“The N Word” Series Part 2: Why Some People Support and Use the “N” Word
*Disclaimer, in this hub there is a quote that has the “N word”, I chose to include it. This is the only time the “N word” is used and written out in this hub.*
When headlines of popular celebrity chef, restaurant franchise owner, cooking host and cookbook author Paula Deen speculative usage of this word, reignited public debate of usage of the “N” word. Even so why do some people support use of the word and why are some people against it? Why can’t some group (s) say it and others group (s) can’t? In this hub I will go over why some people support and use the “N” Word". I will also go over arguments for the use of the “N word”. Before I discuss reasons people support the use of the “N word” and arguments for the use of the “N word”. I will give a quick rundown on how the “N word” is used.
Common meanings of the “N word”
Since the usage and word meaning of the “N word” has changed and evolved over the past 50 years, there are different meanings when using the “N word”. These are the common meanings:
- Term of endearment. Similar to saying these other slangs: Son, Homie, Sweetie, Friend, etc.
- Used to describe something. Used as an epithet (a descriptive phrase, nickname or label).
- Example: “Some n-words are acting stupid today”. OR “Stop acting like an n word.”
In both of these examples it’s used to describe someone stupid and takes on a negative connotation.
The “N Word” is used to:
- Refer to another black person, a black friend or a family member.
- Refer to friends and people regardless of race or gender.
- Refer to someone in a negative matter, as a diss.
- Refer to someone in a neutral tone.
As in my previous hub, the general rule is peoples of Caucasian/ European descent cannot say the “N word”.
Most Common Reason people support the use of the “N” Word
Re-appropriating the Word: The “N Word” as the wounded healer
The “N word” represents the black peoples and members of the African diaspora continued strength and resilience against oppression. The use of the word means they are taking back the word, reclaiming it as their own. By using the “N word”, you are taking it back and turning something negative and shameful into something more positive. It’s part of black people’s ability to transcend and heal themselves through the use of this word. It is part of the wounded healer cycle. Think of it in terms of Greek mythology figure, Chiron. It is also a popular term in astrology. Carl Jung, psychologist, famously coined this term, “wounded healer”.
In the Greek mythology legend, Chiron is an immortal centaur (half-human, half beast) who is poisoned by an incurable wound. In psychology and astrology terms, Chiron the wounded healer acts as a way to heal itself or suffer. In it Chiron aka the wounded healer is aware of its wounds, which is activated at certain times and situations. The wound doesn’t go away, but it a driving force that can help others when you positively and properly use the wound. Use the wound as a positive advantage that can empower yourself and others and give you purpose.
Clarence Major stated in his Dictionary of Afro-American Slang book (1970), “Used by black people among themselves, [nigger] is a racial term with undertones of warmth and goodwill—reflecting…a tragicomic sensibility that is aware of black history.” The term is tragic with an even more tragic history, even so it’s used to lighten and soften the pain/wound from the word.
Arguments for the use of the “N Word”
The usage and word meaning changed
Simply the word is evolving. Just like the word: “Bitch” or “Guido” (the ethnic slur of the Italian community), the “N word” is used as term of endearment and gives off a sense of pride of one’s heritage. Not only that; but the “N word” become a cultural significance especially in pop culture.
“It’s just a word”
The reasoning behind using the “N word”. You give power to words, words don’t have power over you, unless you give them that power. Similar to the saying: sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt. Words are neither positive nor negative.
Arguments for the use of the “N Word” (cont'd.)
Freedom of speech AKA People should be allowed to say whatever they want
Freedom of Speech is often pulled into this. I admit this argument is faulty. It is faulty because it not illegal to say the “N word”. Freedom of speech is meant to protect the people from the government, not for individuals’ protection against individuals’. It is however politically incorrect to say the “N word”.
If you are not a POC (person of color) and you say the “N word”, it can have negative social impact (loss of job/reputation; perceived as racist). Using politically incorrect words in public is pretty much the same thing these words being made illegal in the eyes of non-POCs. In spite of political correctness, some people feel they should be allowed to say whatever they want whenever they want and that includes the “N word”.
Who gets to use the “N word” ?
Anyway these are the common reasons and arguments on why some people support and use the “N” Word. My next hub I will talk about the common reasons and arguments on why some people don’t support the use of the “N” Word. Check out for the last part of my “N word” series.
- “The N Word” Series Part 1: A Brief History of the Most Hated Word in America
The first part of my three part "N word" Series for Black History Month. This hub focuses on the Etymology and history of the "N word." Also the General Unspoken Rules for saying the “N” Word." USA.