Now looking at the origins of the word nappy, this is from Billcasselman.com:
Late in the 18th century or early in the 19th century, Americans in the southern U.S. began to refer to negro slaves as nappy heads, comparing some tightly curled negroid hair to the nap on some cloth or fur. It was not a compliment. Beaver hats were said in early Victorian times to have a ‘fine, black nap.’
It further explains:
Then, as happened in history with many terms of abuse, those abused, the black slaves, took to using the word among themselves with affection, partly as a method of ‘taking back the hurt’ in the insult and partly out of the sheer exuberant play of language that all people share. There are 19th century letters from black mothers to distant daughters where the mother addresses her girl as “my sweet little nappy head.”
I personally don’t agree with the conclusion of this article that it’s alright for black people to use the word nappy. I don’t think anyone should be using either the word nappy or nigga in all it’s forms for any reason. I can completely understand why black people felt the need to ‘take back the word’ during slavery times but now in this day and age, I think the use of such terms prevents all of us from moving on.
I can compare the situation to having your significant other cheat on you and you decide to forgive them because you want to try to make the relationship work. Now do you:
a) Never mention the incident again, heal and move on i.e. forgive and forget or
b) Throw the affair back in their face every opportunity you get.
Not to trivialize slavery, it will always be one the biggest crimes against humanity, but surely we are done ‘taking back the hurt’ now? Surely we are at a point where we are on an even playing field with white people for the most part without the fear of open racism (with the exception of some southern states and some eastern European countries). Black folk who still constantly using either one of the N words are simply not allowing us to heal and move on.
So would I get offended if someone called my hair nappy? Hell yeah!