During my freshman year of college, I decided to party with one of my Caucasian friends, named Heather. Due to me being a car-less, party fiend at the time, I rode with Heather to a kick-back near campus. The party was hosted by one of my friends, so there were mainly Black people in attendance. As Heather and I walked into the party, the very first thing Heather said was, “What’s up my NIGGAAAAAASSSSS!!”
Yes, my white friend, who tried to be down, screamed the N-word in a room full of cross-faded Black college students. After Heather’s warm greeting, the room quickly became silent; the music even stopped. I remember slowly backing away from her, so that no one would know that I was with her. As I slowly backed up, Heather just stood there with her exaggerated smile. You know that smile that white people give you in the supermarket? Yeah, that one. Ironically, after the awkward silence, the host of the kickback approached both of us with a red plastic cup as the music started again. I guess that no one went off because they knew that she didn’t really mean anything evil by her outburst. Heather was just simply saying “hello”, but she went about it in one of the most controversial ways. Are Black people at fault for making it okay for other ethnicities to include “nigga” in their vocabulary?
Commercial Use of the N-Word
I wasn’t offended by Heather’s yelling of the N-word, because of the context she used it in. Many would argue that regardless of the context, anyone who isn’t Black shouldn’t even utter it. However, that argument can be contradicting due to the saying of “nigga” being prominent in the African-American community. From everyday conversations, to the Black movies and almost any form of Black centered entertainment. For instance, the lyrics in most Hip-hop and R&B songs contain the N-word. In this day in age, Hip-Hop is one of the most popular genres of American music. Nowadays, when the DJ spins a rap song, non-Black people feel comfortable enough to recite every “nigga” in the lyrics. This is because the word has become a term of endearment, without consideration of where it came from.
Older generations of both Blacks and Whites may agree that “nigga” and “nigger” are derogatory terms used to oppress Black people since the 19th century. A 70-year-old White person would be more cautious to say it in front of an African-American, while a 20-year-old Caucasian wouldn’t be as such. This shows how much society has evolved culturally and socially. Despite the cultural shifts in America since desegregation, the word is still being used as a racial slur by non-Blacks. More than likely, the offensive context of the N-word would be used behind African-Americans’ backs. It’s all because of the societal understanding that its best to not say the N-word in front of a Black person. Nevertheless, when “nigga” is used by Blacks to insult other Blacks, no one says anything because of the double standard when it comes to who can and cannot say it.
So, by Blacks turning its original meaning completely around, does it unknowingly welcome outside races to use “nigga” in a friendly fashion? The answer to this question is depends on who you are as a person. A percentage of African-Americans would’ve been unbothered by Heather’s “nigga moment” while some would’ve slapped the taste out of her mouth.
What do you think should everyone be allowed to say the N-Word?
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