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how do you explain the *n*-word + its history to toddlers ?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
dd (4,5 yrs.) is multiracial - i am white, her dad is black, she is brown.

we are always up to give her a good self-feeling about her look and family-history.

now she is listening to a cd of an old version of pippi longstocking, where pippis dad is described as the *n---*-king of takka tukka land. i cannot delete that word so dd heard it - and innocently repeated it when playing.

i want to explain to her why this word is not be used and what history is there behind it. i just couldnt find the right word.

how do you explain this children-like?
post #2 of 8
That is is an old word that used to be used to describe people of color, and because it was so closely connected to slavery, discrimination, and segregation (maybe for 4 yo, "hurting and rejecting people based on the color of their skin"), it is not an OK word to use. Some people use it now, and it is very disrespectful and an ugly thing to say. That's how I approached it when my kids heard the word while listening to Huck Finn. It was an abridged version for kids, I had assumed (wrongly) that they would have edited the word out.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
thank you, that sounds good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
That's how I approached it when my kids heard the word while listening to Huck Finn. It was an abridged version for kids, I had assumed (wrongly) that they would have edited the word out.
yeah, same here. i was so surprised when i heard that word, better: shocked!

i found out that in the very new versions of pippi longstocking they deleted that word. it took them a long time to do so.
post #4 of 8
Doesn't the word come from the Spanish meaning black?
post #5 of 8
Yes it does.

It might at one time have been fairly innocuous. I think there are still languages where the root word is still used and it's not an issue.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Yes it does.

It might at one time have been fairly innocuous. I think there are still languages where the root word is still used and it's not an issue.
The out dated but not specifically offensive word "Negro" comes from Spanish, but I'm not sure that the N word is directly from Spanish. There is a fairly old word in English (it is in Shakespeare) that mean cowardly, that I have often wondered if it might have come from, and been chosen b/c of it's similarity to "Negro." It is basically the N word with an LY tacked on the end of it.

Here is an example of it being used in Shakespeare
Quote:
Well, 'tis not so, my lord high constable;
But though we think it so, it is no matter:
In cases of defence 'tis best to weigh
The enemy more mighty than he seems:
So the proportions of defence are fill'd;
Which of a weak or niggardly projection
Doth, like a miser, spoil his coat with scanting
A little cloth.
From Henry V

So, I think there may be more to the words offensiveness than simply being an outdated term. Just as the F word isn't just an outdated term for Gay people, it is a direct reference to burning them on the stake.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
The out dated but not specifically offensive word "Negro" comes from Spanish, but I'm not sure that the N word is directly from Spanish. There is a fairly old word in English (it is in Shakespeare) that mean cowardly, that I have often wondered if it might have come from, and been chosen b/c of it's similarity to "Negro." It is basically the N word with an LY tacked on the end of it.
As far as I know it is widely accepted that the pejorative in question and niggardly have unrelated etymologies.
post #8 of 8
Niggardly and "the n word" do not have a common etymology.
http://transracial.adoptionblogs.com...-spade-a-spade

Thank you cappuccinosmom for the suggestion. I'm going to file it away for when my son hears it...
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