Dear Black People, Stop Saying The N-Word Or Stop Getting Upset When Other People Use It

Dear Black People, Stop Saying The N-Word Or Stop Getting Upset When Other People Use It

No matter if it ends in "er" or "a," the N-word is a disgusting term and it's hypocritical for blacks to use it to refer to themselves, and in the same breath tell others they can't say it.

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I'm not going to lie and pretend that at one point in time, I didn't say the word "nigga" in almost every sentence. It was the equivalent of the word "dude" to me. I would say it in reference to a friend, in reference to someone who was not a friend, and in reference to any guy (even non-black men). I've always known the history of the word, but it never seemed like a derogatory phrase to me. Actually, in some cases, I saw it as a term of endearment, a pet name of sorts.

Given my comfort and ease with which I tossed the word around like it was a soccer ball, you'd probably expect me to have no qualms with being called a "nigga," but that's the exact opposite of my reality. I've always hated being referred to as that word. It didn't matter who was saying it — a friend, stranger, or cousin — I didn't want them branding me with that term. I could never put into words why I would snap at people for calling me "nigga." I just didn't like it. I knew how hypocritical it was to sit around and call people something that I wouldn't even call myself, but I still did it. The word was cool to me and I was familiar with it, so why not?

The answer to that question is because it's degrading.

By now, we should all be familiar with the origin of the word "nigga" (black Twitter and black Tumblr have made enough posts about it to last a lifetime). It's a variant of the word "nigger," which was used by racist people to dehumanize blacks. By calling us a nigger, they were marking us as inferior, ignorant and unworthy. A little while later, some black person (I'm assuming this is how it went down) decided it would be empowering to replace the "er" ending with an "a" and start calling other black people that term, to sort of "reclaim" the word in an effort of defiance; to tell all racists that they can call us whatever they want, but we'll find a way to make it positive.

The idea is nice, except there's nothing empowering about the word at all.

I want you to stop and think about the definition of the word "nigga." Just for a moment, really ponder what it means. If you were able to come up with an actual definition, then I applaud you, because I surely can't. The dictionary definition of the word "nigger" is "an ignorant person." Nigger has an actual meaning. If "nigga" stems from 'nigger,' then what are we really calling each other when we say that word? The pronunciation of the two words has changed, but has anything else? Yes, the connotation has changed. Blacks (and non-black people that use the word when we're not around. Y'all ain't slick) generally perceive the word to be positive. But a change in connotation is not equivalent to a change in meaning.

The word "gay" used to mean happy, now it's a term to describe someone who is attracted to the same sex. This is an example of a word that's evolved. Can we say the same about "nigga"?

No, we can't. So we're basically still calling ourselves ignorant and inferior, just with a different pronunciation.

If the word has really changed, blacks need to ask themselves why they get upset when a non-black person says the word. Of course, we could use the excuse that it's "our" word (I mean, can you actually claim a word, though?) and that its history is deeply personal, so only we should have the right to use the word... But is that really all there is to it? Is it possible that we don't like when non-black people say the word because it brings up the same stomach-turning, infuriating feelings that emerge when we hear the original N-word? Is it because it reminds us of the days when racists proudly toted the term in order to disparage us?

That's my reason. It may be different for you. But it absolutely boils my blood when I hear anything remotely resembling the N-word because I am ready to move past the disparaging days of Jim Crow. I am ready for my people to feel empowered and self-assured. And we really can't do that if we keep hearing that word tossed around every second. The more we use it, the more normalized it becomes, and it doesn't deserve to be normalized. It's not normal to degrade yourself (the same thing applies to women who refer to themselves as bitches and hos, but I digress), and I don't want any non-black person thinking it's okay to toss around a word loaded with such a violent and hateful history.

I'm not going to tell you what you can or can't say. How people choose to use their freedom of speech is up to them. I simply suggest being more mindful of the words you use to mark yourself and those around you; but you also can't get offended when someone uses a word that you, yourself, use to refer to yourself and those who look like you. It's hypocritical, and honestly, a little outlandish.

We have to make the decision of whether we want to let that hurt go and allow everyone else to say the word, or drop it altogether, because, at the end of the day, it's still a negative word at heart. And no one benefits from its use.

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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.
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Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another—not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that. Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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For The Displaced Cultural Sectors Under Attack

Pockets of cultural diversity need more than just tourism—they need preservation to remain pivotal regions exemplary of a country of immigrants.

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arjunt
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If I was blindfolded, thrown into a car, and brought to a certain street in Chicago, I could tell you just from the smells and sounds that I was at Devon Avenue. The combination of the distinct smell of Indian spices and sound of Indians speaking one of their hundreds of languages is most prominent along Devon (pronounced Day-vawn by the parents). While many come here to buy Indian clothes for cultural events, there is much more afoot than a mere exchange of currency for goods.

For as much as Devon is reminiscent of a bazaar with several restaurants, shops, and salons, it's also a multi-ethnic cultural hub where one finds Jewish, Pakistani, Indian, and several other communities coexisting together along one particular street. Much like any metropolitan area's Chinatown, Devon Avenue gives you a bite-sized experience of a foreign country. The rich cuisine, fine cloth materials, and only slightly unorganized traffic and parking are qualities that, though unsettling for many Americans, make an oftentimes discomforting and unfamiliar nation seem to immigrants just a little more like home.

The cultural nostalgia continues within the shops. One particular shop displays mannequins in their windows, each one adorned with jewel-embellished attire that resembles that of a king. When I visited the shop with the family to get wedding clothes, the men and women managing the store were initially busy attending to other customers, but when we stopped to look at their male attire, two saleswomen came over to woo us into buying the lavish products. They spoke in Hindi, a language I've only heard while visiting India or watching Bollywood films with the family. As they spoke to me, I looked them in the eyes and nod, but I secretly had no clue what they're saying.

It's not just the spoken language that sent me back to the Motherland; the way they spoke and the aggressiveness of their sales pitch was just as noteworthy. My mom mentioned several times how we were just there to look and not interested in buying anything, and each time, the women shut down her hesitancy and assured her that we'd end up back here after looking at every other shop. My parents asked my brother and me what we thought in Gujarati, a specific province's language, but one saleswoman somehow interjected in the same language. As we bargained to whittle their outlandish prices down, she asked us our names and complimented us based on their mythological meaning. Everyone always says they want personalized service, yet it didn't seem possible to have service that was too personal—that is, until now. Despite the invasive sales work, their insistence and speed with which they responded to us is straight out of all the sari shops I saw in India. The slice of welcoming culture made the rude sales bearable.

Well beyond our departure, the shopping experience remained on my mind as a heartwarming account of encountering a depth culture in the most unlikely of places. Visiting cultural pockets like Devon within a larger metropolitan area is a mini excursion into that is foreign to some, but welcoming to everyone who comes while respecting the residents and their culture.

Many of these cultural pockets are unfortunately facing grave issues that challenge their cultural significance. Miles south from Devon is Pilsen, a heavily Latino neighborhood in Chicago with a rich cultural background that is facing unprecedented gentrification. A University of Illinois-Chicago professor concluded that from 2000 to 2016, new housing projects and spikes in property expenses contributed to over 10,000 Latino residents moving out of the region as more wealthy white residents filled in. Local restaurants are declining as more chain businesses are taking over. Signs warn residents to know their rights should they face threats from ICE agents or raids. Beautiful wall graffiti acts as a mirror image of anti-gentrification messages made in response to the process of cultural disintegration.

The threat of gentrification is sadly not unique to Pilsen, as many of these sectors face an incoming crisis of culture. As a nation, these pockets of minority populations and cultures are not just to be respected but appreciated for bringing elements of their culture to a completely different country and enhancing its diversity. If everyone truly loves going to their Chinatown or Kris Kringle Markets, then we have to work to preserve regions like these, lest they be made more sparse than they already are.

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