Why Do You Want To Use The N-Word So Badly?

Recently, I’ve begun seeing a few arguments over the N-word, and some white people complaining about their inability to use it. I know that, immediately, those who both understand logic, and have read the last sentence, would say “Why?”, but this article is not for those people. This article is for everyone who can’t possibly comprehend why being able to say the N-word would not be the racial cure-all that they imagine it being. I don’t need to explain why white people using the N-word is bad in the first place, because everyone who reads this has probably taken middle school history. And if you haven’t, which I assume is the only reason why one would think that using the N-word is perfectly fine, I suggest you set yourself in remedial everything, and completely start your learning process over, because your education was lost in translation.

To those white people who think that using the N-word would help make things more “equal,” I have one question for you.

Why?

How exactly does being able to use the N-word benefit race relations? I, personally, have never been in a situation where I thought to myself Man, you know what would solve this problem? Being able to use the N-word. That’s because there is no situation like that. One doesn’t exist, nor would it ever exist. White people being able to use the N-word would just change the aesthetics of their potential vocabulary, and let me tell you, those are some ugly aesthetics that would be coming out of white peoples’ mouths. Nothing good can be gained from using it.

Do you come close to letting it slip out in your conversations constantly, and that’s why you want to be able to sling it freely, without the worry that hate is just going to dribble down your chin when you least expect it? If that’s the case, you’re a bad person, who should seriously reconsider their viewpoints on a lot of things, their own racism included. Do you think it’s a cool word, and that’s why you feel it’s necessary to incorporate? Would you be able to talk, unimpeded, among your black friends, if you were assuredly able to call them the N-word? If you answered “Yes” to that last question, I severely doubt that you have any black friends, nor have you ever probably talked to a black person in your entire life.

I hate to use myself as the representative of a race, so I may not be speaking for every white person in the world, but I’ve never had a dialogue with a black person and wanted to use the N-word during it. That kind of thing just doesn’t bubble under the surface of my tongue, frustrating me to the point of me needing it’s inclusion in my daily activities. It’s just never come up, mainly because not a lot of good can come out of it, even the imaginary “good” that would blossom when black and white person alike were finally allowed to use the N-word, and create peace between the two races.

Before you state that black people can call you a “cracker” and get away with it, I want you to honestly assess the damage that the word “cracker” has done to your psyche. Take a quick look at your mental well-being. While you do have a point, because, for hundreds of years, whites were kidnapped from their homes, taken to a strange country, and were horribly abused for the sake of keeping a hierarchy and economy in order, all the while being called “cracker” by their cruel, black slave owners, it’s still not a valid one.

“Rappers use it! And it’s treated like such an un-important word by most that using it wouldn’t cause any harm!” I’ve seen people use this line of thinking, and just because it might not cause people harm, doesn’t take away from the fact that it doesn’t do them any good either. White people wanting to use the N-word is a meaningless cause, because even if we lived in a world where it wasn’t a mean thing to call someone, it still wouldn’t be an asset.

Since I consider myself a comedy writer, one might say that I shouldn’t take it seriously, and that people should learn to just take a joke, as if saying the N-word was the key to white stand up comics unlocking the treasure chest of a black audience. I want you to think of any joke that you’ve ever heard a white person tell. Now, I want you to sort through those, and think of one where a white person said the words “black person.” Now, and I know that this is a convoluted, impenetrable process for you, white people who want to use the N-word, but replace “black person” with the N-word.

Get back to me in a second after I assume you’re done laughing your ass off.

You got back to me pretty quickly, so I guess that nothing was gained after all. Saying the N-word hasn’t made anything a white person has said funnier in a long, long forever. White people need to get it through their heads that they won’t all be as subversive as Louis CK when they tell jokes about risky subjects. Sometimes, they’re just lame, unfunny dudes, trying to shock an open mic crowd into listening to them.

I sort of relate this to the whole argument that many had as seventh-graders, which has somehow carried over into some peoples’ adulthoods, where stupid guys think that they should be able to hit women, because women can hit men all they want. Except, they can’t. Because that’s assault.

I would ask those people similar questions, most notably “How would it help you?” I, myself, don’t live in a universe that constantly forces me to attack women, nor do I live in one where I’m forever unable to defend my body from their constant threat. If a woman attacked me with a knife, I’d fight back, because that would mean saving my life. Defending yourself is the sane thing to do.

I don’t feel the need to request the right to go around punching women, with the consequences being okay, because it’s never occurred to me that that would help. On the flip side, I don’t know any women who think it would be an aid to them if they were allowed to openly kick dudes in the face. This argument, along with the argument over white people using the N-word, only make sense in irrational, cartoon worlds, where problems between genders and races are solved when both sides are able to hurt each other in equal proportions.

In conclusion, to put it simply, don’t use the N-word, no matter how disillusioned you are by its “appeal.” Progress isn’t progress when it’s not positive.

-Daniel

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5 responses to “Why Do You Want To Use The N-Word So Badly?

  1. I love this! I hadn’t ever taken this approach before but I totally agree. For me, I hate when people say ‘well it’s just a word’ – okay so if it’s just a word then replace it with another equally viable word. It shouldn’t make a difference right? Wrong. That word is used because people KNOW that it’s meaning will piss people off; they KNOW what its history is and they want to exploit that – plain and simple. As for its usage among black people – in my mind it’s just as ridiculous. There’s an argument that it’s about just trying to own it – that’s a crock. No matter what you do, the imagery, the history, etc., are tied to that word permanently. Using it like that simply perpetuates that image. People always underestimate the power/value of words and it frustrates me to no end. Thanks for writing this! 🙂

  2. Daniel, I would never call someone the N-word, but recently shocked one black woman by referencing Yoko and John’s phrase “woman is the nigger of the world”–and, as an angry feminist, had also paraphrased it long ago in a poem I wrote. I won’t be using it again.

    A great post, with the most perfectly-perfect title ever.

  3. I’d also like to get a campaign started to get all the Romans to stop calling all white slaves Slavs. I come from Gaulae and Celtae, thank you very much (there’s some point in here about historical precedence, power of words, lumping people together, white people actually being abducted and sold into slavery, a point which is perhaps not relevant as my psyche is not still scarred by generations of subjugation followed by generations of Jim Crow terrorism… meh. Sort it out yourself.)

  4. In all honesty, I don’t think the word should be used at all. Whether it’s a black person saying it to another black person, or a white person saying it. Regardless, the history behind the word is so degrading that it shouldn’t be used. It’s almost sickening to think that the same race of people who were enslaved and demeaned by this word have taken it back and began to use it on each other. Like, that makes it any better? Or, when I over hear black guys calling their white guy friends the N-word. “What’s up my N***a?” I’m sorry, what? I feel as if at some point I missed the memo where the N-word became appropriate to be used by / used on all races.

    This was actually a really good read, and I’m happy to finally have met someone who understands this logic! I have had some very questionable debates on this topic that has left me… how should I put this… less than impressed with my generation of people on this planet.

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