Okay, this one is probably going to be a bit more controversial, and if anyone cares, might upset some people. But this is meant to just be an honest question of the way things are, and I’m willing to discuss and change my opinion if I’m wrong. So anyways, here goes:
It seems that while the “N-word” is 100% an offensive word, and was used as a term of hate towards people of African descent, and most of the world recognizes this as a word that should not be said, it’s still used quite often by the people it’s supposed to be offending. In rap music, certain movies, and in online social media, the word is used frequently and no one seems to care or be bothered by it. Which is why I’m writing about this, it’s a bit confusing and frustrating.
Now, let’s be clear, I hate the word and I do not use it or condone it’s use, and do NOT want to hear it used. Which is why I bring this up. Some of black culture, whether by black people themselves or other races, use this word as if it was just another regular term. You’ll say, well it’s spelled with an “-a” or “-ah” at the end of it, which makes it a different word. If that was the case, would you then argue that it’s okay for anyone to say the word, in any circumstance, as long as they pronounce/spell it that way? I think not, I think it’s semantics to say there’s a difference, to me it’s the same word. The next argument might be that it’s all about context, saying that in certain terms it can mean “brother” or “friend” or some other way to talk about someone and not meant to be insulting or offensive. But if the root word is so offensive, then how can the word ever be used in a neutral or positive manner? There is no such thing as “taking a word back”, unless it completely loses all offensiveness and can be used by anyone without it being a word of hatred. Which will not likely happen in any of our lifetimes.
So here’s the question, if there’s really no solid justification for using the word, in any form or context, and the word still is extremely offensive to most people, then why continue using it at all? I believe the continued use of this word lies in the fact that people continue to use the word at all. This goes along with other demeaning terms like the “F-word” used to reference homosexual men. These words tend to be used often by the people it’s insulting, which keeps the word in the public consciousness. How many offensive, racist words are rarely or no longer used, because they fell out of the popular use? While I won’t list any, the fact that really the only two words still used most often are the ones I’ve mentioned earlier.
What am I getting at here is that I think that people need to not tolerate the use of the words in any form, to make them go away by having the only people that use them the people who are actually racist, and those people then can be shunned by everyone else, reinforcing the negative use of the word. Or universally decide that the word isn’t offensive, which means it holds no more power and anyone can use it without offending anyone. Either way, it won’t solve racism, but man, it’d just be really nice to not have to hear that word ever again.