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OPINION: The “N” word

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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