Broken bridges: An exchange of slurs between African Americans and second generation Nigerians and the impact on identity formation among the second generation

Onoso Imoagene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the use of slurs between members of different ethnic groups within the black racial category in the United States-specifically, the second generation of Nigerian ancestry and African Americans, as reported by the second generation of Nigerian ancestry. Studies on inter-group usage of slurs have mostly focused on the use of racial slurs targeting African Americans, the use of racial and ethnic slurs targeting non-black racial/ethnic groups, and the use of sexist slurs targeting people of different gender and sexual orientation. There has been limited analysis of use of slurs between ethnic groups within the black racial category in the United States. My investigation shows that slurs are part of the process of identity formation for the second generation. Also, the use of slurs between these two ethnic groups within the black category provides more evidence for Croom's (2010, 2011, and 2013) point that slurs do not always have to be used in a derogatory manner. It adds to what we know about the nonderogatory use of slurs by showing that a slur can be used as a socialization tool for young in-group members. I show that slurs can be appropriated by the group using the slur to target out-group members and that slurs can also be used within their own group to send a cautionary message to group members based on the derogatory meanings that are infused into the slur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-186
Number of pages11
JournalLanguage Sciences
Volume52
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Keywords

  • African
  • Identity
  • Nigerian
  • Second generation
  • Slurs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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