You can say whatever you like in mixed company, even if it’s the n-word. I just don’t recommend it if you’re not black. Double-standard? YEAH. Yeah, it is. Come at me, bro.

There IS a double-standard. White people can’t say the n-word with impunity or without being (correctly) judged. End of story. But I can say it all day long (though I don’t and won’t). And I can ALSO be shot for my skin color by a twitchy cop, when I’m holding nothing more dangerous than iced tea and a bag of Skittles, so. . . .

Once again, and louder for y’all butt-hurt — and bafflingly dense — white folks in the back, still sobbing about the ONE double-standard that doesn’t let you out on “top”: YOU DON’T GET TO SAY A RACIST SLUR WITHOUT BLOW-BACK OR JUDGMENT. THAT’S ALL. You get EVERYTHING ELSE because of your skin color, EVERYTHING, but you DON’T get the n-word (and considering what people who look like you have done with it — including inventing it — to keep a portion of the human race down, why would you WANT IT?). And you don’t get to be a part of taking it back. The world can be unfair, I know. Get the fuck over it. See your nearest black friend (assuming you have any) for suggestions on how.

Two responses to two comments left on this video

First reply to a comment:

Simply put, [commenter]: It’s not your word. End of story. It is not the word of you, or people who look like you, anymore. You have no right to use it and haven’t suffered from people using it against you. You can’t say it with impunity. You can say it if you CHOOSE TO, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so around anyone but your white friends. Black people CAN say this word and do. We’re taking it back. That is OUR CHOICE as individuals. YOU and people of your complexion haven’t EARNED THE RIGHT to say it, earned the right to transform it after centuries of continuing suffering, disenfranchisement, and death at the hands of the people who invented that word to keep an ENTIRE SEGMENT OF HUMANITY down.

Maybe hearing the word at all is an unpleasant reminder that people who look like you created the word and are still using it to step on people. (And I actually don’t care for the word, myself, but I won’t tell another black person they can’t use it.) Maybe you don’t want to be reminded. That’s understandable, but it’s also too damn bad. If I have to get called the n-word by someone who looks like you, then you have to accept that people who look like you still use the n-word and, in fact, invented it. And black people know this, too, and remember it and won’t LET YOU forget it. Consider the n-word our Confederate Statue. It’s terrible and insulting and makes a lot of people uncomfortable . . . and its a part of our history. And heaven-forbid we should forget our history. Or allow anyone else to.

(Perhaps, when all the Confederate monuments are in the Smithsonian, the n-word can join them there. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that.)

So, yeah. You don’t get to use the n-word OR police who uses it. You don’t get to decide that black people can’t use the word. The only thing you get to do is the right thing. Which is to shut up and accept that this isn’t about you and that your butt-hurt opinion on whether black people should use a word that doesn’t effect you weighs less than sunlight. LESS THAN SUNLIGHT. Not getting to say the n-word in mixed company is one of maybe three privileges your skin color doesn’t automatically afford you in America. You don’t have to worry about cops harassing, assaulting, and even murdering people who look like you for no reason at all. Or about your eight year old being lynched by teenagers. Or about how it feels just to simply wear the hate and excoriation of a country because of the darkness of your skin. So, suck it up. Your butt-hurt isn’t just annoying and self-centered — tone-deaf and selfishly disconnected. It’s racist. You are attempting to police what black people say/use to describe themselves after we’ve not had a choice about those things for centuries. Because that’s what people with privilege do. They turn their opinions, or try to, into mandates that everyone has to agree with. But those days are ending. You haven’t the skill, the right, or the moral/ethical high-ground to mandate anything black people do within the bounds of the law.

So, you’re free to your opinions and free to spew them all over the internet. But don’t be surprised when people who live things you will NEVER understand or suffer, land on you like a pro-wrestler. You may not like the word, but we all have our crosses to bear. And sometimes, it’s better to bear them in silence, rather than talk out of your ass. When an entire segment of humanity, of your country, is hurting over legitimate, recorded crimes against the innocent . . . maybe dragging in the Strawman of tone-policing and respectability politics isn’t the right, the kind, the empathetic, or even the least hypocritical response. A nickel’s worth of free food for thought, but you do you. Peace.

Second reply to a comment:

[Commenter]: Yeah, being on the non-winning end of a double-standard, sucks, doesn’t it? Not all things are right for all people to say. Get over it. If I can step out my door and get shot for being black, then YOU can’t use the n-word. I know, I know, your life is so unfair and full of injustice. But you’re strong. You can bear up under it. That’s just how it is, after all.

But if you prefer, you can rage and be butt-hurt about not getting to say a word with impunity, that dark people do get to say as much as they want. Never mind that pale people invented that word to decimate dark people for centuries and thus SHOULD NEVER use it, and that dark people are entirely within their rights to take back the word that was used to paint them as less, if that’s their choice. White people get angry that with all their privileges, black people get to say a word that has been used to rally the world against us and KILL US, while they supposedly can’t (but in reality do. A lot. And they don’t get the censure for it that they should from so-called “white allies,” either).

How about this: All black people will stop saying the n-word when we stop getting murdered by cops, our children stop getting lynched, and all the other horrible things YOU will never experience in America. Things that we DO EXPERIENCE — and as a freebie that goes with that, we get to use the n-word as much as we want! How wonderful! You SHOULD be jealous, because the pain with which we bought that word, the suffering and hatred, are all SO TOTALLY WORTH IT! Using the n-word is fun and has cured my asthma! — and sadly always will. If you get all the white people to start caring and empathizing and truly GETTING that if all lives matter, then black ones do, too, and deserve the care and concern and weight of every other life . . . then I will get all the black people to join me in banning that word from our lexicon forever and ever. And we’ll put the n-word, the Confederate statues, and tone-policing/respectability politics in the Smithsonian with all the other relics.


TL;DR? Be bold if you’re gonna, non-black people — use the n-word all damn day. Till every black person’s ears are burning and their fists are clenching, even. Show every inch of your ass, if you think you can get away with it. But don’t be surprised when that ass gets beat, and no one evinces surprise or sympathy.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store