“The N Word” Series Part 3: Why People are Against and Don’t Use of 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.*
How can a 6 letter, sometimes 5 letter word, stir up many reactions and opinions? Some people are forbidden from uttering this word, it is downright offensive to some, while some view it as more neutral or even endearing. In this hub I will go over: Why People are Against and Don’t Use of the “N” Word. I will also go over arguments against the use of the “N word”.
As in my previous hub, the general rule is peoples of Caucasian/ European descent cannot say the “N word”.
Most Common Reason People Don’t Support the use of the “N” Word
The “N word” represents pain and is a reminder, a wound of our long sad past.
The unhealed wounds of slavery, the bittersweet pain of the civil rights movement, and the frustration of the passive racism of modern society. Imagine someone being called a “N word” before being lynched to death by an angry mob. Many have died for this word and/or what it represents. It’s an insult to your ancestors who have died and suffered for this word. It’s an insult to Martin Luther King Jr and other civil rights activists who fought for the rights of blacks and whose were insulted and killed by the hatred behind this word. Respect yourself, the past and your ancestors. Don’t use the “N word”.
As Langston Hughes in his memoir The Big Sea, 1940 stated:
““[t]he word nigger to colored people is like a red rag to a bull. Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously, of necessity for the sake of realism, or impishly for the sake of comedy, it doesn’t matter. Negroes do not like it in any book or play whatsoever, be the book or play ever so sympathetic in its treatment of the basic problems of the race. Even though the book or play is written by a Negro, they still do not like it. The word nigger, you see, sums up for us who are colored all the bitter years of insult and struggle in America.”
Langston Hughes describes the “N word” as a human stain of American culture. He views it as a pejorative and insulting reminder of the African-American Struggle. He does not care if it is being used in comedy or in realism, the “N word is offensive.
Arguments against the use of the “N word"
These are common arguments against the Usage of the “N word”
No one should use it
Some people think the “N word” should be banned and killed off the human language. No group has rights for the word, no group owns the word, and so it should not be used. On both sides.
It sets black people back centuries and further stereotypes them
This is in the tune with hip hop/gangster rap/modern mainstream rap culture. A lot of rap songs uses this word in their lyrics. In turn many believe hip hop and rap promote negative behavior and stereotypes of black peoples. People who use it think they are bad and gangsta when they say it, which further internalize negative stereotypes against blacks. This is because the “N word is forever associated with black people/peoples of color.
It gives more power to whites/the oppressive class.
Saying the word gives power to whites/the oppressive class. It represents the negative, white oppressive hegemony (power) and using that word further promotes it. Saying the “N word, puts it in our consciousness and spreads the negativity around.
Arguments against the use of the “N word" (cont'd.)
The word is negative and offensive plain and simple.
Just like the word Bitch is offensive to women, the “N word is offensive. No matter how much you turn it around and claim it is positive, it is inherently not. It's ugly, vile, with a tragic history. It can not be positive. The sooner people will accept that the sooner people will stop saying it.
The Rules of “N word” usage is hypocritical, unfair and confusing.
The rules of the “N word” usage is just too hypocritical, unfair and confusing. There has to either been a common uniformed approach to who gets to say it. Or no rules at all and not one gets to say it. This is an argument because blacks don’t operate as a sole entity and some don’t even agree among themselves on who gets to say it. Some blacks don’t even say the “N word” at all. Not to mention there is a "unfair" double standard (one group can say while others can't). Isn't that confusing? Might as well keep it simple and forbid anyone from saying it at all.
Lack of Respect
Using the “N word shows a lack of respect to black people. Someone should respect you enough not to say it. Just as you won’t say the K word to someone who is Jewish, the S word for someone who is of Hispanic descent, the F word for someone who is gay, and the T word for someone who is transgendered. Why would (white people) want to use the word anyway? Some people view it as a sign of disrespect towards people who are eager to defend their right to say it.
Who gets to use the “N word” ?
Whether you are for, against or don’t have an opinion at all; I hope if you are reading these series, that you learned something. I have given you the history of the word, and both sides of the argument so what do you think?
- “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.
- “The N Word” Series Part 2: Why Some People Support and Use the “N” Word
The second part of my three part "N word" Series for Black History Month. This hub focuses on “The N Word” Series Part 2: Why Some People Support and Use the “N” Word, common meanings of the N word.