The N-word is such a controversial topic, it has been for many years, and will be for many years to come. I constantly see arguments on Twitter or in real life over who can and cannot use the word. The answer to this question is actually very simple, but can easily become more complex as you throw in different variables. I know this sounds all scientific and convoluted, but I will try to make this as elementary as possible. Are you Black?

Okay that was a bit misleading, but we will get into that later. {Also, keep in mind that all of this is my opinion and in no way reflects anyone around me or any future people I work with *hint*hint*}

The most obvious part of the answer is that white people definitely should not say the word. In my honest opinion, there is just too much bad history behind white people saying the word. I mean, slave masters and white people that didn’t even own slaves called black people that. It was a term used to hurt and degrade black people. (Now you’re probably asking, well then why do black people use it?? I’ll get to that, calm down)

Image result for n word white people

I feel like one of most annoying things nowadays that I’ve personally noticed is that white people want to say it so badly. And for what?? Like I’ve honestly never understood it. Are you just going to start saying, “what’s up my {n-word}??” to every black and
non-black person you see instead of, “what’s up bro??

The only thing I can think of for the use of the word for white people is in songs. But, we all saw what happened with that at the Kendrick Lamar concert… If you do not know, Kendrick Lamar brought a white girl up on stage during one of his concerts to rap his song, M.A.A.D. City, but stopped her after she said the n-word multiple times throughout the song. Most people said that she should have been able to bleep out the word, but others said that “if the word shouldn’t be said, then don’t put it in the song in the first place.” Well, let me just say, that sounds like excuses wrapped with a bow of crap.

Image result for Kendrick Lamar stops white fan using N-word on stage at concert

If we don’t want the word said, then we shouldn’t put it in our music?? Really? That’s your solution? How about just don’t say it! It’s not that hard. In fact, to prove how not hard it is, I’ve tried bleeping out the word rapping to J. Cole songs and guess what? I did it perfectly fine. Why? Because it isn’t that hard. If you really love a song that much, then you know where the word is and you know how to close your lips. But, moving on.

Should non-black (and non-white) people be able to say it? This is a little bit more complex than, “should white people say it?” I recently got this opinion from one of my friends and to paraphrase what he said, you can’t say that word unless you go through the same situations as black people go through every single day. Until you are ready to deal with the same EXACT oppression (because all us POCs out here are dealing with some wild stuff), don’t talk to me. Black oppression is rooted in many, many years of hatred and bigotry dating back to the beginning of the Atlantic Slave Trade. And let me be clear, this is not to say that other groups of people don’t go through many hardships like us, this is just saying that there is much history behind the word that you or your ancestors may not have experienced.

Image result for n word white people ta-nehisi coates

And then there is the infamous N-word card, that some black people deem to their friends because they think, “hey, it doesn’t matter. We are all human. Here’s a pat on the back and an invisible {n-word} card for you to use anytime you like :)” Well, I’m sorry to say it doesn’t really work that way. The N-word isn’t just something you can give to someone else because it isn’t your right to do it. Like the quote above, “The n word is not a cultural gimmick you can claim. It’s based in race. History. Pain. Just don’t”

So the question begs, why do black people say it and should they even say it? Well, that’s probably the most complex part of the question. Like I mentioned several times, the word is rooted in much hatred beyond anyone from this time fully comprehending it. People my age and younger will never fully understand the hatred behind that word because we don’t live in a time where you can just flat out say it (such as on social media) and not be immediately called out on it, fired from your job, or shunned by other people. Except, that may be changing. Nowadays, people are becoming more and more bold and suddenly don’t care what anybody thinks, they’ll be racist and they’ll be proud of it. Why? Because they are emboldened by Trump. I may have strayed away from the subject a bit, but, that’s for another time.

The easiest answer to give you as to why black people use the word is simple: they decided to take back the word back, reclaim it, and make it into something else. No more will it mean the racist connotation that white people gave it. Unfortunately, I can’t find the correct words to describe it, but when you know, you know I guess…

If I’m being brutally (and I mean brutally) honest no one should say it. If our ancestors heard us throwing around the word as a greeting (even without the hard “er” at the end) they would probably flip out right before slapping the black off of us. Where I grew up, I heard it all around me, it’s not something that you will just never hear because you hear it in songs and in movies and tv shows. There is literally no escaping it and I’m sure we never will.

My final thoughts are no one should say it, BUT, if anyone is going to say it, it should be a black person. So, it’s up to you to decide who can and cannot say it. Do you side with free for all or freedom of speech but there will be consequences?

Signing Off,
Zoeysxo

Sources:
https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-44209141
https://twentytwowords.com/ta-nehisi-coates-brilliantly-explains-why-white-people-can-never-use-the-n-word/