Why I Can Say The 'N-Word' And You Can't
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Politics and Activism

Why I Can Say The 'N-Word' And You Can't

Say it at your own peril.

Why I Can Say The 'N-Word' And You Can't

What once was a derogatory term utilized to define slaves and African Americans is now used as slang, and is predominately said by black people. N**** is synonymous for friend/homegirl/homeboy/my gee/fam, etc.

However, in the recent years, there has been a silent uproar in the media over the usage of the word; Who gets to use it, and who doesn’t get to use it. Because the African American community has basically banned any other race or populous from uttering it, non-blacks are practically begging the Gods of the Black Cards to hand them a slip.

I never truly recognized how dire it was for people who aren’t black to be granted the permission to call each other n**** until my best friend, Madeson, and I had an endearing conversation about it.

During one of Madeson’s classes, the topic of racism inevitably arose, and one inquisitive classmate of hers (who is white, if I might add,) asked the following question: “Well. If black people can say the “N” word, how come white people can’t say it?” She then expanded her thesis by stating that because black people use it in a joking, half-hearted manner, other people should be able to use it just the same.

Me and Madeson, two millennial, African American females, found this young woman’s apathetic comments humorous, yet so ignorant and shallow that we were almost obligated to give this girl the clap back of a life time.

First of all. Let’s consider the undeniable fact that this girl is white. Her great grandfathers and ancestors inhumanly called us n****, among many other defamating and slanderous terms in place of our names, which again I remind all, that they also stripped from us along with our true identites to bring us to their land that they were too lazy to cultivate and build on their own, and forcibly branded us their life servants.

As Madeson put it, we were in a condition of involuntary servitude and at the time, that word meant that Master controlled us. Even though our condition has hardly improved since then, we would be insanely stupid to allow white people this type of moral and ethical power over us after all the suffering we endured.

Nobody else can/should say this word also because its a part of our culture. Again, when you enslave millions of individuals, strip them of their cultural identity and force them to adjust to unfavorable circumstances, they will learn to adapt to their current situation, and as a result of that, we inherently created a new culture.

During the civil rights era, activists practically wanted the word, n*****, outlawed. Slavery and social injustices was a sensitive topic, so it was slightly unorthodox to hear black people calling each other n***** as much as they do today. But, when the baby boom and millennial eras began, there was a gradual shift in the African American community that offered and almost acceptance of the word.

It isn’t necessarily black people being ignorant, but black people taking ownership. We experienced the emotional, physical, and mental dehumanization associated with the word n**** , and we have henceforth claimed everything surrounding the history of the word n****, so why wouldn’t we own this measly aspect of it?

There’s no sense in blotting it out or pretending like it never happened. History is essentially a part of culture. You can try to change it and make it aesthetically pleasing for future generations, but the truth is always threatening to tear the veil of deception.

While black people get angry at the truth, that n**** is an intricate part of our history, it is not our truth because we know that we are not the definition of a n****.

Lastly, we can say n****, and you can’t, because we say the word out of love.

When one of my fellow brethren addresses me saying (for example,) “What’s good, my n****,” or after a joke, proceeds by saying “That n**** stupid,” I feel communion. Not only because I’m comfortable with the fact that we are both black, but because we are both victims of the same contingencies: being ridiculed by racist/prejudice white people, tolerating the non-black person that called them a n**** or attempted to use the word “playfully,” etc. Almost every black person knows of this frustration, and it is because of these unspoken instances that I am able to communicate and relate to my brethren on a spiritual level.

We all have nothing but love for each other, because we understand one another. Anyone that mutters this word that isn’t black only expresses hate. Whether it’s the white person that says it because they “admire” our culture or uses their privilege to validate their reasons for saying it, whether it be Hispanics because their almost dark hue obliges them to say it, or whether it be the Asians or the Middle eastern because they simply want to ride the wave. Almost every race has been given some generally racist nickname. The only difference is that we turned our spite-filled connotative name and turned it into love which is something only “n*****” will understand.

Our culture is fairly intriguing, but all we’ve done was make light of a desolate and hopeless situation. All you have to do is exactly what we did, just don’t hijack our culture, it’s all we have up to this point in history.

Basically, to conclude, no, you still can’t say it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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