The forbidden “N word”

Devonte Burrell


Everybody from elders to newborns is saying it. Almost every rapper hollers the word to the heavens. This word “should” be said by few and only heard by many. If you don’t know what the word is by now you might’ve been living under a rock for your whole life. It’s the hottest word around the world. In only 5 letters this word is filled with so much hatred, emotion, history, freedom and joy. But at the end of the day it’s a word. And nobody should be governing what other  human beings say. Are you still wondering what the word is? Do you really not get what the word is yet? The N word. Do you still not get it? The word is nigga/Nigger.

The original form of the N word was used in a derogatory form of disapproval in the early 1800’s. It was used to describe people of color, specifically Black or African American people. It was used so frequently and openly to where it was just a normal part of english grammar in America. In the prolonged and sickening era of enslavement of black people in America, the word nigger was used to describe a slave. But after the once severely oppressed, silenced and enslaved people were no longer slaves, the word was still used to degrade blacks across the world. Overtime however, blacks in America appropriated the word and made it “our word”. A word of endearment and acknowledgment, that should and could only be used among other blacks. 

Now the word has many forms. It could be derogatory, a term of endearment, and a word to catch the attention of people. But there are very loosely followed unwritten rules and regulations for who can use the word and whether or not the word is appropriate at all. Even though many may not agree with me, I believe that anybody could say the forbidden word. Before I get into my reasoning I would like to make a statement. I don’t think twice when the word comes from someone who is or identifies with black or African American decent, I tolerate it when it comes from someone who isn’t black but still a person of color, and I passionately hate hearing the N word roll off of the tongue of anybody who who isn’t a person of color or black. Hate is a strong word to use but I really do hate it. But for me to say that someone can’t use a word would be unfair. It isn’t right that they use the word anyway, but it also isn’t right for me to control what words people can say. If they aren’t using intent to hurt, degrade, or offend somebody, then why stop them? If it’s in a book or in a song, the artist is putting it out there for the world to listen to and sing along to. 

Do double back on my song statement however, you should take whatever you hear in music with a grain of salt. Just because an artist says something or says that they do something, doesn’t mean that you should repeat what was said or do what they did. But at the end of the day it’s just a word, and we are all able to use words because they are words. I disagree with the word coming from someone who is white, but we shouldn’t be policing and monitoring what people say. We have the right to say what we want, and express ourselves with the words we use.