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My aunt who is at least twenty years my senior recently asked me a question that took me by surprise. It was a question that immediately touched and ignited my spirit. Her question to me was what is the difference between a white person using the N word and black person using the N word ? My answer to them was that there is a very big difference and I took the time out to explain to them that difference. The N word when used by the some one of color most commonly is used to show some sort of affection. The N word is used as a term of endearment. The N word is used to show recognition and loyalty. The N word is used to show that there is an established relationship between the person of color saying it and the person who it is being addressed.
The N word when used by a white person and it does not matter if the person is white or not carries a much different meaning. When a white person uses the N word it has attached to it a very hurtful and shameful history. The N word when used by a white person carries images of Africans being captured by slave traders. The N word when used by a white person has images of shackled Africans who where tightly packed in to ships to travel thousands of miles in unimaginable conditions. The N word when used by a white person carries with it images of slaves at actions being bought and sold like live stock. The N word when used by a white person carries images of slaves being whipped and tortured. When a white person uses the N word it has images of slaves working from sun up to sun down under conditions that none of use white or black can imagine. The N word when used by a white person carries images of lynching, brutal beatings, and attacks. When a white person uses the N word it carries images of segregation, discrimination, and Jim Crow laws. It carries with it images of harassment and intimidation. The N world nigger when used by a white person carries with it a pain, shame, and embarrassment that will never be erased out of the minds of all Americans as long as the history of the United States is truthfully told.
I also told her that I don’t think that the N word should be used in private or in a public by any one black or white. The N word carries with it is very complicated and confusing. It is very easy to use the N word in an inappropriate way and should not be used at all. There are so many other words that can be used to instead whose meanings can not be misinterpreted or misconstrued. It will save use all unnecessary conflict.
Peace and Soul