That incident that happened last week with the mother using the "N" word on camera was definitely a teachable moment in so many ways. I can remember when I was growing up back in the day, we were taught not to say the “N” word, because it was derogatory.

Professor Kaba Hiawatha Kamene on WBLK with the origins of the "N" word:

We were also taught that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to enslave Africans, and they were the first to call them negroes. When the Spanish became involved in the slave trade, they also used the word negro to describe Africans.

Negro is an adjective that means black in Portuguese and Spanish. But since 1444 and the beginning of the slave trade, the adjective negro became a noun and the legitimate name of a newly enslaved people.

Both the Portuguese and Spanish languages were derived from Latin which has its origins in Classical Greece. In most European languages, the word for black was typically associated with aspects of death. The word death is derived from the Greek word necro, which means dead, and is similar, in sound and meaning, to the word negro.

Throughout European history, the words necro and negro were commonly used to reference the physical, spiritual or mental death of a person, place or thing. So here we have Portuguese, Spanish, Latin, Greek and European having a contribution to the defining of peoples of African descent -- BUT where is the African contribution for the peoples of African descent?

There is a misconception that Europeans created the “N” word. Through research we have discovered that that word is as ancient as language is itself. According to author P. Barton (Pianke Nubiyang), the original meaning of the “N” word had a connotation connected to the gods.

The word used to be the most revered and sacred word in the universe. It was the “divine epithet,” and the people who began using the mother of all words that originated from this word, which was tarnished by the British, were the ancient Egyptians, or better, the Khemites, who called their land, “Khemet” or “The Black Land,” and also used the name, “Ta-merri” or “The Beloved Land.”


The father of the “N” word was the word used by the ancient Egyptians for “God.” That word was “N-g-r” and as you one can see, there are no vowels in this word. In the ancient African and even the present African languages (the Afro-Asiatic linguistic family), vowels are not found in many translations, particularly of ancient Hebrew and Egyptian languages.

In translation of ancient Egyptian and Hebrew (which is heavily influenced by Egyptian), one will not always find vowels, therefore, very few people will realize that the word God, which is “N-g-r” (pronounced “en-ger”) was the Egyptian word for God. In fact, the Egyptian word for “nature” is also the word used for God. That word is “ntyr” (pronounced net-jer”). Now pronounce the word “nigg…” and the word “net-jer,” and one sees the clear connection.

To read more on the original meaning of the "N" word, click here.