The N Word (And Why Non-Black People Can’t Say It)

 

197Photo by Akeala King

The N word. Nigger. Nigga. There are plenty of variants, but those are the main three. Being popularized by rap culture, the second variant is generally considered to be ‘socially acceptable,’ and ‘fair game’ to any race.
However, that is not the case.

The N word, no matter the variant, should not be used by ANYONE non-black. Yep, it’s not a PoC exclusive word, it’s black-exclusive, and here’s why:

The n word, most specifically ‘Nigger,’ was used to oppress and dehumanize black people for centuries. Even now, people use the word for the same purposes. There’s historical significance, and the use of it by those who have not endured constant torment from such a word is constituted as the erasure and trivialization of systematic oppression.

“I might see Trinidad James on the street and call him ‘my nigga.’ You know why? Because he is my nigga. And the difference between Trinidad James and you, is that Trinidad James has to deal with the same oppressive situations. He was born into a world where anti-black racism prevails. He lives in a world where police might shoot him on the street no matter how much money he has. We share a collective condition known as ‘nigga.’ White people don’t.” This was a quote from Marc Lamont Hill in a panel held by Don Lemon, in which they discussed the use of the n word to white, Conservative Ben Ferguson.

In this, Hill is right – black people shared, and still do share, the same abuse and treatment under that word. White people, as well as non-black people of color, have not. Some people think that, since people of color are all ‘colored’ in white eyes, the use of the n word should be permitted. In actuality, non-black people of color have used, and still use, the n word against black people in a multitude of cases. Therefore, seeing as how black people are the only ones considered to be a ‘nigga,’ they are the only ones allowed to use it.

Yes, I understand that both black people and non-black people of color share similar experiences under a white-supremacist nation, but the n word has not been used to dehumanize non-black PoC the same way it has been used against us black people. It is not your slur.

People argue that using the n word and then barring other races from using it divides society, and that we shouldn’t ‘give words power.’ Well, we didn’t give the words power! White people have, and still do, give the word its stigma today. Black people have barred other races from its use in order to prevent the same word used to oppress us from transcending back into what it was before. So, it’s not divisive, but just preventative. We do not live in a ‘post racial’ society. Racism is alive and well, and the reclamation of such a slur is a valiant effort to destroy white supremacy.

The use of the n word (specifically nigga) in rap culture is often brought up as a way to say that the word has been commercialized, and is a product available to the masses. That, again, is not true, as rap culture was developed by black people. The use of the n word is reclamation, which tries to generate a positive connotation for a word that has been used for years to dehumanize those that are black. This means that nigga has not been commercialized at all, but only changed into a way that would spit into the faces of the people using that word to dehumanize the entire race. This, however, does not mean that anyone can say it. This just enforces my previous point: the word was not used to oppress you, so it is not fair game for you, but for black people.

If you are black and do not feel comfortable saying the word, then do not fret! It is a choice, and it’s perfectly acceptable to decide to not say the word if you do not want to. If you are not black and feel like you should be able to say the word, your feelings do not matter. It’s not a courtesy extended to anyone non-white. The n word is only for black people, and that’s just how it is.

You may ask the question, ‘What if my black friend lets me say it?’ The easiest answer I can give you is: It does not matter. Your black friend does not represent an entire race, and you should not want to say the word at all. If your black friend allows you to say the word, it is usually because they fear losing you as a friend, and would rather not risk it. If your black friend says that you shouldn’t use it and you continue to use it, then you are a shitty friend perpetuating racism, and I pray for whomever your black friend is.

I’m black, and I’ve allowed my friends to say the n word for years, until I’ve realized how harmful it is for them to do so. I’ve been called all variants of the n word, though usually as a ‘joke,’ but every time it happens, it hurts me. This is nothing different than what black people have to face in this country today, and it’s only fair that we, being the only ones affected by this word, get an opportunity to turn it into something good for ourselves.

With such, I leave you with another quote from Marc Lamont Hill:

“The n word isn’t divisive. White supremacy is divisive.”

If you are not black, you are not allowed to police a slur that was never directed at you personally. There are many slurs that you can reclaim if you are marginalized by such a word but, being nonblack, ‘Nigga’ is definitely not one of them.

 

Comments

comments

  1. This was absolutely perfect. Many people at my school that aren’t black think it’s okay to yell or speak of the n word drastically. This article really settled that a non-black person wouldn’t say the n word.

  2. of course like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll certainly come back again.

  3. It’s really a cool and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Immediately after study a couple of of the blog posts in your web-site now, and I really like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark internet site list and will probably be checking back soon. Pls have a look at my website also and let me know what you believe.

  5. I’d need to test with you here. Which isn’t something I normally do! I take pleasure in studying a post that can make individuals think. Also, thanks for permitting me to remark!

  6. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful information specially the closing section 🙂 I handle such info much. I used to be looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  7. I simply want to mention I am new to blogging and actually enjoyed this website. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You definitely come with wonderful articles. Bless you for sharing with us your website.

  8. Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

  9. I think this is among the most vital information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The web site style is perfect,
    the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  10. After looking over a number of the blog articles on your blog,
    I seriously appreciate your technique of writing a blog.
    I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and
    will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and tell me how you
    feel.

  11. Hi Ariann,

    I have a question about your closing lines. You say, “If you are not black, you are not allowed to police a slur that was never directed at you personally.” Does this mean that it’s not ok for white people to police usage of the N-word?

  12. I simply couldn’t leave your site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual information a person supply on your visitors? Is gonna be again incessantly in order to investigate cross-check new posts

  13. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  14. I was just looking for this information for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

  15. Good website! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  16. Unquestionably consider that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be at the internet the simplest factor to consider of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while other folks think about issues that they just don’t recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the entire thing without having side-effects , other people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  17. Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Excellent. I’m also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  18. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write once again soon

  19. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

  20. I simply want to mention I am all new to blogs and certainly savored your web blog. Likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly have tremendous article content. Many thanks for revealing your blog.

  21. Great ¡V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, web site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

  22. Awsome post and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂

  23. wonderful post, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite experts of this sector don’t notice this. You should proceed your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  24. I’m writing to make you know of the fabulous encounter my wife’s child undergone going via the weblog. She realized a very good number of items, not to mention what it’s like to have an exceptional giving spirit to make certain folks just learn certain very tough topic areas. You undoubtedly surpassed readers’ desires. Numerous thanks for presenting the beneficial, trustworthy, revealing and as properly as straightforward ideas about this topic to Sandra.

  25. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice practices and we are looking to swap strategies with other folks, please shoot me an email if interested.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published.

Click on the background to close