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Why We Should Ignore the "N" Word

Updated on August 29, 2013

Yes, I am white. In fact, without a tan I may even appear translucent. However, although I grapple with my white brain and try to understand the things I have not experienced in this life, I look to others who have to teach me, inform me and make me understand their experience. I am only a human being who struggles and learns from my own experiences. However, I cannot idly stand by and watch the damage that is being done to our fragile society by the dreaded “N” word.

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The Damage of the "N" Word

I cannot help but believe that the elusive “N” word has somehow evolved into a mechanism of segregation. This word that we have learned to despise wields too much power, and no word should ever be empowered to hurt, separate people or cause the current contention of rage. Words that develop a unique context are similar to weapons that are blasted away at others to oppress them, cause emotional distress or control them. The “N” word is the worst weapon of all. There are no laws to remove it, it is portable and you can take it with you in any social situation.


Who Uses the “N” Word?

People who desire to add the shock value of the “N” word may use it as a controversy in their artwork, such as music, poetry or comedy. By nature, art is controversial and the job of this medium is to make you think, make you angry or inspire you with truth and beauty. This is true for anyone who experienced viewing a work of art that has disturbed or moved them. True art makes you question your own reality, your perceptions or belief system.

Unfortunately, there are those who use this word for the purpose of “making themselves feel valued.” People who do not feel they are important rely on the “N” word to feel powerful and project their own inadequacies onto another human being. If violence is the last resort of a limited mind, then the use of the “N” word to win a debate or solve a dispute is the epitome of that revered adage. People who are intelligent, feel safe and valued do not feel the need to hate, hurt others and inflict social damage.

Words of Hate and Despair

This is the reason words should never have too much power. So, what if we change the way we feel about the “N” word and deflated its value. What if someone said that awful word and no one reacted? What if we just stopped paying attention to those who use it to gain power in their helpless lives? What if we simply take away their weapons?

Unfortunately, even if we remove the words of intolerance from our language, there will always be those who are intolerant of others and may find a way to express their hatefulness. Perhaps someday we will see the true spirit of community emerge, value are similarities and completely ignore the idiot that attempts to hurt someone with a mere word. It is easy for me to say that we should evaluate ourselves from the inside and not let others judge us. But, devaluing the power of the “N” word may be a good start.

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    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Johnson 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      No one wants to allow the power of that word to go away it seems. No the money makers off of the world. Not the **gga but the **gger ending that brings the most disrespect. It does matter how the word is spoken. Both forms of the word are offensive, but the **gga version is acceptable among many Black Americans and Latinos. It is the educated who will have to start the change. I am afraid that years will go by before any real change occurs.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 3 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thank you for your comment Rodric, I agree with you completely. The money makers are sensationalizing these stereotypes and making a lot of money. I do hope we learn to give power to the things in our lives that truly help us. Thank you!

    • LoisRyan13903 profile image

      LoisRyan13903 3 years ago from Upstate NY originally from Long Island

      I am also white but I hate using that word, even if it not meant in a racial way. For example, when my daughter was something like 8, I told her about that N word and told her that was a word she should never use to insult a black person. Even though she was bullied by a couple kids at school, using that word is hurtful even towards her friends. I have never heard her say it and she got mad when her neighbor called her friend that. Another example is the book Huckleberry Finn and that word is used a lot in the book. But it was not written in a racist way. However, when we had to read out loud in front of our class, well over 20 yrs ago our teacher said if we were uncomfortable saying that word just to skip over it. Most of us did.

      Another incident with my other daugther-who is autistic: My husband told me about he and one of his friends-the friend is black-and they were calling each other **gga and my daughter came up to him, slapped him on the back and told him, "Never, never, never say that word!"

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 3 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Lois, and you have made my point. It is an ugly word, but only because it gets so much attention. It should be allowed to become extinct as other antiquated words have gone, and never be used again as a sign of hate. It is just a word. I never use it, I cringe when I hear it. But, it does represent a powerful message that should not be assigned to a word. Thanks for reading my post!

    • penlady profile image

      penlady 3 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      I appreciate you writing a hub on this disturbing word. In my opinion, the N word is just as bad as profane words. I hope that in our lifetimes, we will see this dirty, ugly word diminished from the minds and hearts of everyone.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very insightful! Thanks for tackling this subject in such a profound way. Voted interesting!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      You are a very courageous lady to have written on such a sensitive topic as this one.

      When I am hiking with my dog, I meet or walk pass several people. I can really tell who are those people who would be using the 'N' word and other generally unacceptable words against visible minority in their homes a lot and my dog knows it too for whenever he sees them, he growls (scientifically speaking, he may be feeding off chemical changes in my body, perhaps due to suppressed anger hahaha).

      Very informative and awesome article! Rated up.

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You're brave to openly explore and discuss something this controversial .. voted up!

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 3 years ago

      This is certainly a topic all of us have contemplated due to a recent incident with a public figure. Another HUBBER mentioned language in classic novels which usually ignites the conversation in education. Discussion and critical thinking is always a good thing . One of the most intelligent and compassionate perspectives on the use or abuse of certain words was given by CNN anchor Don Lemon in an interview with Erin Burnette. Thoughtful and honest HUB, ehealer. I have a link to the interview but will not place it in the comments without your permission.

    • eHealer profile image
      Author

      Deborah 3 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hi LK, thank you for your support and please post your link. I really appreciate your thoughtful and concerned comment. Thank you in advance for your posted link.

      eHealer

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 3 years ago

      ehealer,

      Here is the link mentioned above. Thank you once again for continuing to provide forum and HUB discussions which we may all learn.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/01/cnn-n-wor...

    • amuno profile image

      Alfred Amuno 3 years ago from Kampala

      Interesting hub Deborah. I get a little bemused by the power it holds and always wishing it would stop. It does not mean much where I am, and I guess people may not be so puzzled by its use. Maybe we can start the crusade here. Hahaha.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 3 years ago

      "People who are intelligent, feel safe and valued do not feel the need to hate, hurt others and inflict social damage." Amen

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      The problem with attempting to strip the N- word of its power is that the conditions that produce that utterly negative power still exist, like warm ocean currents energizing a hurricane. That word carries a message of denigration and contempt, of one person intending to devalue another based on race. Unfortunately, there are many who revel in sending those messages today, no matter what words are used. When the energy source is removed, a hurricane loses its power automatically. But while that energy still feeds the winds, no attempts to reduce the power of the hurricane will avail. And as long there are people who delight in sending the messages the N- word was designed to carry, its power won't diminish.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      You had a reasonable turnout on this one, so where have you disappeared to? HP has the mechanism to keep us posted, but all we get is that you have not had any recent activity. Did we let you down? Did you move to Zanzibar? Are you comatose with only dried flowers to keep you company? What gives?

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 22 months ago from Los Angeles

      This is an interesting hub. It is amazing how everyone can know the history of something such as this word, but over time it can become socially acceptable to use it. It's like the confederate flag to me. Acceptable until one day people stand up and make it unaccpetable.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Johnson 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      If Black people continue to use the word, it will be hard to harrow it out of American society.

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