Why Non-Black People Should Never Say The N-Word

Why Non-Black People Should Never Say The N-Word

And yes, that includes non-black people of color.

To some people, words are powerless and can be thrown around without any sort of ramifications. To others, words define their very being and play a significant role in how society treats them. The divide between these opposing sides grows even deeper when the type of words being discussed are slurs.

The slur that has currently been eliciting a wide number of responses is the N-word. Rooted in racism, but being reclaimed by the black community, the word has caused confusion. In order to understand why everyone does not agree on whether the N-word should be said by non-black people, the concept of privilege and reclamation must be addressed.

Being aware of one’s privilege can cause some people to get defensive because they may not be actively trying to prosper off of a marginalized group. In regards to racism, whether they intend to or not, non-black people continue to benefit from it. Privilege is what protects non-black people from facing the same injustices that black people do, such as police brutality and wrongful convictions. It is their privilege that allows the N-word to be used as a weapon against black people but used as a casual term towards other non-black people.

However, there are some people that agree that white people should not be allowed to say the N-word, but are fine with other non-black people saying the N-word. Since white people have the greatest amount of privilege in our society, many other minorities believe that they are allowed to say the N-word because they also face injustices. This is a dangerous thought because the word is used specifically against black people to further the cycle of their oppression. Even if the person saying the N-word is a minority, the N-word itself was not created to oppress them, and thus they cannot fully understand the effect that the word has on the black community.

Black people have attempted to reclaim the N-word by using it in their own community, but this has led to some non-black people believing that since black people call each other the N-word, non-black people should be able to call anyone the N-word too. The issue with that thought process is that the entire purpose of black people reclaiming the N-word is so that they can take the power of the word away from their oppressors. Non-black people cannot use the reclamation of the N-word as an excuse for them to say the word because they are the ones that black people are trying to prevent from saying the N-word by reclaiming it.

The argument has been made that allowing only black people to say the N-word is counter-productive because if black people really wanted the N-word to no longer be used against them, they would stop using it as well. Pretending that the N-word never existed does not solve the racism that caused the N-word to exist in the first place. The origin of the word will always stem from racism, but by reclaiming the word, black people can empower themselves in a society that still attempts to discriminate against them.

However, only acknowledging that it is racist for a non-black person to say the N-word is not enough. Non-black people must speak up when they witness another non-black person using the N-word because if they do not, their silence is taken as approval. The responsibility is not put solely on black people to speak out against it, but also for non-black people to use their position of privilege to tell as many non-black people as possible that they should not use the N-word.

Unfortunately, the words of a non-black person carry more weight in society than those of a black person, so it is vital for non-black people to educate their communities about how black people are impacted by their use of the N-word. It is also important for non-black people to uplift black voices that are speaking on the issue, and to always be ready to listen to their opinions on the topic since it personally affects them.

Cover Image Credit: Elephant Journal

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2017 Rocked, My Love Life However Did Not

Though my love life was disastrous at best, 2017 was a pretty successful year for me. It wasn't about what happened- it was how I defined what happened.

Towards the end of 2017, I made what may have been a negative decision regarding my “follows” on social media. While on Facebook, I came across a page dedicated to the traditional Western male in all of its glory. Now as an extremely progressive millennial feminist, I know this is contradictory – why would I even bother allowing this trashy content to come anywhere near my newsfeed? Well, I was mostly looking for a good laugh to get me through the day; however, while coming across some of this page’s content, I began to grow slightly uneasy.

Many of the page’s lengthier posts were committed to spreading the sentiment that the reason why mental health and suicide rates are on the rise is because too many millennials are depriving themselves of the joy of getting married and raising a family. The creators of this page are also very adamant in sharing the belief that young women should not be wasting time or money getting an education, but rather they should dedicate their efforts to finding a husband who will protect and support them.

Now although I believe with everything in me that this is complete alt-right sexist B.S., I suppose these posts disturbed me so much because there still exists a significant number of people who believe these sentiments to be true. While I was attempting to comprehend this nonsense, intrusive thoughts began to plague my mind.

Should I be actively seeking out a romantic partner while I simultaneously engage my studies? Will I truly be content without a life partner, children or even grandchildren? And how is it that women like my mother and grandmother had already met their spouses by the time they reached their teens, while I’m 20 and can barely decide what to put on my sushi roll?

Then, I began to think about the year I had just had in terms of my love life. If you were to study my 2017 chronologically from start to finish based solely on my romantic endeavors, the picture you would see would be truly apocalyptic.

My New Year’s Day in 2017 ended like many of yours - recuperating from a night of festivities with a few close friends and a really nice guy I was pretty into. Of course, a few days later, I was dumped (if you could even call it that - we hadn’t even started officially dating). Disheartened, I went for a run and cried it off - not out of a broken heart but out of frustration. 2017 had just begun and my dating prospects were looking pretty bleak.

As you probably already figured, my romantic life did not pick up. It was always one thing or another - he had other obligations, I had other obligations. She wasn’t ready for a relationship, I wasn’t ready for a relationship. He was bored of me, I was bored of him.

Needless to say, by the end of 2017, I had completely lost any interest in the dating scene. I was burnt out and exhausted, pleading to be left alone. I think a lot of people experienced their love life in 2017 the same way that I did. But I’ve noticed that the difference between those of us who say that we’ve had a great year despite this and those of us who say we’ve had a bad year because of this is not based on the consistency of those 365 days, but on the way we choose to define them.

You see, if I look like everything that happened throughout my 2017 with the exception of anything to do with romance, I had one of the most productive and successful years of my life. Throughout 2017, I held down 4 different jobs, making plenty of money and friends at each. I raised my GPA from a measly 3.0 to a 3.7 beginning with my Spring semester and managed to maintain this GPA throughout my Fall semester.

I became an executive board member for two organizations that advocate for movements I’m extremely passionate about (feminism and human trafficking prevention). I attended my first ever political rally (with Bernie Sanders of course) and even got to stand on stage with him. I volunteered at an elementary school in an impoverished neighborhood, and I became a teacher’s assistant for one of the greatest professors I’ve met so far. And of course, I unexpectedly became a writer for the Odyssey.

My point here was not to shed light on all of my accomplishments (though that certainly felt good, I can’t lie), but simply to argue that any year of your life, whether it be 2017 or 2070, should not be solely defined by the success (or lack thereof) of your romantic endeavors.

Furthermore, ladies and gentlemen: Though some may wish the year was 1950, it simply is not. If 2017 has taught us anything, particularly about gender roles and feminism, it’s that women are not walking opportunities for marriage, motherhood, or household chores. Women are now members of Congress, your professors, your doctors and your lawyers. The loves of our lives are not our caretakers or protectors, but our equal partners.

Relying on a handsome prince or a beautiful princess to sweep us off of our feet is a pretty dangerous game. We will never be truly autonomous, independent human beings if we depend on others for our happiness.

Waiting on the traditional “happily ever after” is not an hour-long Disney cartoon - it can grow to be a dark and lonely path, especially if we lose ourselves in the process. Don’t sit on the bench of life and call on passersby to give you what you seek- get up and start walking. True contentment will always be found within the self.

Cover Image Credit: Indalia Candelas

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15 Things Only Authentic Dancers Know TOO Well

From one dancer to another, I think we all can relate.

Dancing is not only a hobby or a sport, but a passion for most dancers.

Dance is not just something we do, it's part of who we are. As a dancer myself, I relate to all of these and have experienced all of this growing up my whole life.

I love being able to call myself a dancer even with all the crazy funny things we have go through.

1. Dancing every where you go.

Dancing is running through your veins at all times so you just can't help yourself when you hear music play.

2. Stretching and then your hip cracks

Or your neck, knees, ankles; pretty much everything starts to make a sound but your body is so used to it already.

3. Being extra flexible

You love to show off sometimes and it's cool and crazy how a person's body can bend in certain ways.

4. Having other dancer friends that can relate to your problems

When you meet another dancer, you automatically feel a connection.

5. I can't, I have dance

This is not an excuse. On average dancers spend ten or more hours a week on their feet, especially during competition season.

6. Using the word "and" as a count

Realizing the word "and" is used as a step but it's not an actual number.

7. The one in the friend group that's known for "always dancing"

Your friends are always asking "how do you move like that? or "did you really just dance your way to the kitchen?" Yes, yes I did.

8. Hearing a song and instantly want to choreograph to it

When you hear a song for the first time and think "yes, I can totally see myself sassy walking across the stage followed by a few pirouettes."

9. Dancing IS a sport

Dancing is hard work, and anyone that says it's not a sport clearly doesn't understand the physical intensity that goes into it. Dancing is more than just physical, but it has a mental element to it as well.

10. Fake eyelashes

Any dancer that has competed has had their fair share of fake eyelashes. Personally they were so heavy and such a pain to wear, but they do make a big difference on stage.

11. Finding yourself standing in a ballet position during casual conversation

Somehow I find myself standing in first or fourth position when just having a normal conversation with someone.

12. Having a sh*t ton of bobby pins

And don't for get to make an "X" with them to ensure maximum security for your hair. We also shed bobby pins like there's no tomorrow. You are bound to find them laying around your house in the most random places.

13. That one drawer filled with all your old costumes

The perfect way to save money on Halloween costumes if you ask me.

14. Can dance in front of large crowds, but can't give a speech

Dancing in front of large crowds and giving a speech are two totally different things. We use body movement to convey our message, no words involved!

15. You learned how to apply makeup before you hit puberty

If you've been dancing since a very young age, you learn all the different beauty products rather quickly because you had to wear makeup on stage at the age of 7. And when you were finally able to wear makeup outside of dance performances, you were basically a pro.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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