Why Can’t You Say the N-Word?


Asian, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic people in urban areas have seemingly become comfortable with using the N-word as their expression of friendship with black people which is in many ways insulting. This word has never been used to describe or belittle them and there is no need for it to be part of their vocabulary.

In the Oxford dictionary black (adjective) is defined as “of any human group having dark-colored skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal ancestry.” However, black should be defined as people with undeniably African or Australian Aboriginal features such as wide noses, thick lips, kinky hair, and darker skin because they are the “niggers.”

Many people use the excuse that their ancestors were black to use the N-word. A “Negro” is defined as “a member of a dark-skinned group of peoples originally native to Africa south of the Sahara” also relating to black people. Therefore, if someone’s race or culture is technically not black, these derogatory terms do not apply to them.

A black person may use the term as they wish. This is a word he or she cannot escape from because it’s been deeply embedded into this country that this is what “black” is and this is how the world will always see “black.” We are the so-called “nappy haired, horse mouthed, black bucks” that white America shaped us out to be. But we’ve come to own the stigma of being black in America and we have even reclaimed ourselves by referring to ourselves as “Niggas.”

Some people feel like since they’re being friendly, it’s fine to say the N-word. But that isn’t necessarily the case. For example, if two friends from the Middle East were joking around and calling each other terrorists, it would be funny to them being that it’s a word they’ve both felt personally victimized by. However, had one of those friends been of another race, it would be seen as an ignorant remark being that other races are rarely, or never, accused of being terrorists.

Many light-skinned Hispanics that I have confronted about using the N-word say, “but my ancestors were black,” to which I respond, “good for your ancestors.” Simply put, Hispanics are a mix of multiple races and peoples, whether they be African and Spanish or Native and Spanish or African, Native, and Spanish. Therefore, that makes them not one or the other but all. You are not black, your ancestors were. You have been able to escape the same reigns of terror black people have face. There are even black Latinx people who experience racism in their countries and are called “Negra/o” because they cannot escape their black ancestry. They cannot escape because the black African blood runs through their skin and features.

For mixed race people, possibly half black and half white, it is how white passing you are that determines whether or not you have the choice to say the N-word. If your features are predominantly black, you are prone to grow up manipulated by white America, you will fear their system. If your features are predominantly European, you have an advantage and are likely to have privilege.

A black person may as well be defined as someone who is manipulated by white America at birth. Someone angered and insulted by the terms “Nigger” and “Negro.” A person whose dark skin and African features apparently defines the content of their character. A person so connected to their African ancestry that they would have either been on the plantation or in the house looking after the white man’s child. And if you can’t personally relate to any of this… You’re not black.

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