This word is probably one of the most controversial words in the history of the world. It’s racist when one culture uses it and it’s becomes cultural when another race speaks it. It’s acceptable in one family, but unacceptable in another. Some people are seen as being ignorant and rude when they use and others seem to think it’s actual noun or adjective.
I remember when I used to use that word. The n-word was part of my regular vocabulary. I never thought of it as anything offensive until one day a cool ass White boy said it to me. Of course, this made me angry. I was so pissed that I think I wanted to fight him over it. Honestly, I’m not sure if I did. However, I remember going home and telling my parents what happened. I expressed my feelings, but my mom just shrugged her shoulders and said, ‘Well, you say it all the time.”
It wasn’t until years later that I even understood what she meant. When African Americans use that word, non-Blacks think that is how we identify ourselves. They are repeating what we say. Perhaps if we say “man” all the time, then maybe they will call us “man” and begin to see us how we see ourselves, as men.
So why did this cool ass White boy call me the n-word? It wasn’t because he was racist–he was calling me something I identified myself as. In another conversation with my mom, she goes on to say, “if you didn’t say it to them or in front of them, they probably wouldn’t say it to you.”
As I get older, I see this becoming more and more true. If non-Blacks don’t hear me use the word, they would most likely be less inclined to say it. If and when they do say it, it’s pretty easy to tell them to stop with little issue. However, that leads me to explain to them why I don’t use the word.
What’s your take on this issue? If you’re non-Black, would you see Blacks as men, if we used ‘man’ instead of the n-word? If you’re Black, would you consider not using the n-word in front of non-Blacks? Do you think it would help?