To be honest, at some point in our lives we’ve heard or said it! Right? By “It”, I mean the N-word.
Whether it’s been heard in the derogatory/racial sense or said in a form of slang, we should all know its loaded history. “N—–” is a divisive word in society. Derived from the pre-Jim Crow period, white people branded Africans with the term and used it to abuse and belittle them for decades. The word represents generations of maltreatment of and disrespect toward African-Americans.
Over time, the word has re-emerged and is used with a different connotation by the descendants of the very people who had to endure the cruel term decades before. Depending on context, the N-word can be interpreted as either friendly or derogatory — friendly when used by the black community and derogatory when used by non-black people.
That double standard is an unfortunate example of hypocrisy in society. If a white person uses the N-word, they are immediately scorned for their behavior. It is deemed inappropriate and they are quickly labeled as racist. While I agree that the word can be offensive and inappropriate to use, I find it important to consider the context in which the word is used.
The term is used in today’s slang, predominantly by the Black community and African-American rappers. Initially, this was in an attempt to desensitize the derogatory interpretation behind the word. In doing so, the N-word has now become acceptable in culture to some in the African-American community. The normalization of the word in pop culture has led to some white people also saying the word, which has resulted in backlash from the African-American community with the view that white people should not say the word.
To be honest , the N-Word shouldn’t be used at all, especially at a HBCU because we as an institution are too intelligent to use a word that has been at the epicenter of negativity and oppression. I mean, think about it. Because of one word, a wedge is being driven between groups of people due to the ambiguity of semantics. Like I said before, we’ve all said the word and in the same regard we’ve said that we want change.
Just being frank, you can’t change the world unless we change ourselves. This one word only has power because we continue to give it power so how about we switch it up and just say no to the N-Word, but not just for Black History Month, All Year Round.
Peace and Love My Brothers and Sisters.