Philwelch wrote:By and large, I don't think there's anyone who uses "nigger" and "nigga" as distinct words
Well, there are. I'm not gonna claim it's the majority or anything, but there's a significant amount of people for whom saying "nigga" is akin to saying "brotha". "Nigger" is not used that way as far as I have heard.
Philwelch wrote:A black person who pronounces it "nigger" isn't going to get any flack.
Again, in most circumstances, I would beg to differ.
Philwelch wrote:To be honest, some people of both races are always going to be offended even if it's a black person pronouncing it "nigga", but let's set that aside for now.
You're right and I said as much. Once again, it's complicated. There are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone, all the time.
As far as I've ever seen, it's the race of the speaker instead of the pronunciation that actually makes the difference. If a white person pronounces it, even in black dialect, it's offensive.
First off, I have to say it's a pet peeve of mine when people talk about "white dialect" or "black dialect" as if white and black people only speak one way and if they speak another way they're somehow outside the perimeters of their race. This kind of thinking leads to the whole "acting white/acting black/race traitor" business, which is something I hate with a fiery passion. Yes, race often correlates to how people speak and act, but that's actually a cultural/regional/economic class thing. (Also, there is no singular "black culture", there are many.) There are many white kids who grow up speaking AAVE (which is quite similar to Southern English) and many black kids who don't. There are people of all races who speak both. Anyway...
If a black person pronounces it in white dialect it may be offensive, but only because the choice of dialect reflects social self-identification, not because they're actually different words.
Again, no. It would be because it is used differently and feels
different. Now to be fair, I guess I hadn't been clear enough when I said that "nigga" is an all purpose word. It can
be (and most definitely is) used negatively as well as positively. I didn't mean to give the impression that it was always a good thing when used by black people. Like "bad" or "shit" or "fuck" it can be used in just about any goddamn way. "You mah nigga!" Positive, affectionate. "Man, these niggas don't know
!" Neutral, disparaging. "Who that nigga be?" Neutral, inquistive. "Fuck y'all niggas!/You ain't nothing but niggas." Negative, angry, demeaning. You could substitute "nigger" in the latter, but not the others. To me there is a definite difference between "He's my nigga" and "He's my nigger", if only because I don't think people would/could say them in the same way or even think to exchange one for the other. The first speaks of friendship or having something in common, the second is like saying "He's my bitch."
It's not like I think they are two completely unrelated
words, but they're not the same either. They're siblings.