Author: Deja Allison

“You’re a nigger… and you’re a nigger too.”

That was the phrase that shook me to my core and once again opened my eyes to the realities of racism and hate for the black community, something I wish was apart of our history and stayed there.

Hello, my name is Deja Allison and I was called a nigger in 2017.

This labeling might not shake some people, it may not move you to anger, or drive you to tears, but for my people NIGGER, is that word.

According to the African American registry, the word nigger derives from the latin word niger, meaning black. This word, once a tool for southern plantation owners to label enslaved Africans in a derogatory manner, has traveled across history and it is used today as the key name for the black community by the racist white population. 

The horror stories that accompany the word usually end in the lynching, beating, murder, or rape of African Americans and enslaved Africans alike.

So how does a word like Nigger exist in the United States fabric in 2017? It’s simple: racism is alive and rampant throughout our country and the reality for African Americans is as grim as it was in the 1960s.  

That part of Black History hasn’t been overcome with the words and prayers of Dr. Martin Luther King, or the writing and speeches given by Malcolm X.

It hasn’t been washed out by the courage of Coretta Scott King, the resistance of Rosa Parks, or the lessons of Fannie Lou Hamer.

It hasn’t been cast out with the bold stance of Sojourner Truth or the bravery of Harriet Tubman.

It hasn’t been corrected with the establishment of the NAACP, the HBCU system, or the activist centered black organization BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Racism in 2017 may have changed it’s form, it may have changed its methods, but it is so delicately intertwined in the fabric of the American “culture” that by design it has been normalized.

Walking on my campus at California State University Long Beach, rarely do I feel anything outside of safe. I often feel at peace on campus, I can read, hang with my friends, ponder my future, and I have space to be me.

But when the white woman on campus called me a Nigger… my peace shattered, the feeling of safety wavered, and my heart sunk into a place of fear.

She proclaimed that this country was redneck country, that my place was behind bars or on probation for the rest of my life.

As she repeatedly called me a nigger… it dawned on me that in the eyes of those who perpetuate HATE in this country this word is the norm. I refused to accept that this is my reality, this is my school experience.

My mind was instantly flooded with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the black struggle for human rights and I realized that we are right back in the days where fear exists because we breathe. The days where we can be shot, hung, harassed, attacked, and it is all shoved away with dismissals of white privilege and “racial” progress.

Racism is not black HISTORY.
Progress is not black HISTORY.
Fear is not black HISTORY.
The conscious struggle is not black HISTORY.
Pain is not black HISTORY.

It is the ever present black reality. This February I plead for you to not think of the struggles of the black men, women, and children as a of a thing of the past.

We are ever fighting, we are ever standing, we are in the struggle, we are in the trenches. The attacks haven’t changed, the events haven’t stopped, they are ever present and ever changing.

This is the reality, the gut wrenching fight, the endlessly haunting day to day struggle of being a nigger in 2017.


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