Don’t say a word. I’m a very intelligent man. I already know the deal. I know about the “different” way we as black people say it. I know about it being used as a “term of endearment.” I know that if it’s written down, it would be spelled differently also. I know about all the reasons our community uses to justify the saying of this word.
And my opinion is that they are all garbage.
I’m well-aware that this word is used a LOT and said in a lot of different ways. If you were using it before, then I’m pretty sure this blog post isn’t going to stop you or change your mind. However, I’m still going to share my thoughts about this word and I why I will NEVER be okay with using it.
Originally, the word had nothing to do with black people. Even in some dictionaries still today, race isn’t mentioned or even implied. However, over time, it has become associated with us and not in a positive way. Of course, as there are many racist individuals still out there, this what is said to us from them.
However, my issue isn’t with them. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I have an issue with it being used in a racist manner, but that’s not my particular issue here.
It’s when WE decide to use it on each other.
How exactly did something that was once and is still used to degrade us become a “term of endearment”? And I’m actually okay with terms of endearment. I’m a sucker for being called “honey,” “baby,” “sweetheart” and all that. I don’t have a problem with those. But just who decided to take this word and say, “Hey, this word that is intended to make us feel inferior is now to be used in an endearing manner, but only toward each other. Whites can’t use it”?
There’s another point. Why exactly can’t white people use it? It’s a “term of endearment,” right? I don’t have an issue being called the terms above by any race. So why is something that we’re calling a “term of endearment” not allowed to be used by a particular race that, ironically, is the same race who had used and still uses it against us in a derogatory manner?
The answer is simple: I feel it’s because many black people aren’t comfortable with using it, either.
Yes, I know black people say it. But that doesn’t mean they’re comfortable with it. Men, it’s like when your wife asks you, “Does this make me look fat?” and while you really want to say, “Nah, you were fat long before you put it on,” you actually say, “No, honey.” You weren’t entirely comfortable with that, right? But you said it…
And ladies, when your husband asks if it was good and you really want to let him know how many times you dozed off on him, you actually say, “It was the best, honey.” You weren’t entirely comfortable with that, right?
But you said it…
Just a little humor to break up the seriousness, even though to me, the use of “nigger” is really nothing to laugh at. I honestly feel that many aren’t fully comfortable using it because of the fact that white people “aren’t allowed” to use it. What’s the reason for that? What has made it “okay” for us to use it on each other, yet take offense when white people use it on us as well?
I know, I know…it’s the tone in which it’s used. Fair enough, but most of the time, that’s not what’s said. Some people flat-out say whites can’t use it, no matter the tone. But here’s my problem.
I’m not going to just make myself okay using a term that was and still is used to degrade us. I refuse to. How am I supposed to feel better when hearing it? Just because another person who consider him or herself as one decides to use it? It doesn’t matter who is saying it to me. I’m concerned about its definition.
I honestly feel that we’ve somehow gotten so used to being put down in this manner that we have made this okay. I’m not talking about today, but back in the day. It’s sort of like an abusive relationship. A man calls his woman “stupid” all the time. Eventually, she believes it and starts saying it to and about herself. Then it’s the same thing; it’s become “acceptable” coming from the man for her to hear this, but she still feels some kind of way when someone else says it to her. And yes, I’ve even heard men say that they call their women “stupid” or “fat” or “ugly” and mean it with love. Seriously…with love.
They actually say this with a straight face. No joke.
Maybe not entirely the same situation, but in my opinion, very similar. Then let’s look at today. The word has been around forever, so when I see the black community using it, I wonder why exactly they find it all right to use. Not as a whole, but individually.
Speaking of which, I have asked people individually why they use the word and why they feel whites can’t use it. I’ve heard that it’s “just for us” and “white people aren’t black” (epic revolution there) and “they wouldn’t understand” (classic copout) and a bunch of other nonsense, but to me it boils down to one very simple thing…
This has become yet another tool to assist us in segregating ourselves.
You may wonder, why in the hell would we do this? Why would we take a word meant to degrade us and not only use it as a term of endearment, but then turn around and say that only certain people are allowed to use it? How come many of us aren’t okay with whites using it, but we don’t seem to raise too much hell when it’s other races who do the same?
To me, this word has become abusive for us. Yes, abusive. And just like in my example with the wife and husband, we’ve done it for so long that of course, we won’t see an issue with it, especially coming from others who we feel, fall in the same boat as us. Since we’ve gotten so used to it, mainly from those who have come before us, it’s become acceptable.
However, it’s never going to become acceptable to me.
The main reason is because of the fact that unless we’re okay with everyone saying it, we shouldn’t be okay with certain people saying it. The fact that everyone can’t say it should say a lot.
The bottom line is that some part of the word still makes us uncomfortable to an extent. It doesn’t matter if our best friends are saying it to us, if we’re hearing in it music, or if a black comedian is using the word. I have a feeling deep down that a part of our defenses go up whenever the word is said, no matter who it’s coming from.
We can pretend all we want, but a little something goes off in us when we hear it. That is the main reason I will never be okay with using the word.
I only wish that certain people were brave enough to admit this to themselves also. To do so, to me, would only be taking a step forward. Not taking several steps backward, which is what I honestly feel the use of the word is doing for us. Just my two cents.
Thanks for reading.