What should be done about the "N" word?
Consider this first... America practices "Freedom of Speech" but this word as of late has been restricted not only to defining minorities, but to being used only by them. Which in turn oppresses the speech of the people of Caucasian descent. What a paradox this word freedom has become. Remember the true essence of freedom when answering this question.
That's an interesting point -- and well taken. I think there are two important distinctions. Firstly (and lawfully) are we allowed to use this word without it being considered a racial slur? As far as I know, racial slurs are not illegal and therefore technically freedom of speech is protected.
The paradox you raise means that despite its lawfulness, it is a cultural taboo -- leading to the word being considered a taboo. So as you said, it is both legal and immoral. Where does that leave us?
My comment would be that society has the tendency to censor itself (while ironically at the same time decrying violations of free speech) which is yet another sociological paradox.
Oh dear, now I have more questions than answers.
Good question HubPrince!
Great question, and I like your input on it also. So true, to opress others to appease the ones who are offended is to say that you have the Freedom of Speech unless it offends the masses, then you will be shushed. That to me is offensive in itself. Our society here in America has become so whiney, and touchy, they get offended about the smallest things, and as of late it is certainly taking away our freedoms. What about the F word, and no not the 4 letter one.. the FAT one.. laugh, being one who is overweight, I could take offense to it, but I don't, let it roll over and move on. There are idiots everywhere.
i feel that nothing should be done about it. i have used the word in the past to describe an ignorant person of no special race. the word first came up by some dumb ass who could not spell negro. being of original person descent i can testify that all races have ignorant people. that can be fixed. stupid on the other hand cannot. if someone of any race wants to re-gurgitate mis-spelled words from ignorant ancestors,so be it. i will never refer to my own race as savages, squaws, or indians. if i come upon an idiot of original origin i will call him an idiot. if blacks want to call each other nigger, it only hurts their image to other races as well as their own. it is far from a compliment to say such things. there are way to many good people of all races to degrade anyone just because of color.
"Freedom of Speech" was originally primarily associated with political speech and open-ness in criticizing the government. The classic example people use to point out the difference between "Freedom of Speech" and a presumed right to say whatever we want to say is that we aren't allowed to yell, "Fire" in a crowded theater.
When I was three years old (many decades ago, as a little White girl), my little friend used the word in a kind of matter-of-fact way but without really seeming to know it was an ugly word. I'd never heard the word used before. My mother came out and said it wasn't a nice word, and it wasn't a word "we use in our house". My little friend said, "Oh, OK," and I would later go on to learn more about why that word wasn't just a "not-nice" word, but one associated with all ugliness of a history that should never have happened to human beings.
I think what my mother did was right, of course. I think when it comes to the littlest of children parents need to tell them it's not a word we use. Older children can then be taught why, when they're more able to understand. People often say, "It's only a word, and if it's used in a way that takes away its original meaning that diffuses it." I think the word ought to buried on behalf of those human beings who, themselves, were buried after a lifetime of having that word used against them in the way it was. It's true that it's "only a word", and because it is we have the power to decide which words we consider acceptable and which we don't.
I'm not in favor of suppressing or discouraging the expression of ideas (not even ugly, ignorant, ideas); but I think that one, ugly, word that has the history it does ought to be completely "snuffed out" of American vocabulary. To me, it isn't a matter of suppressing my speech as a White person. I don't think African Americans should use the word either - not in jest, not because they want to diffuse it, not for any reason. If we can't yell, "fire" in a crowded place that means there are some words in some circumstances that, if used, have too many negative and serious consequences to be used. I don't think it should be illegal to use the word, but I don't think keeping it alive benefits or respects the people against whom it was once used (or their descendants).
If there were an equal word and history for White people, I wouldn't want my kids to use it and "diffuse it"; because I'd want that particular past dead and buried so my kids could live in a new time. Maybe it's not for me "want" for people of a race other than my own, but I'd like to see, for young African-Americans, what I'd want for my own kids.
Freedom of Speech does mean freedom to criticize the government but it also means you are free to say whatever you would like. I feel as though the "N" word is offensive and I myself don't use it, but the fact that only the minorities use it is astounding. It is a great question and I feel that freedom of speech is not being protected. Recently Massachusetts had "anti-bullying week" which prohibited the word "retard" because it is "provocative and offensive". This coincides with this question.
I don't use it because I don't want to hurt someones feelings but, I wish black Americans would join me to put an end to its use completely.
I don't think anything should be done about it.
We have enough sensitivity in the world as it is; I wish people would toughen up a bit. It is just a word and if a person is respectful, they won't use it to offend anyone. If a person is trying to be insulting, they have a lot more words to use than the "N" word.
I've heard black people call each other this word all the time, but some will get mad if someone out of their race says it. What is that, racial jargon?
America is starting to become a little too "fluffy."
actually - I call everyone by the "N" word because to me it represents ignorance.
It is a shame that the origin is a derivative of the word Negroid
Perhaps we should start using the word sponge or Carbon (as in carbon paper - being someone is a copy of stupidity)
but that's just me ...
Freedom is considered to be the just character of individual humans, in that we are free of impositions placed on one another. The "N" word is an unjust label, slurring the label "Negro", which is an unjust label, replacing the African ethnic identities of those captured and enslaved from Africa and descended into America. To disarm them of this weapon of insult and degradation, we have chosen to embrace it as an identity, the word "Nigger" being somewhat derivative of the word "Niger", which is an African location of land and water, from which very many of our ancestors were taken captive. We employ it in the human senses of emotion and affection, anger, and warning, to affirm the very humanity it is meant to deny, making it more of a slang than a slur, within our African-American dialect. Its use by others can only signify a mocking, or worse, intent, and as such is unjust, hurtful, and anti-freedom. As you know and can imagine, freedom only works within the limits of health and justice, and renders a measure of honor and respect, good will and good deeds. This is the discourse of social and personal progress and sustainability. To be refrained from hurting another is no oppression, but a corrective; and to heal oneself is also, toward freedom. See more in my Hub "The N Word"
Nothing should be done about the word. It is a part of the American lexicon of English no matter what one thinks or desires. It has a history of oppression and a present of camaraderie. It matters to some how the word is expressed--such as the vernacular were the pronunciation excludes the last too letters of the word and includes and "a". As long as a group of people hold to a derivative of that word it will continue as one of controversy among those that allow the psychological impact of the history of the word to affect them emotional.
Conversely, that word can cause a rift between groups not allowed to use it--even within the expanding culture of Hip-Hop per the controversy over Jennifer Lopez using the word in one of her songs. Only specific minorities are allowed to use the word? Who it so decide, and when will a decision be made who can use the word. Leave the word be, and let it die or thrive as culture decides.
I compare it to a mole on the face. On some, such is a mark of beauty to be admired. On others it is an eyesore. The so called N-word is a mole. Cut it off or admire it!
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