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N-Word as Discourse Marker Draft
Growing up in a small, predominately white mountain town, isolated from different dialect and speech variations I was taught and still recognize these two different words Nigger and nigga as being extremely racist and downgrading when said to anybody of any nationality. Believing in this, and eventually moving to the inner city where the population consisted of all races and languages, it caught me off guard to see African-American and Caucasian friends using this to greet each other in a positive way.
Like the word dude, which indexes a stance of cool solidarity by displaying masculine solidarity, heterosexism, and nonconformity (Keisling 2004), people of all ages are starting to use nigga with those intentions as well. But unlike most discourse markers, the use of the N-Word between the addressee and whoever is talking has a lot to do with race/ethnicity.
That being said, it's become extremely important to know how this word is used in regular conversation. Why? Because the context in which the N-Word is now used in AAE and Hip Hop Nation Language has a completely different meaning then the condescending way it was almost always used in the mid-twentieth century United States. And now being a country where equality is the expectation, most people don't have up to date knowledge with how the word nigga is used in communities and groups.
Without awareness on how the word is used between others, it is easy for one to take offence when hearing it in public. Being one of the most divisive words in American History, it's become difficult for people to grasp the fact that words can change in meaning over time, which is why this topic was so interesting to me. And to capture a better understanding I'll be gathering data from a small community of diverse people who feel comfortable with sharing how they take in this word is being used positively or negatively in discourse, and the way its use can stir different emotions from person to person.
In the wake of protests going on at the University of Missouri, and other parts of the country where actions of a few students have caused racial tension in some college communities. I have decided to get my data back home over thanksgiving break by kids and adults who I know won't be offended by this research. Through discussion Jessica and I came to a consensus for this draft I'll talk about how I'm going to go about getting my data and analyzing it.
First, I will record face to face conversation between two of my friends (of any skin color). In doing so, I wont tell them I'm recording until the end, which will allow them to have more of a "natural" conversation and make it possible to analyze without the speaker and addressee feeling constricted on how they go about talking.
Using the transcribed data gained from listening to them talk, I'll be able to analyze how the N-Word functions in the discourse of their conversation. As well as how it is used in different situations positively or negatively, and then comparing it to its less criticized predecessors of like or dude. In doing so potentially creating an identity for each speaker.
Next, in a survey study I'll be asking both my friends and adults a series of questions that look to find differences in how age and ethnicity correspond to the N-Word. Since T.V, Social Media, and Music have been drastically increasing in use during the last decade, the way that young people have picked up using a word like nigga has become extremely easy,
"Much of the commercial hip-hop culture by black males use the n-word as a staple. White youths, statistically the largest consumers of hip-hop, then feel that they can use the word among themselves with black and white peers" (Price 2011).
And because of this, it can cause strong debate. When people of non African American descent here this word being thrown around between black males in a friendly manner, they may get the idea that they can use it too. Which is why along with age and gender, it'll be important for me to ask what ethnicity's the