The N-word is never, ever, ever, ever, ever OK

While watching college football at a sports bar, I ran into an old co-worker of mine.

He is a robust white guy who I always thought tried a little too hard to be “down.” In the act of introducing me to his friend, he referred to me as his n**ga.

I told him that I’m nobody’s n**ga, and he followed with, “You not my n**ga?!” I shook my head no and gave him a disapproving look. As though he could see my blood pressure rising like mercury on a hot day, he quickly apologized. We gave our goodbyes, and then he walked away.

Let’s get something straight people. Using the N-word is never OK. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Puerto Rican like Fat Joe or of Middle Eastern descent like DJ Khalid, the word should never be uttered.

The N-word is not a term of endearment, because whenever anger or hate rears its head, the N-word seems to come out of someone’s mouth.

I’m sorry. I can’t picture someone yelling, “You need to shut your mouth, honey bear!”

It also doesn’t matter if you say it with a ‘ger’ or ‘ga.’ It’s the same word. If I say trigger or trigga, it means the same thing. It also means I use bad English.

In modern times we say that the N-word means ignorant or stupid. Well, if you continue to use the N-word then you’re ignorant and stupid.

The N-word is a pejorative word rooted in hate. Much like ‘chink’ being derivative of “Chinese” or ‘jap’ being derivative of “Japanese,” the N-word comes from the Spanish word negro, which means black. Negro was used by Portuguese and Spanish to refer to the people of Africa’s skin tone.

It wasn’t until the resentment and hatred of black people during the times of slavery that the N-word was born. You can’t deny that it is one of the most offensive words in the English language.

Whether you are referring to your friend or sitting around talking badly about someone, it is a horrible word.

Comedian and actor Richard Pryor was infamous for using the N-word in his act. He even used it in titles for a couple of his comedy albums. Then, as a much older and wiser man, he traveled to Africa and proclaimed, “I don’t see any n**gas here.”

It was that day that he made the decision not to use the N-word any more. That’s big. Pryor making a choice to not use the N-word is like (insert politician or late-night talk show host) deciding not to have extramarital affairs.

The next time you think about using the N-word just think, “Would I ever call Martin Luther King Jr. a n**ga?”

Would you ever call the man who marched, went to jail and ultimately died so that no one would be referred to by that ugly word ever again the N-word? Didn’t think so.

As to my friend who thought I was his n**ga, if he had truly known me, he would have known that just by calling me his friend, he was already “down.”

Originally printed in The Voyager, a University of West Florida publication.


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