OPINION: The “N” word

No clear line for who can use the N-word and who can't

No clear line for who can use the N-word and who can’t

The N-word is probably the most loaded word in the English language today. Generally, it is understood that the use of the N-word is reserved for people of African-American descent. But there are views on the exceptions, or lack thereof, of the word’s usage.

Can Latinx people use it? What about people who are mixed race? And if not, just how black do you need to be for the word to be deemed acceptable to say?

As someone who is mixed black & white, it is something that has always been on my mind. I personally don’t use the word, but not because I don’t believe I have the right to. I just didn’t grow up with it being used around me. To me, this is one of the biggest factors, other than race, for whether you should be using the word or not.

Larry Wilmore, former host of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” now has a podcast called “Black on the Air.”

“White people, just don’t say n—-, just don’t say it, just don’t say it and everything will be okay, trust me — you shouldn’t even want to say it,” Wilmore said.

I think most of us can agree on that. But when you’re mixed race, like myself, the rules can get blurry. I grew up in a relatively well-off community where the N-word was never used. It was never part of my surroundings growing up, and using it now feels forced and unnecessary.

Latinx people have had to endure racism in America just like African-Americans have, but they haven’t experienced the specific form of racism that is anti-blackness. This is where I start to take issue.

The N-word comes from the Latin word “niger”— which means “black.” And you probably won’t hear someone who is African-American using derogatory terms that are originally intended for a different race.

I do think that it is great that some black communities have flipped the meaning of the N-word from a negative to a positive, but if they didn’t use it at all, then there would be far less white kids, who love rap, running around and saying the N-word because they don’t know any better.

I also don’t think that other ethnic minorities should get a pass from saying it because they also experience racism. It’s a similar but different struggle.

When it comes down to it, the word is racist.

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  1. Alaylah Hagler Alaylah Hagler Saturday, December 21, 2019

    This still won’t help me can I say it as half black and half white most black tho cause my mom light skin

    • Racist ender Racist ender Sunday, May 21, 2023

      Nope unless you were born with curly hair and have a black voice and you are a higher percentage of black then you can’t say it

  2. austinandjake austinandjake Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    If your are not black, don’t say it unless you want your ass whooped.

    • eb eb Wednesday, June 16, 2021

      thank you for saying that.

  3. Peter Peter Saturday, February 22, 2020

    I’m mixed, but I’m like really pale. So I feel like if I say the n word in public, no one will believe that I’m also black, and will probably kill me….

    • Racist ender Racist ender Sunday, May 21, 2023

      If you are clearly white when you are mixed then you shouldn’t be saying the n word of you are that light and your voice sounds 100 white

  4. Daniel Daniel Saturday, March 28, 2020

    I am mixed and I don’t use it I don’t feel it fits me and how I grew up.

  5. Pine Pine Monday, July 6, 2020

    I feel like if the word has been used against u u can reclaim it. This goes for only people that are mixed (African American and Caucasian.)

    • amy amy Friday, August 28, 2020

      not all black people are african american

    • girliegirl girliegirl Thursday, January 27, 2022

      i am mixed and i only use it if i have to bcause i dont wanna get cancelled T_T

      • HEARTT HEARTT Sunday, November 13, 2022

        Bruh wth you only use the n word because you didnt want to be cancelled that embrassing…. arent u too younge for this website…>

      • Racist ender Racist ender Sunday, May 21, 2023

        Racist I am coming for you think next time instead of exposing yourself don’t run now knock knock…

    • Alison Alison Tuesday, February 8, 2022

      If u ask me, I think that people that’s fully black (even light skinned) can only say the word. If ur mixed then it’s okay but still not okay. You need to be fully black to say it even if ur more black than ur mixed race, think about it. Imagine being a mix of black and white, then u can both say the n word and have white privilege… you need to be fully of something to be able to say it or do it. And if u do say it, then make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
      And for the Latino people part… they’re not from Africa even if their skin is black so the n word pass is a no.

      • RyRy RyRy Monday, February 21, 2022

        I am mixed with black and white, and I look more black than white, and I don’t have an ounce of white privilege. Also, you don’t have to be fully raced to be able to say something, don’t know where you learned that. As a mixed person, I think I can say it because I am mixed with black, I have black in me, I look black, one of my parents is fully black, and have black ancestors. I think you should let mixed people and their families, (specifically their black side) decide whether it’s okay to say it or not. P.S( being from Africa doesn’t make you automatically black, any race and be African, it’s a nationality)

  6. Anon Anon Tuesday, August 4, 2020

    as an african american/caucasian person, id say that it depends on the way you use the word.
    i mean sometimes people make mistakes and say it once, but saying it repeatedly starts to get offensive.
    its also about the context in which the word is used.
    sometimes people of color use it as greeting or something like that. but most of the time its used as a racial slur, and is highly offensive.
    keep in mind that many people get offended when you say the n-word.
    (but i mean this is all my opinion and many others probably see it another way.)

  7. dicksp1 dicksp1 Thursday, August 6, 2020

    Believe it or not, at the risk of getting my skull fractured, there are actually extremely rare instances, in which it is actually necessary for a white person to use the n-word. Suppose, for example, a white law enforcement officer is working undercover and investigating a white supremacist organization. In order for the officer to blend and preserve their cover, it may be essential to speak the language of the group. In fact, failure to do so can be disastrous. Of course, this is a very rare exception applicable under very limited circumstances.

  8. Daliubys Daliubys Tuesday, September 1, 2020

    Can Cuban people say the n word ??

    • Ughh Ughh Tuesday, May 3, 2022

      Bish are u from africa

    • Mike Mike Tuesday, February 28, 2023

      Nope just blacks

  9. Gavyn Carter Cummings Gavyn Carter Cummings Saturday, October 24, 2020

    I’m 25% black and 75% white my mom is black and she is from Johannesburg City South Africa and my dad is white and he is from Los Angeles California and I go to Desert Edge High School and all my friends call me the N-word and i say it back to then with a text because i don’t want to say it. Because it hurt me to say it out loud

    • Racist ender Racist ender Sunday, May 21, 2023

      You are racist because you are only 25% black so you can’t say the n word

  10. Hannah Hannah Monday, January 4, 2021

    Honestly? If you have to question whether or not you can say it just don’t say it at all. It already has bad origin so honestly just done say it if you have to question it.

  11. asdasdffasd asdasdffasd Monday, January 25, 2021

    The word should be banned. It is analogous to being called a “slave”. How is it a term of endearment to black people? Are you telling me that they like being called a “slave”? It makes no sense that a group of people are allowed to use it and other groups are not.

    • bruh bruh Tuesday, April 4, 2023

      Black people do not like being called a slave. It’s just the new meaning of the n-word that makes them say it. Also other groups aren’t allowed to say the n-word because it is a racial slur, and only that group can say it because how would a black person hate other black people, BECAUSE those said enemies are black?

  12. kai kai Wednesday, January 27, 2021

    I’m black and hispanic, I’ve grown up around the word and the word has been used against me multiple times, Am i allowed to say it?

  13. Theo Theo Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    My situation is similar to that of rapper Logic, as I am biracial. My father is light brown and my mother is somewhere between light brown and white. So my question is, if Logic can use that word, am I allowed to use it too?

  14. Elsie Elsie Thursday, April 22, 2021

    Can we say the n-word if you have black family and black generation?

  15. Jerichiah harris Jerichiah harris Wednesday, April 28, 2021

    I have used the word multiple times and have not got smacked for using it plus I am biracial it depends in general try not to use it but if you are mixed with black back in the day or even today you will be posed as a black man not a white man so use your color wisely because there are supremacists that don’t care if you have a hint of white if you are not fully white society looks at you as colored love to my black brothers/sisters.

  16. Sil Sil Friday, April 30, 2021

    Well, I am latin and I’ve never been in U.S. I read this post for curiosity and also because I love to sing and I love rap, either our native brazillian rap songs and the rap songs from U.S. When it’s in english and I’m singing along, I change the n word for another one, but my origin is also black, and altough I am light skin, I can’t say I’m exactly white. White people in my country don’t see me like an equal and I was born and raised among black culture – brazillian black culture.
    As latin and African-Brazillian, I’d like only to make a point about your post and remember that “latin” is not a race. Latin America is a huge continent and, although our countries have lots in common, we are not all the same thing. Furthermore, in Latin America there are white people, there are black people, there are indigenous people (and they also aren’t all the same culture, each village is totally diferent from the other), there are asian people, we are too diverse.
    African-Brazillian people also experience racism really hard – anti-blackness racism. Brazillian black people get killed every day, brazillian black kids get killed every day from police bullets. We are discriminated at school, at work, in the streets and everywhere else.
    I understand your point. I understand that in your country we are read in a different way than in our homeland, that may be true for someone like me. But I don’t think a dark skinned brazillian walking in U.S. streets, someone like my mother or my uncle, is gonna be free from anti-blackness racism. On the contrary, I think people like them are gonna suffer both, anti-latin and anti-blackness racism.
    And I’m not even trying to defend my right to use the n word lol. I’m just trying to show you that latin black people exist and that latin is not a race or an ethnicity, Latin America has many ones and it’s beautiful and it’s also problematic and complicated, just like it is in U.S.
    I learned a lot today with your experience and I would be really glad if I could help you with mine somehow. Bye.

  17. elijahhhh elijahhhh Sunday, February 6, 2022

    I dont wanna get told i can say it then say it one day (not against anyone, im not like that.) then get called racist. Another mixed person or black person please tell me whether or not its ok. I dont wanna say it but i wanna make sure its ok if i do ever end up saying it.

    • RyRy RyRy Monday, February 21, 2022

      If your not black, don’t say it, period. The words not for you, it was never used against you.

  18. A D A D Wednesday, February 23, 2022

    There’s no such thing as pure black, all African Americans are “mixed race” and so are ALL white people and all Hispanics. Our ancestors all traveled from somewhere else and mixed races with other peoples. If having black ancestors is the requirement for the word almost all of us have dark ancestors from the cradle of life in Africa if you go back far enough. How much pigment someone has in their skin is a ridiculous measurement of qualification. We are all homosapien

    • odedra odedra Saturday, May 7, 2022

      What about if my mum is white, and my dad is half African half Indian. Can I say it since I’m quarter black?

      • Oa Oa Wednesday, January 11, 2023

        No, you are not fully black

    • Naqwzdf Naqwzdf Wednesday, January 11, 2023

      The minimum is having black parents, black grandparents, black great grandparents, Black great great grandparents

  19. Oa Oa Wednesday, January 11, 2023

    ….ONLY Fully black people can say it. As an African it annoys me deeply to hear someone say the N word. Even if you are half black, DO NOT SAY IT.

    • Racist ender Racist ender Sunday, May 21, 2023

      W I don’t understand why these stupid kids can’t understand that

  20. T-bird T-bird Friday, April 28, 2023

    Because of he 1st Amendment I can say anything I want to…that’s my freedom. Is it insensitive? Yep. But I notice the new found WOKEness of the left has now slowed the use of the racist remarks “cracker” and “honky”….hate is a two way street, to deny that is socially naive.

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