Posted by: Trina | March 15, 2009

Is It Ever OK?!?!

Ok, there is a lot of controversy about the use of the so-called ‘n-word’. The situation used to be pretty cut & dry. It was an insult, pure and simple. Obviously, white people using it were expressing their feelings of superiority over us when they used the word – even those white people who used not in disdain or disgust, butit pretty much interchangeably with terms like ‘colored’ or ‘Negro’. And most of the timel, when black people used it amongst themselves, it was either an expression of resigned self-loathing or a mark of  class delineation.

Black people themselves have made the issue more complex in recent decades. In an attempt to ‘take back the word’ or ‘remove it’s racist sting’ many (esp. young) black people use it on an arbitrary basis, sprinkling their speech with it and adding supposed pre- and suffixes to give the term a rainbow of nuances within black (urban) speech.

Because black people now feel emboldened to use this word (could rap or hip hip even exist if the notorious n-word suddenly disappeared?), well-meaning white people have somehow found themselves caught in the cross-fire.

Can THEY ever legitimately use the n-word? If not, why not?

Personally, while I don’t have blanket condemnation for every black person who chooses to use the word, I think the idea of ‘taking back’ a term that has always held a double-edged barb for anyone of color is an illusion, pure and simple.  Just as I would never tolerate any man verbally confusing me with a female dog, in my opinion there is now way to artificially sweeten using that word.

So, I pretty much agree with the opinion presented in the following video. No matter WHO says it!


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