Nigger or Negro? The origin of the term “nigger” – Unknown, 9/7/1904

Nigger or Negro? The origin of the term “nigger” – Unknown, 9/7/1904

Whether “negro” or “nigger’ is the correct reference to the black man, is the subject of comment on the
of a number of newspapers. Some light is thrown on the subject by a northerner who, writing to the New
Orleans Times-Democrat, says: “Winston Churchill’s new book ‘The Crossing.’ seems to have brought forth.
the comment. It is declared that the author of The Crossing made a mistake in putting the word ‘nigger’ in
the mouths of southern ladies and gentlemen. We are not inclined to accept the comment as being at all
just. It would probably be wrong to assert that either ‘nigger’ or ‘negro’ can be accepted as peculiar to the
south. We say now and have always said ‘nigger’ and ‘negro’, and it can not be contended with reason that
we are wrong, no matter which way we pronounce or spell the word. Personally I am inclined to give the
preference in spelling and pronunciation to ‘nigger.’ Take the Latin word ‘nigrescent,’ ‘growing black,’ from
the stem of the present participle to grow black, inceptive of nigreere to the black. So ‘nigger’ means black,
literally ‘night-like.’ So, too, we have the Sanskrit (nic’,) meaning night. The Latin word ‘niger’ became negro
in Spanish. Persons who say ‘negro’ instead of ‘nigger’ usually pronounce the word as if it were spelled
nee-gro, accenting both syllables. Caste in the south has nothing do with the pronunciation of the word.
It has nothing to do with the pronunciation of the word in the earlier history of this section. We say ‘nigger’
or ‘negro’, just as we please. nor can any man claim that the other fellow’s method of spelling and
pronouncing the word is wrong. It is simply a matter of taste.

Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by Bill Arp

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