The ‘N’ Word


Thora Pearson

The ‘N’ word

Anthony Speech, assistant public relations editor

*Disclaimer: TKC understands the potentially offensive nature of the word choice in this article. After staff discussions and legal advice from the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), we decided to support the writer’s decision. Please email us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

Since when was it OK to ever say the word “nigga.”? If you are not black, you cannot  say it. If you hear it in a song, do not say the word. Skip over it like you would skip over curse words. It doesn’t matter how many black friends or mixed friends you have, it doesn’t matter if your black friend gives you the “Nigga Pass,” you can never say that word. Ever.

This topic surfaced all with a Youtube video this fall. A friend of mine pointed it out, and when I saw this video I was shocked that people still use the ‘n’ word and still get away with it. It’s not only just Youtube, it’s also the community that uses it, and it sickens me that white people can say that word and think that it is OK.

White people might say it’s just a word, but it’s a word that was used by white people   to discriminate against black people during the Atlantic Slave Trade and used to separate blacks from whites during the age of Jim Crow Laws. It was a word Nigerians used to describe themselves as kings or queens during the 1800s. They were called “Negus” but coming into captivity in America, slave owners disrespected the word by saying “Nigger.”

The word means the same thing that it meant years ago and should never be said if you are not black. When a black person uses the word “nigga,” it is used as a greeting, not to be disrespectful. The word is used as a term of endearment. Although, most black people don’t say it either because of the word’s origin and how it was used. I’m not speaking for all black people because some black people let white people say the ‘N’ word, giving them a “Nigga Pass:” a thing that black people use to give white people the O.K. to use the word “nigga.” But white people still shouldn’t say it because they have never lived as a nigga.There shouldn’t be a “Nigga Pass.” It’s just another way that non-African Americans can say the word “nigga” without getting in trouble.

Sha’diya Tomlin, 2018 KHS graduate  and TKC opinions writer, wrote a piece on the word “nigga” titled “If you’re not black don’t say it.” Inside the piece she said “They don’t even know what it’s like to be called a ‘nigger’ because of the color of their skin, and how it actually hurt them. They don’t see the message behind most rappers using the ‘N’ word in their songs and don’t know the history behind the word.”  

Black rappers use the word “nigga” in their songs, but in their songs the ‘N’ word means something.Tupac said the term meant  “never ignorant, getting goals accomplished” in his song “Words of Wisdom.” Tupac used this word in his song as positivity, saying that the word has a greater meaning than using it as the racial slur. You don’t hear white rappers using it like Macklemore or Eminem. No. In The song “Niggas For Life” by N.W.A (Niggas With Attitude), they used the word “nigga” to express why they are called “nigga:” Why do I call myself a nigga you ask me , because police always wanna harass me, overtime I’m rollin, they swear up and down that the car was stolen 

According to Associated press, black people are 85 percent more likely to pulled over, arrested, questioned, and worse, shot.

Now all of a sudden a problem now that white people are questioning us of why they can’t say the N word.  There are certain boundaries that have to be respected.

White people don’t have to wake up with a shield over their body or protection when they walk out of their home.

If you’re not black, it’s not cool. It’s disrespectful. It’s not a double standard; it’s just how it is. Black people have fought so long to get to where we are today, yet we still have so much to do, and with non-black people saying the N word, it’s just getting in our way. Considering all of the things that we gave away in the past, why can’t black people have that word to ourselves? It may be just “a word” to others, but to me that word should never be used.  Now, I know I’m just another black kid trying to make a statement about the word “nigga,” and how white people abuse it, but nothing has changed.

Black people are still marching, walking out of class, speaking and fighting to be treated equally. But as long as black people are still called “nigga” and white people keep saying “nigga,” the problem grows. So let me say this one last time so that everyone understands:  

If you are not black, you cannot say nigga. Period.