HILTS: The use of the N- Word

Kaderra Hilts is a senior mass communication major from Arlington, Texas.   

In my opinion, if you are a black student, you should be able to use that word as much as you want in the proper context. Some black leaders in Grambling would argue that the n-word is not professional and should not be used, however, I never understood why they bring up professionalism. 

The assumption that young black people do not know the appropriate time and place to use profanity, especially a word with racial implications, is insulting. Black students are not walking into business settings thinking they can call their boss a n-word. 

The professional world is built against us in ways that has nothing to do with the use of the n-word. So why bring up professionalism? 

It is used as a tactic to police an exclusive cultural colloquialism. 

I believe black students should be able to say the n-word because that is our black privilege. It is a word rooted in our oppression, that we have made our own.There are not many things in this country that we can call our own as our culture is constantly being taken from us. . The n-word is the only racial slur that every non-black person wants access to.

The n-word is the epitome of what happens when black people come together. Our culture is so powerful and influential that we were able to transform a word created in hate into a word that the entire world wants to say. 

Black students do not lose value if they use the n-word. Who cares if others races are uncomfortable? Their uncomfortability is neither our problem, nor something we have to solve. 

Being black is being uncomfortable all the time. Being black is being concerned about your name is preventing you from getting a job interview. Being black is being told your traditional cultural hair styles are unprofessional. Being black is not knowing if you should have children because you do not want them to be unjustly killed in the streets by the people meant to protect us. Being black is feeling suffocated by all the ways non-black people try to police your culture, while non-black people get praised for the creativity that they stole from us. Why teach us to conform to a society that is working against us? 

I will fight for my right to be black and unbothered. I will fight for my right to wear my hair however I want. I will especially fight for my right to say the n-word. All of these things are so important. 

It is not about fighting for a word, it is about fighting for the right to have something that belongs to only us. It is about having something that cannot be stolen from us, repackaged, then sold back to us with the white man’s stamp of approval. 

We have to work ten times harder than those around us because of a skin color and a history that we did not choose. So, we should at least be able to enjoy the culture we have created. The n-word is deeply rooted in this culture and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. 

So I will exercise my right to use the n-word. That is my black privilege.