No, You Can’t Say the N-Word MAG

November 6, 2016
By dinma BRONZE, Norwalk, California
dinma BRONZE, Norwalk, California
4 articles 1 photo 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead." -Charles Bukowski

As a black girl, growing up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood was tough. Sure, there were benefits – like being immersed in the vibrant Mexican culture (I love the food the most; elotes are life) – but there were also several cons to being a minority. For instance, I vividly remember my childhood best friend telling me that we couldn’t hang out anymore because her family didn’t approve of her associating with people of a darker color. Although scenarios like that were rare, I still felt like the odd one out. As the only black person in my classes, I had to deal with foolish questions from ignorant people.

For example:
“Do those braids, like, grow from your scalp? Or are they implants?”

“Hey, do you know a guy named Jamal? Oh you don’t? Hm, I thought you would since you guys are both … you know ….”
And my personal favorite:

“Picture this: Mother Teresa is held captive by terrorists, and they call you on the phone. They tell you that they’ll let her go, but she’ll have to say the n-word first. Would you let her say it? Would you let me say it?”

Yes, I actually have gotten that question, and I still get it quite often in different forms. It always confused me why non-black people would feel the need to say a word that has so much hate tied to it, but I finally have it all figured it out.
Pretend you’re at a party, and someone puts a mouth-watering chocolate cake right in front of you. The catch: you can’t have any, but everyone else around you can. Wouldn’t you feel jealous? I mean, the cake is right there; if you take a piece, you’ll be happy and you won’t be hurting anyone else.
Do you catch my drift?

Non-black people want to feel included. They see it as unfair that the n-word is thrown around in songs and books, but they can’t say it. Plus, black people are just super cool. Rachel Dolezal is a prime example of a white person wanting to be involved in black culture. But here’s the thing: if you’re not black, don’t say the n-word. When black people say the n-word to each other, it is because we are united in the struggles that we have faced and continue to face. When it’s said by non-black people who don’t (and never will) fully understand our struggle, the n-word can be very hurtful. Non-blacks have to realize that every time they say it, they prevent the healing of wounds that slavery caused. Instead of saying the n-word, perhaps they should go learn about black culture and where the word came from.

The author's comments:

People ask me constantly if they can say the n-word, and here is my answer.

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This article has 3 comments.

on Oct. 16 2017 at 11:13 am
Nostalgia SILVER, Stamford, Connecticut
9 articles 1 photo 12 comments
You are so insightful! I agree with you when you said how non-blacks should not use that word at all because they never will understand the usage and meaning of that word. And that they shouldn't get upset when black people say to non-blacks "you can't say that word."

on Sep. 7 2017 at 11:16 pm
biscuitlevitation BRONZE, Washington, District Of Columbia
1 article 11 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Besides, I can't get to where I want to go by conscious or unconscious suicide. I've got my strange little life to lead. Leading it the best I can -- that's how I buy the ticket to where I want to be." - Forever Odd, by Dean Koontz

Thank you for sharing! This is really thought provoking and has really great insight into why it's still harmful to say it, even if you "don't mean it that way."

on Sep. 7 2017 at 6:28 pm
_3am_in_fall PLATINUM, Lincoln, Rhode Island
48 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" - Mad Hatter, Lewis Caroll

I'm so eternally thankful for this article. It just understands me and I'm sure many others entirely. I'm a black girl living in a predominantly Caucasian community, so of course there's an absence of other cultures to be immersed in and I constantly find myself getting the same exact questions and comments as you. Such as... "Is your hair naturally that long and curly? or is it a weave?" "You're pretty, for a black girl" "Do you dance or sing?" "Hey, you look like Michonne from the walking dead." or the chic from scandal or the one on empire or the woman on how to get away with murder. As if all black women look alike, act alike, and wear their hair the same way, and some times it just makes me want to scream, because on top of that, they don't even think about whether or not saying the n word is okay. they don't even bother to ask. They just do it. And no matter how many times I say its not okay, they just keep saying it. And I've had to censor myself with my other black friends because if they here me say it with them the ("ah" ending not the "er") they will want to say it too. Not understanding that the meaning changes, when black people use it its about community, not disrespect like when they use it. But we can't even have that anymore without them wanting to take part in it as if its theirs, because everyone wants to act black and be a part of whats considered the "black group", as you said we are pretty cool; but when it comes to understanding the struggle of living in a society that continues to oppress us they back away. They all want black lips, music, hair, soul, language and body types but they don't want the struggle, and I don't want to be anybodies "little black friend" when they say they have "black friends (i.e. me) if they can't understand that they can't have my culture too.

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