In practice, its use and meaning are heavily dependent on context. In addition to African Americans, other ethnic groups have adopted the term as part of their vernacular.
There is conflicting popular opinion on whether there is any meaningful difference between nigga and nigger as a spoken term. Many people consider the terms to be equally pejorative, and the use of nigga both in and outside black communities remains controversial. H. Lewis Smith, author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Affair with the N-word, believes that "replacing the 'er' with an 'a' changes nothing other than the pronunciation" and the African …show more content…
Ol' Dirty Bastard uses the term 76 times in his Nigga Please album .
Comedian Chris Rock's routine "Niggas vs. Black People" distinguishes a nigga, which he defined as a "low-expectation-having motherfucker", from a "black person". In contrast, Tupac Shakur distinguished between nigger and nigga: "Niggers was the ones on the rope, hanging off the thing; niggas is the ones with gold ropes, hanging out at clubs." Tupac, who has been credited with legitimizing the term, said his song N.I.G.G.A. stood for "Never Ignorant Getting Goals …show more content…
Registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of terms that are historically considered disparaging to groups of people has been allowed in some circumstances. Self-disparaging trademarks have been allowed in some cases where the applicant has shown that the mark as-used is not considered by the relevant group to be disparaging.
In 1995, two Houston, Texas men filed a trademark application with the PTO for the words "Naturally Intelligent God Gifted Africans," and its acronym. The application was rejected, as were numerous subsequent applications for variations of the word nigga. Most recently, comedian Damon Wayans twice attempted to trademark a brand name called Nigga, "featuring clothing, books, music and general merchandise." The PTO refused the application, stating "the very fact that debate is ongoing regarding in--group usage, shows that a substantial composite of African Americans find the term 'nigga' to be