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The N-word: An African’s Perspective

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The N-word: An African’s Perspective

The N-word is the most controversial word in America. African-Americans use it when referring to each other but they become angry when white people use it.

White people have been fired from their jobs, suspended from schools, and even knocked out for using the N-word, even though it’s just a word.

African-Americans think they can freely use the N-word because they use it in positive ways such as expressing love. African-Americans claim that they don’t feel the love when a White-American uses it because white people have always used the word in a negative way.

For more than two centuries, whites have used the N-word to remind African-Americans of their low social status and justify violence against them. Generally, they have used the word to demonize and dehumanize African-Americans. For these reasons, African-Americans perceive it as an offensive word that reminds them of how White-Americans treated them in the past. They believe it strengthens the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless nobody. Nevertheless, African-Americans use it frequently despite claiming that it is an offensive word.

While trying to understand why African-Americans love using the N-word but become immediately angry when white people use it, I became less judgmental towards them when I realized that we (Africans) also become angry when white people use the word monkey when addressing us but we don’t care when other Africans use the word.

We become angry when white people call us monkeys because they referred to us as monkeys during the colonial period. They called us monkeys because they believed we were dumb and closer to apes. Thus, when white people use this name when addressing us, they remind us of colonization and their negative attitude towards black people, leading to anger and resentment.

Like the word monkey, the N-word is also a sensitive word that leads to resentment due to the history attached to it. Therefore, white people should not use it unless they get a pass. Using the word reminds African-Americans of white supremacy, slavery, colonization, and the global negative perception of the black man.

By the way, we – Africans – don’t care when white people call us niggers because we think it’s a cool word. In fact, many Africans are not aware of the historical trauma attached to the N-word. We’ve heard it in songs and gangster movies like Power and most of us don’t care if whites use it. We even wonder why African-Americans get mad at whites for using the N-word, forgetting that we get angry when they call us monkeys.

The main difference between Africans and African-Americans with regard to the mentioned sensitive words, is African-Americans use the N-word all the time while Africans rarely refer to each other as monkeys. African-Americans use the word in movies, songs, and speeches: the constant use of the N-word among African-Americans tempts white people to use it and makes people wonder why they use the word all the time despite considering it a derogative term. 

Regardless of African-Americans’ use of the N-word, I think white people should avoid using it to show respect. They must realize that the black man has been oppressed for a long period, and he doesn’t want the white man to remind him of the oppression by using the N-word. Surprisingly, he is okay when other black men remind him of the opression by using the N-word. I don’t know why. But I think he just deserves respect. For once.

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