Why is it that “Non-Black” persons are forbidden from using the N word freely?
Whether it’s discussed at the kitchen table or debated on mainstream television networks like CNN, we all have came across this issue at least once in our lives or will come across it eventually. Dissimilar to most debated issues, this particular debate has more than 2 arguments. As it pertains the use of the N-word, some people may feel that no-one who is not black should use the word, some people believe that anyone should be able say the N-word depending on its contextual usage, and lastly many people believe that no-one should use the word regardless of its contextual use.
In the U.S., the long history of racism and discrimination are represented through the many words that were used to assist in the dehumanization of Black citizens.The word Nigger and it’s many variations became the poster for everything Black people set out to prove that they were not. In more recent times, the word has become apart of the everyday language for more urban communities of whom are the innovators of modern hip hop where the variation “nigga” is deeply applied to various forms of music. In my opinion, I believe that if Black people feel comfortable using the N word that it is their right to use it. I feel that there is only debate on the use of the word because white persons are told not to use the word. After centuries of oppression and the colonization of information, it only makes sense that they (the inheritors of privilege) feel as if they are entitled to control not only what minorities say but how they choose to develop the culture that they’ve been denied for generations.
Upon reading this some may feel as if this isn’t necessarily an issue worth discussion, but to them I pose this one question, “Are you Black?”. How exactly does a Black person using the N word affect you? Why would you want to use the word regardless of context? It is important not to ask these questions, but to have these discussions in their entirety. Taking part is these specific type of arguments can create spaces where different groups are able to effectively communicate and help bring forth solutions to big issues like cultural sensitivity, euro-centrism, and many more.
Dankert, Shelly. “Don Lemon & Glenn Beck Discuss Racism, N-Word, Homophobia, & More” Youtube Published 2015 June 24. Glenn Beck appeared with Don Lemon on CNN tonight.