The word nigger (Just typing this word makes me feel dirty.) originated from the Spanish word negro meaning black, with roots in Latin (niger), French (negre) and was predominately used to describe a “black” slave in America during the early nineteenth century. While the word is still in use today, it is deemed a racist term and there are generally only two types of people that use it a) racists and b) African Americans, their reasoning is beyond me, but that’s not my issue.
My issue is the fact that people react negatively when the word “nigger” is used around them, but they don’t bat an eyelash when the word “redskins” is thrown around. There is even a football team named that, and people were up in arms when it was called to have that name removed because of its racist connotations towards Native Americans.
The “N word” stems words used to describe the color of one’s skin, as does the term “redskin” (clearly) so why the huge difference? Is it because even African Americans had more worth in the history of the United States than Native Americans?
There are no battles where African slaves were slaughtered at the hands of US soldiers. Yet, each year on December 29th the ancestors of the Lakota remember the Massacre at Wounded Knee where 200 men, women, and children were brutally murdered, and twenty Congressional medals of Honor were awarded to their murder; medals that still have not been rescinded to this day.
I do not think light of the abuses that the African slaves endured while enslaved by plantation owners and people that were too damned cheap and lazy to work their own lands, but the slaves were not the only ones who suffered at the hands of others.
When the Europeans landed in the Americas carrying diseases like smallpox, the flu, and measles, it is estimated that their illnesses alone killed nearly ninety percent of the Native American population. Their diseases ravished the indigenous population of what would become the United States. Over the course of the United States history, Native Americans have been viewed as savages, beasts, unwanted intruders, and on their own land.
From 1999 through 2013, the Native American population of the United States experienced nearly the same rate of deaths at the hands of law enforcement as did the African American population, the difference being there are approximately 5.1 million Native Americans in the United States while there are around 45 million African Americans. If you do the math, their percentage of deaths based on their own population is higher than that of African Americans. Yet when someone tries to say #NativeLivesMatter they are ignored, mocked, or yelled at by the BLM movement (black lives matter) saying their lives matter, but they aren’t important enough to be addressed right now.
Is it for reasons like this that everyone (except the Native Americans and those that are friends to their communities) have no problem using the word “redskin” and mocking the people that lived on these lands long before the European settlers invaded the country and began a history of genocide?