http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/nigger-word-brief-history)

First off, I don’t believe I’ve ever met a person of African descent with black skin. This is like calling one with European heritage “white”. It’s just not accurate. We have skin in varying shades of brown. And calling each other “black” and “white” tells us we are more different than we are. After all, can you name a color more opposite to white than black? But these labels do more than identify our skin color. We “are” black and we “are” white. This would seem to mean we are opposite. I don’t buy it. We are brothers and sisters. But even calling one of African descent my brother can be viewed as racist. I know our country has a horrible history when it comes to the issue of “race”. So much so that even our word for the issue, “race” would seem to divide us, implying we are different species. But dwelling on our negative history would seem to only give power to it.

What’s the worst thing one can call a citizen of the United States of European descent?
“racist
[rey-sist]
Spell Syllables
Word Origin
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
1.
a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that one’s own racial group is superior or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.
adjective
2.
of or like racists or racism:
racist policies; racist attitudes.”

The other day, at work, a man of Latino descent insisted I was being racist when I performed a security check with the man of African descent just in front of him. He said I had not checked the “white” man before the man of African descent in the same way. In spite the inaccuracy of the man of Latino descent’s claim, the accusation was still troubling. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been accused of being racist. I once greatly offended a man of African descent by calling him “brother”. I can still hear the words coming out of my mouth: “And how old would that make you, brother?” I understand such a word out of a “white” person’s mouth may be viewed as mocking or even racist. But that’s kind of the point. Why does the color of my skin determine what I can and can’t say to someone? Why is it the term “nigger” out of my mouth is considered racist while the same term out of the mouth of one with darker skin may be considered a term of familiarity? I, personally, did not enslave anyone. Why am I lumped in with my ancestors? I believe our continents of familial origin will only matter as long as we let it. Because, when we get down to it, we are all one big family.

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