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Toris Okotie

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The Color Black
by Toris Okotie   

Last edited: Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2003

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Why are Africans or African descendant called Black?

If we are to define the meaning of Black, the whites will come up with there own definition and so also will the blacks, but the word black although primarily referring to those dark in skin and with kinky hairs have been corrupted into many definitions. In the mid to late 1800’s where someone had a trace of black in them although being physically light in skin are generally referred to as blacks and was discriminated on that basic. In other to apply the word “Black” on a person, we must first go back in history where the name was formally introduced. 

Pre Colonial Era

Before the colonist came from the other side of the globe, “Africans” as they were formally known, was by no means associated with the name “Black”. At the arrival of the colonist who came into the shores of these people, at first site, the people were dark to them and since they could not speak their language, they decided to call them “Blacks”. 

“Ones we were known as Africans, they came and called us blacks”

On the arrival on the west coast, they introduce their newly captured/bought slaves as “Blacks” and when the auctions was held, the means of identifying these people was to call them by names such as “Black Niggers”

I have my theory that the word “nigger” might have come from the names of these places that the colonist visited such as River Niger (A place located in the west side of Africa) and since they couldn’t pronounced the name of these places, they began to call them “Niggers” instead of “Niger”. When the white men saw these slave, they asked them where they had bought them from and they said they found them at a river called “Nigger” (Miss spelling) and so they in laughter began to call them “Black Niggers” meaning that these blacks where found at River Niger.

Years as passed since they first called them “Black Niggers” and today, the name stock to them and has gradually moved from an insult to a means of identification even with Blacks.

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Reviewed by E Detetcheverrie 12/30/2003
People worldwide continue to use aesthetics as a means of seperating themselves from others and imagining like groups of peoples. Unfortunately, each generation teaches the next the ignorance it knows, and it is up to the few free-thinkers to see beyond the labels to the truth which lies beneath.
I am half black-Irish and half Spanish, which makes me Hispanic according to the dictionary, though I am very pale, lightly freckled, and have very light blue eyes. I am no more "white" than a "black" person is black, though the "whites" accept me as one of their own until I speak what little Spanish I know and am recognized by my olive and brown-skinned kin. Bizarrely, upon hearing me call myself black-Irish, a number of "whites" will often gaze upon me as though I am diseased and ask incredulously, "You're half Black?"

I have two "black" cousins. They were adopted, as am I. They are my family and no different from anyone else in it I feel loyal and loving toward, though distance and fate have not allowed us yet to meet face to face. I have always felt an amazing draw to Africa, an irresistable tide pulling me home, and now that I know we all share traces of African DNA, my blood may be well diluted, but I am proud to know this hauntingly beautiful and culture-rich land is where my distant ancestors first knew life and gave rise to all that is mighty and powerful in this world today.

"Nigger" may have once meant, "a dark-skinned person from Africa", but many people today have given it the new translation of, "someone stupid, ugly and reviled." Funny how the ignorant give themselves names like that! I know my brothers and sisters and I know which ones have many long and hard life lessons to learn.

Vaya con Dios, mi amigo!
May the wind be always at your back
and the road rise up to meet your feet.
Reviewed by Safi Abdi 10/4/2003
I see nothing wrong with the color black. I come from Africa, and in my country there are colors ranging from charcoal black to really very light skinned and we're all of the same race. Often times even sibblings are just as diverse.

No one chooses their appearance and those who look down on others because of the shade of their color need to be educated on the wonders of God's creation.


Reviewed by philip abbot (Reader) 9/25/2003
The whole topic is indeed a matter of great sadness.

The word nigger actually comes from the french 'negro' meaning black. and people from the area of the river niger are called nigerians. I have no idea how the river niger got its name

hope this helps
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 9/24/2003
Crazy world, huh? A good essay on the origin of the word.
Reviewed by Carolyn Red Bear (The Bear Paw) 9/23/2003
And why do they call natives Red?
In Spirit,
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 9/17/2003
i *HATE* the word "nigger"; it is NASTY, and i think it is disGUSTing! i hate it even more now because my family is prejudiced, and i heard it growing up; and it really pissed me off! i had friends who were black while growing up (still do have friends who are african american even now!), and they were among my dearest friends, i saw NOTHING wrong with them! they were just like me, only their skin was darker than mine! powerful and informative write; thanks for sharing! NEVER be ashamed of your heritage or being black because i sure am not! be proud of who you are and where you come from! ((((((((((HUGS))))))))) and much love, your friend, karen lynn in texas. :( >tears <
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