It's not okay for South Asians to use the N-word

The N-Word Doesn’t Belong To Anyone But Black People, Not Even South Asians

Who the hell said it was okay?

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The N-word has been extremely controversial, from white celebrities using it, to debates on whether non-black people can say it when singing a song.

First, let's get a couple things straight. It's a racial slur that slave masters used to dehumanize their slaves. There is history and context behind the word. Even today, there are some people that use the word as a means to oppress black people. Nowadays though, the black community has taken ownership of the word and uses it as empowerment.

That's the black community though. They're the ones that can use that word, because they are the ones that have a long history with the N-word, and they are the ones that are actively affected by it.

It has been made very clear in society that white people cannot say the N-word. But for some reason, the South Asian community feels they have a right to say it. But - newsflash - we don't. I can't even count how many times I have heard a South Asian person call someone else the N-word. I understand it's not meant in a derogatory manner, but no matter what, using that word is not okay.

And I get it, a lot of times, growing up, we feel like we have to choose between the two main cultures in America: white culture or black culture. We are grouped with black people when referred to as 'people of color' so it's easy to choose black culture. We quickly pick up on the slang, music, etc.

The thing is, we don't have to face the same struggles as black people. Instead, we're allies. I'm not saying we don't face our own struggles, because we definitely have a specially tailored type of racism to face, but it's just not the same.

While you might feel cool saying it, at the end of the day, it's offensive. We have no right to the n-word, even if we're alone or just singing it in a song. It's not appropriate even if your black friend approves of you using it.

As allies of the black community and as people who respect black people and culture, it's time we actively find fault with this issue. We need to stop using it and we need to call out people who do. And if that's too hard, grow up.

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5 Reasons Why Learning About Your Culture Is Essential

"A Nation's Culture Resides In The Hearts And In The souls Of Its People." ~Mahatma Gandhi
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1.) Immersing yourself in the stories of why, when, and where your family first came from and what it meant to them.

Listening to the origin stories your family shares is an important part of the lives who follow and should be taken with an optimistic mindset. Hearing of my father's travels from Europe (Italy) and the adversities he particularly faced upon establishing a life here in the states, both amazes and motivates me--someone who has everything and was brought into the "American Dream." My father arrived in New York in 1973 at the age of twelve with his parents; leaving his home and siblings in the mother country. Like many, America promised a better life and opportunity for those seeking refuge from the nations' troubles and a myriad of other reasons. Learning to speak the English tongue, as well as other dialects of Italian through friends and Spanish from trading words here and there, eventually, my father made a name for himself and started working with his hands. Further down the line, my father met my mother that also came from an Italian family that came here to the states; started a business and the rest is history...rather part of my history.

2.) Attaining and understanding part of your identity

People may sometimes think of their culture being something that was once worn like an article of clothing--it eventually wears down until it is disposed of; this is shameful if it is purposefully done. Like our gender, or our disposition; our we are made into a version of ourselves based off of extrinsic and intrinsic matter that ultimately etches us into a statue. Looking back at my childhood of two worlds combines with the best parts of either, my life could have been more tasteless if the traditions of my family and people before decided to leave the old at the waterline and start anew. Alas, that happens today with people of all ages either ignorant of why they are the way presumed or utter bliss in living completely the American way and everything that follows: media culture, stigmas, hostility towards change and clouded belief for the real issues plaguing our country.

3.) Knowing your history and culture helps us build a sense of pride.

Nationalism is not always the rebellious undertaking of "down with the government" due to oppression; it is also a beautiful word that means patriotic feelings, principles, or efforts regarding your claim for identity. To be honest, I am a proud nationalist regarding the heavily ingrained European culture adapting to the American culture; showing how I am both divided into a two cohorts that mesh into one. Keeping the struggles from our own individual past through the ages into the very place we reside in now aids in creating a sense of who we are and what we choose to be.

4.) Learning about your own culture helps to understand someone else's.

We live in a fish bowl filled with our own ignorance of the world surrounding us and the various culture outside of our privileged society. Essentially, learning how other people act within their way of life compared to our own is vital in comprehending how others view us as we might view them. Firstly, one needs to be around other cultures; there is no way around this to flow into the following step without interpersonal interaction. Secondly, when near people belonging to different cultures, keep an eye out for three things: moments of tension, any misunderstandings (body language, the tone of speech, physical contact), and anger.

5.) Keeping your language of origin alive serves more than being a creative tongue.

Keeping up with the language belonging to your culture is a great first accomplishment. One way of helping children (or anyone interested in their roots) appreciate divergence is the value of the slew of cultures and that each is different with equally significant importance. On the abstract side, stigmas are stories only partially told, the rest is glazed over with ignorance and fear of what was once a norm; now a strange shadow that follows many.

Bonus: You are what you say you are but also what you choose to let in.

Make peace with every aspect of your beautiful life and soul. Regardless of who or what binds you together, culture is only a sliver of that with the same, but very much different DNA that makes this the ultimate history lesson.

Cover Image Credit: Afterschool Snack

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Dear Marvel, You Really Need TO Do Better With Representation

This is simply a poor attempt at more diversity.

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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Avengers "Endgame" hit theaters and shattered records across the world with making an amazing $350 million in North America and an even more stunning $1.2 billion worldwide. In fact, 'Endgame' has already destroyed records set back "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Avatar," and even the first part of the movie, 'Infinity War.' Fans went in expecting a mix of emotions and for the most part, the movie definitely delivered. However, there is one thing that some fans are severely disappointed in.

Directors like the Russo Brothers hyped up an "exclusive gay character" and "Marvel's first openly gay character" in the 22 movie franchise. But fans weren't happy with what they received after all of this hype beforehand. While representation is representation sometimes it's simply not good enough. In this movie, Steve Rogers (Captain America) goes to a counseling group with others to deal with such a huge loss in their world and lives. This is where we meet the "exclusive" gay character, who barely even has a name. He's an unnoticeable character if you're not paying attention, has no relevance to the plot, and doesn't make any kind of difference in the movie at all. He talks about how he finally went out on a date, with a guy, and how eventually they both cry while reflecting on their lives after the snap. While they call this "exclusive," we call this pretty close to queerbaiting.

Making a big deal over a background character and parading him around for his sexuality isn't what we would call representation. While it's always cool to see an LGBTQ character on the screen in such a huge series, this character is still just a minor character and has no relevance and is literally never seen again. He is on screen for less than five minutes before we never see this character again. This is what you call representation? A minor background character with no importance whatsoever? No thanks!

What we are looking for is at least someone that has something to do with the plot, not just there to say they've done it and market to the LGBTQ community. Marvel needs to do better when it comes to this. Their big deal over a minor character lost our respect more than it gained because this excitement was only a money grab more than an actual attempt at diversity. When we have characters like Valkyrie, who is Bisexual in the comics, we want to see more major characters gain this diversity. Even Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson agrees, "we gotta move faster" as no person should be excluded from being a superhero for any reason, even sexual orientation.

So Marvel, while you're here breaking box office records, don't forget to do better at giving the LGBTQ community the representation they deserve, and the representation we all want! And until you do, we'll just be here looking over Brie Larson's and Bev Johnson's support of Captain Marvel and Valkyrie!

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