In practice, its use and meaning are heavily dependent on context. Presently, the word "nigga" is used more liberally among younger members of all races and ethnicities in the United States. In addition to African Americans, other ethnic groups have adopted the term as part of their vernacular.
There is conflicting popular opinion on whether there is any meaningful difference between "nigga" and "nigger" as a spoken term. Many people consider the terms to be equally pejorative, and the use of "nigga" both in and outside black communities remains controversial. H. Lewis Smith, author of Bury That Sucka: A Scandalous Affair with the N-word, believes that "replacing the 'er' with an 'a' changes nothing other than the pronunciation" and the African American Registry notes, "Brother (Brotha) and Sister (Sistah or Sista) are terms of endearment. Nigger was and still is a word of disrespect." The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group, condemns use of both "nigga and "nigger".
Some African-Americans only consider "nigga" offensive when used by people of other races, seeing its use outside a defined social group as an unwelcome cultural appropriation. Used by blacks, the term may indicate "solidarity or affection", similar to the usage of the words "dude", "homeboy", and "bro". Others consider "nigga" non-offensive except when directed from a non-African-American towards an African-American. Yet others have derided this as hypocritical and harmful, enabling white racists to use the word and confusing the issue over nigger.