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Analysis and comments on Nigger by Carl Sandburg

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Comment 50 of 150, added on May 18th, 2008 at 11:20 PM.

Okay, I know that this is very controversial, but think about what Sanburg
is really trying to say. The word was used to intrigue the reader. He is
not racist. You don't have to read that far to figure that out. He starts
off by saying "I am nigger"

Rene from United States
Comment 49 of 150, added on May 19th, 2008 at 2:21 AM.

For all of you stating that Carl Sandburg is "racist," you yourselves
appear to be a bit naive. Broaden your horizons a bit and recognize that
the word "nigger" has many different meanings and/or connotations. The
world itself was created for a reason...we need to not shy away from it;
rather embrace it and perhaps research the history of the word. Take into
account when and where "Nigger" was written. It's connotations then, are
certainly not what they are now. In addition to this, it is possible, like
many critics have suggested, that Sandburg chose to use the word "nigger"
to invoke emotion, to give the poem an element of shock value...to grab the
readers attention.

Give me a break with the "racist" bull. YOU are the ones that appear to be
narrow minded...

michelle from United States
Comment 48 of 150, added on March 11th, 2008 at 2:12 PM.

i agree with comment #39 its a bad word used in a very bad way hes so

Comment 47 of 150, added on February 7th, 2008 at 8:39 PM.

some of you all really don't understand this poem. to you who said "I love
niggers i am one myself". what?!? you have no idea what that word means.
were you ever shackled and chained?
did you ever cry tears of dust wishing to go back to your motherland?
have you ever tried to keep the little of your mind that managed to escape
the demons of slavery?
Where you ever beaten and whipped?
Did you ever battle between running away from the slaveholder the only life
you know of depended on or finally claiming your freedom and humanity?
Man, you never went through anything like that! Ever! That's what a real
N*GGER is! People were lynched, assainated, repressed for us not go back to
being true N*GGERS. And even after slavery ended African Americans still
fought for us not to be called that anymore. But here you are throwing all
that back in their faces by saying "I AM A N*GGER!"
It's like saying to them "what you did was all in vain. i don't mind being
called a ignorant angry animal-like creature. i'll go as far as calling
myself that."
But I have to be honest and say the one thing that I find worthy in n*ggers
as described in sandburg is the STRENGTH in them that left behind such a
timeless resounding legacy. I appreciate that and I know it was the only
thing in a n*gger that passed on the majority of the black race we see

Renisha from United States
Comment 46 of 150, added on May 12th, 2007 at 4:36 PM.

Not to begin or continue a discussion on appellation or nomenclature, I am
impelled to say this.

I subscribe with alacrity to Sartre's "if you label me you negate me."
Something about the mind. When the labels go on the analysis goes off. Look
at me. Study my manifestations. Watch what I do.

On the other hand, especially if you are in cahoots with paragraph one this
applies. You can call me anything. Just don't call me late for supper.

Personally, I like the term nigger. I still see it as a naturally
linguistic pattern of slang progression.

It ain't what you say, it is how you say it.

As a child in the south I grew up with black kids. I discuss this in my
poem "Nonconnah Yards". Later on I found I was not really caucasian. I was
half cherokee. But, one of my earliest questions about things was this.
What is wrong with my family that none of us has any color. This question
preceded by many years the normal question children have of "where do
babies come from?"

Some expressions just sound so pleasant. As I grew, I noticed a tremendous
respect for mother among black people I knew. I also became aware of a
phrase I often heard that was used to address one's mother. It sounded so

Eventually I got around to wondering what words the phrase I heard
contained and what they meant. I couldn't untangle it. I did not want to
embarrass anyone, me or my friends. Also I reckoned that I should be able
to figure it out.

The phrase sounded like "muh deah". And it was. And it was so simply
beautiful I am still many years later enchanted by it. "Mother Dear." What
a beautiful, respectful phrase for mom. And I never heard a black person
add mother in any other way in the US.

Why do I mention it? Well, it could be the only phrase I can think of that
cannot be expressed in a negative way. That's all.

Thinking back, I would have been pleased to have named my poem, "Nonconnah
Yards Nigger" but would I have run into the same kind of kneejerk reactions
that Carl Sandburg has? I would not enjoy being hurt that way.

Thank you. Happy Mother's Day. May 13, 2007.

metaphormet from United States
Comment 45 of 150, added on May 12th, 2007 at 1:44 PM.

Are you people idiots? If you think this poem is derogatory in the least
you need to take an english class. Put your "40" down and listen. This is a
beautiful poem about how Sandburg felt towards the African American people.
"homie g dawg" how about read a poem and understand it before leaving a
racist comment about beating up a brilliant poet that's been dead for

The Truth from United States
Comment 44 of 150, added on March 30th, 2007 at 10:12 AM.

I love niggers i am one myself and i am not afraid of wipping this dead old
basterds ass.

reggie bush from United States
Comment 43 of 150, added on February 21st, 2007 at 10:54 AM.

Wow. I can't tell if you people are joking or you're just uneducated. If
you understand the time period you'll understand the poem.

Lisa from United States
Comment 42 of 150, added on January 18th, 2007 at 3:44 PM.

i really like poems because it can relate to us arfrican americans. I has a
way of telling how you feel too!!

Alicia Hubbard
Comment 41 of 150, added on January 18th, 2007 at 3:33 PM.

This is a great poem. It is about time that someone has understood the
greatness of being a NIGGER. I am pround of my race.

Brittany from United States

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Information about Nigger

Poet: Carl Sandburg
Poem: 43. Nigger
Volume: Chicago Poems
- Chicago Poems
Year: 1912
Added: Feb 4 2004
Viewed: 28263 times
Poem of the Day: Dec 20 2009

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