Today I realised that some people are genuinely unaware that it is not okay for us to use the N-word. I get incredibly annoyed and angry every time this happens, and I think it’s about time I properly pen all of it down so that hopefully people read and repent (I’m joking) (not really) (stop it)
- Let’s start off with the word itself! The N-word is originated as a neutral term referring to black people, as a variation of the Spanish/Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger which literally means “the colour black” (information from wikipedia because its so reliable yay) While it has a perfectly “neutral” meaning, the historical context of the word gives it a twisted and mangled and incredibly offensive undertone. This word, which people oh so love to use, was used by awful white men as a way to undermine and disrespect their black slaves, whom they had abducted from their home continent. Think about that. They were stolen from their homes, and then mistreated, and the name they were branded with is simply a word describing their skin colour. They turned something inherent and natural into a symbol of hate and oppression. Then there was the whole magnificent civil rights movement which finally got the blacks a modicum of the rights they deserve, and banished the N-word from the Dictionary of the Decent Human.
- “But the real N-word ends with an ‘er’ I say the one that ends with an ‘a’. It’s totally different!” No it really isn’t.
- “But black people say it all the time now!” This is called intergroup usage vs intragroup usage. Many blacks see the usage of the N-word amongst their community as a way to reclaim it, also known as reappropriation (refer to: the pink triangle that Hitler used to identify homosexuals in the terrible days is now being used as a pride symbol in many pro-gay groups) For so long this word has been associated with oppression and slavery and torture and disrespect that they want to take it back for themselves and pair it up instead with camaraderie and affection and brotherhood. (refer to: jay-z and his opinions on why he uses the N-word in his raps)
- “Why can’t we use it as a term of endearment too! I mean, I don’t mean it offensively. It’s just a word.” No. It’s an offensive word and we have no place in using it because the blacks have had a tough lot in history and we owe them that. Frankly, we all lost the right to call them that endearingly when they were tortured for about 245 years and the rest of the world did next to nothing to stop it. Like Oprah says, every time you hear or see the word, remember that it was probably the last thing a black slave heard before he was lynched. Words are never just words. THAT IS NOT HOW COMMUNICATION WORKS. WORDS CONVEY MEANING. THAT IS WHY WE USE THEM.
- “I understand why it isn’t allowed for white people to say the N-word, but why not Asians? We never did anything to them.” Well guess what buddy, just because you didn’t do anything doesn’t mean you don’t have a place in the global community which is the world. Just because it wasn’t your conflict, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a conflict that you should care about. Also, fun fact: The British used to call Indians the N-word so HEY not so removed from the problem are we?
Basically what I’m trying to say with all this rage and words and bolds and italics is simply: