Lets Talk About the N-Word

I was out the other night, in a mall parking lot, and I overheard a guy walking to his car, use the “n-word” as he spoke to his girlfriend. He appeared to be Middle Eastern, “That’s my n***a! That’s my n***a!” He used the word at least 5 times.

As he got in the car parked next to mine. I let him know, “Really? That’s disrespectful as f***. He rolled up his window and mumbled a few words–one being the n-word” and sped off.

The encounter left myself and my girlfriend pissed, and then we began to contemplate the “n-word.” Obviously, we didn’t want him using it despite the fact he was a person of color. It also hurt to even hear him use it so loosely. Of course, he tried to use it as a weapon after being called out. That’s just pure racism and ignorance.

He had no respect for the historical stance it just made him sound “cool” or so he thought.

We reached a place in society where black culture has become popular culture. The N-word carries hurt and trauma that only black people can empathize and understand. Black culture–especially in hip-hop uses the word as a term of empowerment and endearment. Some black people choose to use it–some prefer not to. I prefer not to use it, but if anyone has a choice on who uses it or who doesn’t, its black people. It’s not up for grabs. It’s not up for popular culture to decide.

Ironically, I don’t think black people will ever come to one agreement on the issue. Some choose not to use it, some do, some give other races “passes.” I do know that if artists continue to use it in their music, the N-word becomes more desensitized. Everyone listens to hip-hop, all races, nationalities, genders, etc. The more it is placed in music the more we are going to hear it from other races. Doesn’t make it right, but gives the impression that the word has lost impact.

Kendrick Lamar called out a white fan last year at Hang Out Fest when she repeatedly said the word during a concert. Saying she had to “to bleep one single word?” The fan responded “I’m sorry, I’m used to singing it the way you wrote it.”

My stance is that other races should not use it period, and should make it a point to not rap or sing lyrics with the “n-word” while in the presence of black people. It is offensive–still– to a great majority. And although a lot of rappers place the word in their lyrics it is not an invitation or right of passage to use it.

How I handled the guy in the parking lot, is how I chose to handle it. Others may not choose to handle it in that way. The reaction could’ve been more serious. So for the sake of respect and for your own safety– refrain from using “the n-word” indoors and especially out in public.

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