• AFRICAN AMERICANS‟ PERCEPTIONS OF THE “N-WORD” IN THE CONTEXT OF RACIAL IDENTITY ATTITUDES

      Wiggins, Keya (2011-07-20)
      The “N-word” has been a pop-culture topic of interest which has fueled many heated discussions within the African American community. Given the history of the word nigger in America, the use of the word nigga among some African Americans may cause confusion among those who do not understand the phenomenon of African Americans‟ perceptions of the “N-word.” The present research was conducted to explore the phenomenon of African Americans‟ perceptions of both the words nigger and nigga in the context of racial identity attitudes. A primarily qualitative embedded mixed method model was utilized to gather information about feelings of group membership and African Americans‟ perceptions of the words nigger and nigga. The Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS) was used to identify participant‟s racial identity attitudes, and all of the participants in this study strongly agreed with attitudes associated with internalized identities. A qualitative analysis resulted in three themes including: (a) nigger is a universally negative and unacceptable term, (b) nigga is acceptable when used by African Americans, and (c) the public use of nigga is inappropriate. An overall profile interpretation of each identity type resulted in the finding that several of the attitudes associated with Cross‟s Nigrescence Theory, specifically assimilation, racial self hatred, anti-White, Afrocentric, and multiculturalist inclusive, were reflected in the qualitative themes. Implications for theory, research, and practice are addressed.