No, You Can’t Say the N-Word This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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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.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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biscuitlevitationThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 11:16 pm
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."
 
J.M.daCruzThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today at 6:28 pm
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... (more »)
 
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