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Old 10-03-2010, 08:45 PM
9 posts, read 37,043 times
Reputation: 12


Not that long ago, the "n-word" was used as a racial slur towards black people. Today however, African Americans often refer to themselves using the "n-word." Is this appropriate? Is this perpetuating racism? Has the meaning of the word really changed? If so, then why is it unacceptable for a Caucasian to even utter the word?

Old 10-03-2010, 11:24 PM
Location: East Bay Area
1,986 posts, read 3,598,964 times
Reputation: 911
- Etymology, the study of the origins of words
- Linguistics, the study of languages.

As language develops, word meanings change over time.
Just as humans adapt during evolutions, words adapt also.

There is a difference between N-word (er) and N-Word (a).

N-Word (a) is a term of endearment. It is used in a different context.

For example:

You Stupid vs. You Stupid
You Lack Intelligence vs. You Funny/Crazy

N-Word (er) vs. N-Word (a)
Offensive Slur vs. My Brother That Share My Black Roots. Basically

Also, any race could be called a N-Word (a). Depends on the environment.

Last edited by Stephen1110; 10-04-2010 at 12:00 AM.. Reason: Specifics
Old 10-03-2010, 11:56 PM
1,791 posts, read 1,792,249 times
Reputation: 2210
This kind of strikes me as 'funny'. I've often thought (and I've had many different, ethnic friends) it was either a 'term of endearment', or a way to show the prejudice just how meaningless it really is. It's just as easy to have understanding as it is to throw out childish behavior through the use of name calling. Grow up and open your mind to the fact that everyone 'here' is human and have all the same needs as the next person. Things would become so much simpler.

To answer the 'Do they perpetuate racism' question... NO.

I had a serious argument with a black man last summer that called me (white Irish guy) the N word as he was walking away. All I could do was laugh. He was looking for a fight and did not succeed. Two weeks later this angry young man found what he was looking for (not from me) and ended up in jail. I believe he is possibly doing prison time, if I'm not mistaken.

The human race, sure are a 'stupid' bunch.
Old 10-04-2010, 12:07 AM
Location: 20 years from now
6,454 posts, read 7,007,212 times
Reputation: 4663
Originally Posted by carolina1987 View Post
Not that long ago, the "n-word" was used as a racial slur towards black people. Today however, African Americans often refer to themselves using the "n-word." Is this appropriate? Is this perpetuating racism? Has the meaning of the word really changed? If so, then why is it unacceptable for a Caucasian to even utter the word?

Well let's keep in mind that some AA's do not use the word nor do they condone it being used in any connotation. Unfortunately some whites and people of other races feel that because some blacks use it, then it's ok to use it around all blacks.

Does it perpetuate racism? Well yes...and no. The stigma behind using it never really stopped a true blood racist from using it. However I do believe that it's common usage amongst some blacks gives other races poetic license to use it in the same fashion. And to be quite honest I honestly find MORE whites who abhor its usage than I do blacks which is pretty sad.
Old 10-04-2010, 12:12 AM
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,002 posts, read 12,354,936 times
Reputation: 4125
I think it simply perpetuates a double-standard (OK for black people to use it, not OK for white people or any other people to use it), and possibly opens up the door to people using it who otherwise wouldn't have.

Of course, though, we have to get inside the black community to know why this is being used now. N-word (ending with A) is one used for a good friend, and it started being used as a way to say "********* racism, we're gonna hijack your vile word for our use." It's a middle finger to racism which a lot of blacks have to suffer through even today.
Old 10-04-2010, 01:19 AM
Location: Near Manito
20,169 posts, read 24,320,493 times
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OK for blacks, not OK for whites -- kind of like everything else in our culture. A juxtaposition of the way things used to be. Poetic justice, or two wrongs make a right?

I'm not judging; just stating facts. Might end up okay. Might put the finishing touches on our demise as a civil society. I won't be around to see the endgame, anyway.

My strategy has always been John Roberts': if we want people to be equal, we need to treat them as equal. Concentrate on actions and be skeptical of words. Period.
Old 10-04-2010, 08:27 AM
68 posts, read 200,241 times
Reputation: 114
The n-word is still used a racial slur, so no, the meaning of the word hasn’t really changed - and I’d say that black people’s attempt to reclaim it for their own purposes (in any form) has no bearing whatsoever on the continued use of the word by racists. I’ve always thought it’s a little silly when minority groups “take back” degrading terms as a show of defiance against hate and oppression, because people who use words to harm know that the real power of language lies in the intent behind its use, not in the words themselves. That’s why white people can’t use the n-word, and I’m okay with that. Our group gave the word its terrible power so when we say it, the intent is assumed because black people continue to be oppressed in this country.

Is it appropriate for black people to call each other any variation of the n-word? I’m not black, so I don’t think it’s really my business to say. I think it’s an issue for the African American community to contend with. I know my white ten year old nephew is confused by it, since his parents raised him to respect diversity and believe the n-word is a terrible and hurtful thing - but for those very reasons he's not going to use the word anyway.

Finally, I don’t think use of the n-word by black people perpetuates racism. I agree with eskercurve that it “possibly opens up the door to people using it who otherwise wouldn't have,” but I’m mostly thinking of kids (of any race) adopting it as part of identification with black/hip-hop culture. There are plenty of ways in which oppressed populations collude in their own oppression, but I just don’t think this is one of them. People who are racist don’t care one iota what their targets actually say or think. Racists may say “Hey, black people use the word themselves” but that’s only one of a million equally poor and convenient excuses.
Old 10-04-2010, 08:51 AM
175 posts, read 750,175 times
Reputation: 330
Kids, friends, comedians, ect. use the N(a) word all the time in a positive/joking manner. The only time I have ever heard the N(er) word used in a confrontational manner was from parents to their children. That was a very uncomfortable situation for me (being white)

Of course I have heard people use the N(er) word in other instances but this is the only time I have ever seen a person called that to their face.
Old 10-04-2010, 09:33 AM
355 posts, read 911,393 times
Reputation: 162
I'm gonna give an honest as possible reply to this post from the perspective of a semi young 24 y/o white male.

I've heard the term used hundreds of times in a derogatory way from whites towards blacks, always not to their face, or honestly to their face when involved in a fight, i.e black calling white person (white boy) and white coming right back with the n-word.

Also heard plenty of times between black and black friendly calling each other it sometimes also not so friendly context.

Also heard it lots of times....in all types of context, white--white, black white, white =black , mexican-mexican. mexican -black, you get the point.

As a white person I've never quite gotten used to being called it, but its always out of love. As in man that n----a crazy and on with the story, no one bats an eye really. Not even blacks when being addressed by whites, but its always people who have known each other their whole lives and not just whites going up to strangers and addrssing them as such. But I have had blacks I've known for 20 minutes saying it to me.

This is all in a fairly diverse lower-to middle income area if that makes a difference. But not the absolute projects where people are more sensative to white folks saying it.

Also both meanings are still very strong and almost equally important. Its all context, I still dont really use it
Old 10-04-2010, 09:51 AM
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,854 posts, read 51,154,207 times
Reputation: 58749
I think it perpetuates talking like you came from a ghetto.
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