The Nigga Store

Before you jump on me, understand that I personally do not use the "N word", this is the actual name of the store I seen while living in Balikesir, Turkey.


Turkey is a beautiful country and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring while living here over the past two years. My first year here I lived in a very small city named Balikesir and lets just say it was immediately brought to my attention that they rarely, if ever, have seen anyone who looks like me.



When I first traveled there I had my individual braids in my hair because thats what us black girls do when we are going to be out the country for a while right? But never did I imagine the stares and touching I would be met with. Yes, the old ladies came up to me and touched my hair often and I did not want to be rude about it, after all they were just facsinated. And since I knew they do not get chances to see and meet Americans often, I really felt it was important to not leave a bad impression that all Americans are rude. I was fine with the stares, the pointing and the whispers but one day on my walk back from the grocery store I was truly offended when I passed "The Nigga Store."


Quick geography lesson: Turkey is a transcontinental country in the middle east with 95% of its land in Asia and 5% in Europe. Majority of the turkish people I have encountered have light skin, straight black hair, and in this particular city I would estimate that 99% of the people cannot speak english. Needless to say, no one looked like the character on this storefront.


I thought of just walking past the store in disgust but I had to know what they could possibly sell inside. They had shirts, watches, stickers, magnets and all sorts of really cute things, none of which had anything to do with the "N word." I realized that the "N word" was used out of complete ignorance to make the store sound cool. I truly believe these people in this store had no idea of the history behind this ethnic slur. If all they know of black people is what they see and hear on television how would they know that they should not casually use this word.


I posted a short video of the store front and what's inside on my instagram account and it ended up on @theshaderoom. I am not sure if the backlash they got from that exposure was the cause of it but when I headed back to Balikesir just 6 months later the store was gone. I say that to say this, traveling is important. Many people all over the world have never encountered a person with dark brown skin before. So we are often represented by what they see on television, and in my opinion that is not always good. That's how small cities like this end up with stores like that. I do feel it was the owners of the stores responsibility to research the history behind the word they are naming their store after. And I may have gotten it all wrong, they may have known it was offensive and did not care. This is simply my opinion that was further supported by a few turkish people I talked to about it. You be the judge.

Their instagram account is still up and running @nigga.shop if you want to share your opinion :)


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