–Assistant Perspectives Editor
The N-word has been around for many generations and has been given multiple meanings. One might view this word as being negative or positive. The main thing to remember is, it is just a word and words should never define a person, a race or a culture for that matter.
As the years have gone by, the word has developed many variations.
From “negro” to “nigger” to the term that is most popular today, “nigga”. Many people use the word as a term of endearment.
In this generation many people have concluded that if the word is not being used negatively, it is okay to say.
One of the main driving forces behind the N-word is in the music we listen to, with rap being the number one genre to use the word.
“It’s just become part of the way we communicate,” Jay-Z told O Magazine. “My generation hasn’t had the same experience with that word that generations of people before us had. We weren’t so close to the pain. So in our way, we disarmed the word. We took the fire pin out of the grenade. “
“I believe that a speaker’s intention is what gives a word its power,” he continued.
“And if we eliminate the N word, other words would just take its place. You know, hip-hop has done so much for race relations, even with its ignorance—which, by the way, we do have to take some responsibility for.”
Our generation has given the word a whole new light; we have switched its meaning and embraced it. I am now able to hear my Caucasian friend say the word and not take offense to it if it is not being used in the wrong way.
A person has every right to be upset if the word is being used negatively.
There are many words that have double meanings and can be used to degrade or uplift a person depending on how they are used.
However, we should be happy we can use the word in a humorous way today and not feel anger every time we hear it. When we become angry over it, we are only hurting ourselves.
“[People] who care are the reason racism is still alive,” rapper Tyler The Creator said in a radio interview with Hot 97.
“I guess people my age, we’re not even thinking like that. When you think like that, you keep the racism alive when that’s not even on our palette.”
If African-Americans continue to debate whether or not to use the N-word not only are we separating our race from other races, we are separating our own race.
On one side are the people who use the word, on the other side are the people who don’t use the word.
What our ancestors went through will never be forgotten, but we have to stop letting this word haunt us. It is time to accept it as part of our history and move on.