Who Can Say The “N” Word?

Have you seen the 2011 clip from the HBO special ”Talking Funny,” of Chris Rock sitting with Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Louis CK discussing the infamous “N” word? It seems like every year there’s a need to address this topic and while it’s been answered numerous times already, let’s get down to the bottom of it once and for all.

Is it safe for any and everyone to say the N-word? The short answer is, no.  The better question is, as a non-black person why are you invested in trying to justify using the word [email protected]? There are well over a hundred thousand words in the English vocabulary, and you can’t seem to let Black people have this one? 

Simply put, there is no need to keep debating the context in which Black people use it. Whether it’s being used as a term of endearment, a diss, or a general greeting. It’s ours to do with as we please and requires no further explanation. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the hood, if you have black friends, if you’re invited to all the BBQ’s or if you’re married into the family with black kids. It will never be ok for you to say it, sing it or rap it. So just stop. 

Stop trying to appropriate this piece of the culture that doesn’t belong to you. Stop trying to understand why Black people continue to use the term when it has such a disgusting history. The reasoning doesn’t have to make sense to you because it is simply understood amongst us. 

There are no passes available to give that would allow a non-white person to utter this term no matter how beloved to us you are. It’s dangerous to let a select few to feel comfortable using the word because in the wrong setting it will be taken out of context or deemed inappropriate.  Most importantly, please consider that there are many non-black people who are in fact still using the word.  Likely in private, amongst themselves and not in a joking manner to describe you, their black “friend.”

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