Sojourner's Place

n-word...they can't use it; can we or should we?  

Posted by SjP in ,

Last week, many of us participated in a day of action to keep Dog the Bounty Hunter off the air for using the n-word. My Dog post, received a comment from Missy who just "put it out there" regarding our continued use of the n-word. As indicated in my response, I continue to be conflicted about our use of the n-word in our everyday (unprofessional) life.

Tonight, I ran across this post by H. Lewis Smith entitled A Healthy Self-Esteem is Essential at Smith puts forth several compelling arguments for eliminating the n-word from not only our vocabulary but also from our psyche. He cites that:

Some black African-Americans...understand the significance attached to a healthy self-esteem, and refuse to be referred to as a n**ger. ...they realize the term is an antagonist..., and will not...refer to themselves as such.

He further purports that rappers have poor self-esteem and ofttimes perpetuate this to their fans.
The latest exhibition of a rapper's low self-esteem is Nas' soon-to-be released video entitled "Be a N**ger Too." ...Nas extends an join him in reinforcing dehumanization, subjugation, and keep this word alive. Unknowingly,... he is sabotaging the sacred memories of his black ancestry in this preposterous attempt at keeping the n-word alive.

Smith brings his point home by stating that:

Myriads of...African Americans have achieved ambitious goals without the need of referring to themselves--or audience members--as the n-word.

I remain conflicted. What about you? Your thoughts?
Speak the Truth!

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner's Place ain't got nothing more to say.

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This entry was posted at Tuesday, June 24, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

8 sojourners hollin' back

Personally, I don't use the word whether the "a" form or the "er" form. Though I have the leeway to use it based on my race but I choose not to say it; that way nobody would think it's his/her right to use it against me.

June 25, 2008 at 6:08 PM

Much obliged AAW...I'm just about there myself, too.

June 25, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Hi there SjP, {waves}

Thanks for writing about this. I don't like the N-word and frankly, it was never EVER used in my household when I was a child by EITHER Mom or Dad. Ever...

I got to college and black people were using it and thinking that was a hip thing and I started doing it too. In my 20s, I became uncomfortable with hearing it and even speaking it.

I do believe that black folks can come up with a term of endearment that does not have a historical association that is degrading and insulting to ALL those who came before us.

Thanks for letting me blow my trumpet!


June 25, 2008 at 9:04 PM


We really need to get this worked out of our mouths and as an identity marker.

The double standard that is often associated with the use of the N Word, is no longer a debate in my mind.

It is a racist term. No matter who uses it! And until we really put a national push on to forward that idea, it will continue to be like an Albatross hanging around out necks.

June 26, 2008 at 3:44 PM

After writing this post, reading your comments, and looking at my WW post - Richard Pryor's commentary on the use of the n-word keeps ringing in my mind. If you recall, he talked about a trip to Africa where he didn't see "no niggas". That was a profound revelation to him and as a result he vowed to stop using the n-word.

I believe that I have been operating on a double-standard here. I'm equating this to when I hear Black women refer to themselves as b*tch in a would-be endearing manner. When I hear this - it really makes me shudder. So, I ask myself - shouldn't I shudder when the n-word is used in this manner? What's the difference? None...

Much obliged...ya'll are really helping me with this one!


June 26, 2008 at 11:55 PM

I don't use it, anymore. My husband and I stopped 5 or 6 years ago, but I don't know that it shouldn't be used at all. I feel both sides of the argument and I just haven't made up my mind. I definitely think as an extension of art, it can be used, but art is relative, and then the argument becomes what constitutes art.

June 27, 2008 at 5:20 PM

I have been against it for years and continue my own cause to keep that word out of the mouths, books, and thoughts of all. It is degrading, in whatever context it is used. Some say it is a term of endearment when used between two Black souls. I say not. Peace.

July 2, 2008 at 7:05 AM

@ Mrs. G & BlackStar - my best half and I had a discussion about this last night. We have both pledged to stop using it. I got it now...took me a while...but I got it!

July 2, 2008 at 1:21 PM
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