A Project for Better Journalism chapter

The ‘n-word’ is a big no-no

The N-word. It has become a term that kids of this generation use on a day-to-day basis. People say it at home, at school, sometimes even at work.

When most–and I use that term lightly–people say the n-word, they’re meaning it with the “a” ending, not the hard “er”. While it is a word that is derogatory, it is especially problematic when a non-black says it.

Some people, even those who identify as black, think that it could just be a word used amongst friends.

Senior Timmy Akinteheim believes that saying “my n**ga” is like saying “my friend.” He admits that he even has close friends who are not black who say the word, and he doesn’t mind.  Not everyone is like Timmy.

Black people have a sense of entitlement to the n-word. It isn’t an ignorant type of stance, but it’s obvious that if you are not Black, don’t say it. Just think about where it stems from. The word “nigger” is what White Americans used to oppress Black people for centuries during the era of enslavement and the subsequent legal racial discrimination, oppression and murder of the black community, so why modernize it for the world today?

The word “Nigger” has often been used as an insult against people of African descent. The word is extremely offensive and often not mentioned, especially be a non-Black person, unless insult is the intent. But, #Let’sTalkAboutIt. There are definitely cases when some people, even black people, think it’s okay for a non-black person to say it.

For some reason, Black people give passes to Latinos People seem to have more of a passion to go against white people saying the n-word than Latinos. Historically, however, this could make sense.

Throughout Black History Month, twelfth grade English teacher Mr. Adams held many conversations in his classes regarding the “N-Word.” He challenged his students to think about segregation time.

White people used to segregate Black people with the “No blacks allowed” sign. When the sign said no Blacks allowed, it did not mean only people with African descent weren’t allowed, but also any minority who was not white. Hispanics fall within this category. So, it was as if we were both in the same oppression, we can use the terms that were used against us as a positive word that brings us together.

Maybe, some white people don’t know better not to say it, but how do we as students address the situation?

In some cases, the people who consistently have a problem with those who say the N-word are the same people who wouldn’t step up to doing something about it. So what do we do then? Let your friends know. Period.  Let them know when and why it is not okay to say the N-word, regardless of whether it’s with the “-a” or “-er” ending.

There’s a time and place for everything, my dad always says. The N-word doesn’t always work in your favor, so be the bigger person and let that friend know that they shouldn’t say it at all or be the bigger person and STOP saying the N-word.