While I was reading a couple articles with a similar type of idea, I wondered if there were some substitutes for "nigga" that other ethnicities than black people use? That is the word is supposed to be a pejorative outside the ethnicity but not pejorative within.

For example, within the Black community, "What's up nigga?" is a friendly term, but someone using that word who is not black would likely cause problems.

I couldn't think of any other similar example where a pejorative term has been claimed and rehabilitated within the group against whom it would normally be a racist slur.

Are there terms used in a similar way by other ethnic groups?

  • What’s up bro? dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/bro – user 66974 May 20 '20 at 21:18
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    It's not clear what kind of word you're looking for. Is it another word used by African- Americans for each other? is it for some other ethnicity? Is the word supposed to be a pejorative outside the ethnicity but not pejorative within. Any particular ethnicities you're interested in? For example, is 'amigo' in the direction of an answer for this? (it's not pejorative, used by anglos) – Mitch May 20 '20 at 21:25
  • I am looking for a word that would generally be derogatory unless used by someone of the same ethnicity would be using it (so your third question). I did mention that it would be a word that other ethnicities than black people would use. – Jaxpo May 20 '20 at 21:29
  • Careful what you post... – user12211554 May 20 '20 at 21:38
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    Some words don't make the cut; times change; and it's never unanimous anyway: Whether a word might be considered a slur depends, of course, on who's using it and where and when and why. It now appears that "beaner" is a word in play, a term in transition, and that a jester like Mencia is performing an act of what linguists call "melioration," the reclamation of the pejorative, taking a word meant to sting and bending it backward and removing its barb. (washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2005/09/28/…) – KannE May 21 '20 at 5:26

The Chinese often refer to us as "white ghosts". Whether you consider that an insult is up to you (and maybe the intent and manner in which it is spoken). I don't speak Mandarin, but as an ex-sailor, I know an assortment of cuss words from various languages. I tend to believe that you can't properly insult a person unless you are doing it in their native language. It just doesn't seem to have the same effect if the person has to translate what you say into their native language.


Well, there's "chink" for Chinese, "frenchy" for French, and I'm not remembering the appellation for an Italian that George Jefferson liked to use in the TV show All in the Family.

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    These seem to be ethnic slurs instead of friendly terms used by people within a certain racial group to address each other, which are what the OP is looking for. – Kman3 May 20 '20 at 21:49
  • @Kman3 - Not being in one of those groups I can't judge whether a specific word would be considered offensive when used within a specific community. – Hot Licks May 20 '20 at 21:57
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    In that case, you may not be qualified to answer the question. – The Photon May 20 '20 at 22:02
  • @ThePhoton I'm not in any of the groups either -- I'm just erring on the side of caution. Who knows, maybe they are used: I personally have never heard those terms used in that way. – Kman3 May 20 '20 at 22:04
  • I know "chink" is used in a more friendly way occasionally, though not necessarily exclusively in a certain ethnic group. – Jaxpo May 20 '20 at 22:05

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