The N-Word Is My Right & Wrong
Justin Bieber made a racist joke using the “ger” version of the n-word when he was 15 and someone recorded it. It surfaced this past weekend and Justin has since apologized for the joke he made four years ago. I tweeted how fed up I am with Justin’s antics lately and how, even though it was 4 years ago and he was an immature 15 years old, I still didn’t like or excuse what he said. Yes, I’ve said some dumb things at 15 and at my current age, but neither are excusable. Therefore, what he did was not excusable. Is it forgivable? Yes. Excusable? No. I’m always in favor of forgiveness, as hard as it is sometimes.
Some of Justin Bieber’s die-hard fans, the Beliebers, also took to Twitter to defend their god, Justin. They said that Justin was justified in using the word because it shows up in hip hop music all the time, so white people are left with no choice but to utter it boldly. Also, if black people don’t like white people using the word, then it shouldn’t be in music and comedians shouldn’t use it in their act. It’s only being used because black people keep using it. Furthermore, it’s unfair that white people can’t use it but black people can. It’s a double standard and should be stopped! And so on.
I politely engaged most of the Beliebers until I got bored saying the same things over and over. One got rude with me and I got rude right back. Another was just fun to mess with. (Pro tip, stans: don’t try me. I enjoy antagonizing you over your unreasonable defenses of your musical idols who don’t pay your bills or care about your lives, and I will win every time. Also, Beliebers, take some tips on how to stan from the Beyhive. They keep me thinking and go on a while before they become illogical. Y’all start off lobbing cotton balls as assaults. I bring a verbal battle ax. Do better.)
Here’s the thing: I have a complicated relationship with the n-word. It was originally used to keep down an entire race of people – successfully! Black people started using it ironically with each other and took the power away from the word, but it still stings to hear a white person utter it, no matter the intent. Yes, it’s unfair to white people who want to use the word (knowing the history of the word, white people, why do some of y’all want to use it so badly?!), but slavery, Jim Crow, the rate of black incarceration compared to whites for the same crimes, and the original need for Affirmative Action, and other things were unfair to blacks, so can’t we just have this one thing? Granted, I don’t hear Jews, Asians, or Latinos, and Arabs calling each other slurs that white people use for them, but they don’t have the same rough history that blacks and whites have in this country, so I can’t say it stings as badly.
I just don’t understand how your race can be the oppressor for so long and get mad that you’re not included on the in-joke about you when you’ve mocked my race since we were forced to come to this country. I mean, they’ve told my people how to act, dress, speak, wear our hair, and name our children for centuries. Now we’re expected to follow yet another instruction? As if! I use the word affectionately and less-than-affectionately, but mostly affectionately. I don’t like the worst usage that I use, but I like using it affectionately. That’s where my complication lies. Similar to the f-word, it just provides me a release that does so many things in the course of uttering two syllables. Sure, I probably should stop using it if I get offended when white people use it…but…I’m not. And I want white people, no matter the meaning behind it, to stop using it. Maybe start by watching the South Park episode, “With Apologies to Jesse Jackson” and Stan’s last dialogue with Token. When you get that you don’t get how it feels (on either side of its usage) and need to be okay with that and leave it alone, you’ll get it. Yes, it’s unfair that just because you’re white means you can’t take part in something…but…that’s just life. Blame your ancestors for this backlash, I guess.
It’s hard enough to work out my complicated relationship with the word without extra noise distracting me. So, please stop saying the word and shut up about my using it. (And please, no black people chiming in telling me what I should do, either. Like…shut up double time.)