I believe the origin of the term “double nigger” is in an old photoshopped Sonic comic, where Dr. Eggman is quite angry:
Have I lost you already? No? Good. I’d like to ramble about the deeper meaning that some people have defined for the term, and what it means for society.
Niggering happens as soon as you ascribe some negative properties to an entire group of humans. It can be something like a relatively benign but foolish thing said by a French Canadian about other Canadians, such as “those people aren’t French Canadians, they are anglophones. No wonder they’re stupid and assholes.” It can also be terrible and have far-reaching consequences, like when Martin Luther recommended that Jewish synagogues and schools should all be burned down for the glory of Christians:
“First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians” Martin Luther
Continue with such niggering for long enough and you get things like Adolf Hitler gassing Jews or the Armenian Holocaust.
The aim of niggering is always the same: To elevate your own group of people above other groups of people, often without actually knowing any members of that group. Double niggering happens when multiple groups of people nigger a single of group of people for different reasons. Or when political circumstances make life already hard for one group of people, and then they are additionally niggered by others.
For example, the Kurds are double niggers. They do not have a country of their own, instead they live mostly in in neighboring regions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They are different from the majority of people in those countries, and each country has its own level of intolerance for Kurds. Turkey is famous for even taking military action against these people, even though their biggest crime seems to be that they have their own cultural identity and desire their own land, much like the Jews did. This is political niggering.
From this there stems a distrust or hate for Kurds also by some Turks that don’t even live in Turkey, much less in Kurdish areas. This is social niggering. Turks that think in such a way elevate their own Turkishness above a Kurd’s Kurdishness, turning the Kurds into double niggers.
There can also be situations of triple niggering or more. Some refugees from Eritrea are quadruple niggers:
- At home they would be drafted into a pointless military by a madman and be treated like slaves (and if they are female, raped).
- If they don’t go into the military, their families might be held hostage or tortured.
- If they flee the country illegally on an unsafe ship, they might die.
- Once they arrive in Europe, they are unwanted.
Similar stories repeat all over the world. Catholics may be niggers in the eyes of some Protestants in Ireland, just like vice versa. Black people may be niggers in the view of a certain class of white people in the USA. Portuguese construction site workers were niggers by the opinion of a significant number of Swiss in the 70s and 80s.
Turning someone into a nigger goes farther than just skin color. That skin color is enough for some people to nigger others is disgraceful, but is just one (albeit the major) form of niggering.
I am a subtle nigger myself. As a Linux user, I am niggered by groups of Windows and macOS users. This is mild because otherwise I’m just a very privileged white cis man with a back hair problem. But as society we need to root out and destroy all niggering.
That would mean going to the sources of niggering and eradicating them. It means stabilizing countries like Eritrea while figuring out how to help the refugees the country creates in the meantime. It means solving the Israel-Palestine conflict. It means making sure that the wounds in Northern Ireland aren’t reopened by a clumsy Brexit.
For each individual, it means asking yourself whether you’re niggering every time you judge someone. You can judge someone’s actions and you can judge someone’s views, but you cannot judge someone because of color, nationality, gender, culture, beliefs or (non-)religion. This isn’t new wisdom. It’s just not being practiced by enough people.
Not many people will be on boat with this, because it’s hard and it might reveal biases in your mind that you didn’t know you had. But anyone who joins in this is helping to create a fairer world.