I’ve been working toward this post for a while now because this is an issue that has been haunting me for a very long time….the N-word. I absolutely hate the N-word. I don’t think there is any excuse for anyone to use it: Black, White, Latino, Asian, any race. It’s a word steeped in hatred, oppression, and the blood of our African-American ancestors and the fact that it prevails and thrives in our world today disgusts me.
Okay, now that being said, I can not believe people in today’s world seriously try to make the statement that it’s a term of endearment a legitimate argument. People, it is not a FRIENDLY word; and no matter how you try to sugarcoat it or change the meaning, the true connotation and essence of it remains the same. It’s a derogatory racial slur with a complex and painful history. You can not just put a Band-Aid on history and make it all better. Now, the N-word has always been a part of African-American culture; and our relationship to it is incredibly complicated. However, the sooner we admit to ourselves that this crude language serves no purpose and is something we need to conquer, the better off we’ll be.
My other peeve is how angry some Black people get when a White person uses the word. I’ll admit that if I hear a White person use that language I definitely have to catch myself and make a mental reminder that I don’t want to end up on a YouTube video that could get me fired….But you might see the same Black man who was ready to fight a White person for saying the N-word turn the corner five minutes later saying , “Yo, my n****” as he meets his friend. Of course this isn’t all Black people. I know plenty who don’t use it and kudos to them. Its also very different when a White person says the N-word versus a Black person. Its more hurtful because in American history this was traditionally the word they used negatively toward us. Nevertheless, I don’t think that at all justifies there being a double standard. More importantly, for a word that’s so hurtful when directed at us….why on earth do we then turn around and point it at each other and call it playing nice??
I also often ask myself, “Why does it seem like so many White people are okay saying it?” I definitely think part of the reason is that Black culture permits the use of the N-word and it send a message to others that they can get away with it as well. When we use the N-word, whether it be in our music (one of the biggest culprits in my opinion), television, websites, or just at the mall with a friend, everyone around us hears it. We put it into the community and, whether intentional or not, other races pick it up because it becomes a part of their everyday lives as well. We don’t live on a secluded island by ourselves. People copy what they see and as long as Black people view the N-word as acceptable (regardless of the circumstances), people are going to say it and all our complaints will be falling on deaf ears. We may not like it, but until we get our act together as a whole, no one else will.