Sunday, October 14, 2012

Afro-Peruvians and the “N” Word

In my first trip to Perú, I visited the predominately black District of El Carmen where I engaged in conversation with a young man who, like everyone else in the district, speaks no English. He appeared Afro-centric as he was wearing a woolen cap with Africa written across the front. He looked at me curiously and asked, ¿Nicao? I said, ¿como? (huh?). He repeated, ¿Nicao? 

I finally realized that he was trying to say nigga and was wondering if he was pronouncing it correctly.  I explained to him what a lot of African-Americans simply don't get; this is not a word we want to identify ourselves with and should not be in our vocabulary. He thoroughly understood. However, I was not surprised, but at the same time, very surprised that the word nigga made it down to this sleepy, friendly District of El Carmen in Southern Perú.     

Then there is Tía, a teenage daughter of a good Afro-Peruvian friend in Lima, who is a diehard fan of hip-hop and seem to have adopted the word nigga the same way a lot of clueless African-Americans do. I nicely told her once before  about the use of that word, but she too is hooked. Below is one of her Facebook threads among some Afro-Peruvian friends:

Tía:  Amo a mi loca familia, Niggas (I love my crazy family, Niggas)
W Bill Smith:  SMH, LOL!
Tía:  “Like”
Xiomara:  Niggas are the best and you know it my sistah!
Rayza:  Tú con tus niggas y yo aquí con los mios (You with yo' niggas and I'm here with mine.

:::::::Sigh::::::: I don't know whether to laugh or go off!

In my opinion, these hip-hop artists are aiding the media in delivering negative stereotypes of the African-American community to the whole world, and at the same time, are winning over a lot of wannabes as their fan base continues to expand. I've even overheard young Asian guys and White guys referring to each other as niggaz because, thanks to hip-hop, they think it's cool.


  1. I'm black and hate the word, rappers are making it worse when they put Nigga in their song title e.g Kanye and Jay-Z. I live in Spain and was in a shop, there was a black worker and a white worker, the white worker walked up to his collegue and said what up Nigga. I stopped what I was doing and just looked at the both of them, the black guy just looked at the floor embarrassed

  2. This is a serious problem. African-American culture is blasted throughout the world, but most people outside of the U.S. are unaware and uninformed of the meanings, rules, guidelines and etiquette of certain actions. I once saw a Documentary on the country Swaziland, Africa. Throughout the documentary they showed the princess of Swaziland, she was a polite, polished, church-going-virgin who was entering her freshman year of college in the U.S. Here you have Royalty in its truest form. How about towards the end of the documentary she started rapping and said, "lick my p*ssy, buy me gucci" in one of her lines. This was a documentary that was for an international audience, that featured the most of the Royal Court.

    Could you imagine the Obama daughters saying something like that? They may very well listen to vulgar music, but they know the rules of what to do and what not to do. Hip-hop & Dancehall artist have to be mindful of the messages we send out to the African Diaspora, b/c it doesn't comes with instructions and can be wrongfully used.

    I met an Afro-Brazilian at a university in Florida awhile back. He used the N-word and gave a weak argument when I asked him about using the word. We happened to be near a computer so I showed him some pictures of Jim Crow lynchings and some of the brutality that occurred during the Africa's colonization period. He begin to reflect and questioned his use of the word.

    Our ignorance is now worldwide.


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