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Derogatory turned brotherly: People misunderstand cultural N word use

Micha'la Hood and Armani Moten

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The N word, the unspeakable. Featured in music, movies and books, the N word has become a term that brings up much controversy when used in day to day conversation. The word continues to be stated in a derogatory way.
Although African Americans were not legally enslaved after 1865, the word was still used against them. It was, and still is, a way of perpetrating the idea that the African American community is inferior. Continuing to use the word against the request of the black community to stop using it all together, shows that those requests dont (and have never) mattered.
The fact of the matter is that nobody should use the N word in any circumstance if they are not African American themself. Regardless of connotation or pronunciation. Just don’t say it.
Some people believe that if the pronunciation ends in the letter ‘a’ rather than ‘er’ then that somehow removes all baggage from the word, somehow making it a sign of companionship. This is not true.
Before a person may use a derogatory term in a new way, society as a whole needs to have a collective respect for the race that it is aimed towards. Since African Americans in the US are still treated unfairly (unequal police treatment, longer prison sentences, discrimination in the workplace, etc.) in some segments of society, this word cannot and should not be used in a way that dismisses the seriousness of the meaning behind it.
In the 1800s, the N word was not used as a ‘friendly term’ because people understood the physical and mental suffering that comes along with the history of the word.
If people are offended by others wearing band tees without actually being a fan of the band, how is saying the N word and not understanding the history behind it any different? This is why it is okay for African Americans to use this term freely, but not others because they do not understand the struggles that come along with being black.
Being that the N word is a racial slur, anytime other races use the word it is automatically percieved as a form of racism.
Many ask why black people use it but others can’t. The answer is simple… they are not black! The word means something totally different to each party.
It is not offensive when black people use it as a term of endearment because there is a collective understanding of the boundaries placed on the usage of that word and the feelings that it triggers. These are things that other parties cannot fully understand. Therefore, they should not use the term.

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The student news site of Plainfield High School Central Campus
Derogatory turned brotherly: People misunderstand cultural N word use