PO Box 18238
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Imagine if Mr. Rogers began his show off with the song, won’t
you be mine, won’t you be mine, please won’t you be my nigga. He
would have been the recipient of a severe backlash that would have had his show
off the air in 24 days rather than the 24 years he was on the air in the US
(1967-2001). This is partly because
the word “nigga” in American vernacular, that goes back several centuries,
was originally used exclusively in a derogatory sense to denigrate,
psychologically subjugate, and to mentally scar the individual identities of
blacks in the United States by white aggressors.
It was a word that the European settlers used to dehumanize, demoralize
and weaken the spirits of defenseless Africans and their slave families.
The word continued to be publicly used after Emancipation, and during the
civil rights period in the 20th Century it was popular with Southern Democrats.
George Wallace publicly used it as he campaigned on the
segregation ticket when he was elected governor of Alabama in 1966.
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