Negro, negra, negrito, negrita, negri

Well, I think it’s time to talk about something that might sound strange to some people, even politically incorrect to others.

In English, specially in the US, there has been and still is a huge debate about which is the correct form to refer about someone whose skin is black.

In Argentina, the word negro is used with several meanings and not all are bad. So you can here someone saying negro, negrito or negri in a very sweet way, to a friend, a partner, even to a costumer – thing that I find very annoying because it means a confidence that I don’t have nor I wish to have.

This way, negro, negri, etc, is like saying honey or darling or dear.

Anyway, someone saying “Negri, ¿querés que te haga un café?” (Honey, would like a coffee?), of course doesn’t mean anything in particular about the other person, in fact, could be the whitest person in the world.

Unfortunately not always this word has a positive meaning: many people in Argentina use the word negro/negra as an insult.

–          ¿Qué podés esperar de él? ¡Si es un negro! (What do you expect from him, if he’s black!). Just an awful, terrible thing to say, but sadly, you’ll hear stuff like this all over the country.

Many Argentinians have a long way to go in the path to a language free of discrimination.


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