Owning the N-Word

WP: Wayans’ hip-hop line rejected – washingtonpost.com Highlights – MSNBC.com

Damon Wayans takes the phrase ‘owning the n-word’ to an all new level. Of course, he’s not the first to try to get a patent on the word, but he is possibly the most recent and the most well-known.

Personally, I hate the n-word in all its forms. There are two reasons for this. One is because when a certain people group uses it, the word communicates unreasonable hatred. Two is because when another people group uses it, it demonstrates an unfair double-standard. For instance, when a white southern boy spots a black boy, he cries out the profane word, and we all think of white hoods, burning crosses, and lynchings. The word is, indeed, a profanity because of the level of animosity it conveys.

It’s other use is equally hateful to me, that being its casual use in so many hip-hop, rap, and R&B songs. Somehow, when black men call each other ‘my nigga’, it’s alright, but there’s hell to pay when a white boy tries to do the same thing, even when it’s with the same attitude of amiability. The excuse I’ve heard from black people sounds something like this – “It’s not an insult or offense when we use the word because when we use it, we _own_ it.” And this somehow makes the word better?! That would be like saying it’s offensive when someone hatefully calls me a fu**er, but it becomes alright to call myself or a friend fu**er because when _I_ do it, I _own_ it, as if owning an offensive term somehow removes the offense from it. ((Oh, wait, I forgot. People do that all the time already.))

I will honestly never understand how using an offensive term in casual reference among friends and brothers can be alright when the same term is not alright outside of that circle, particularly when such words as the n-word carry with them such high levels of hatred and animosity. There’s an interesting double-standard and casualness at work here, and I do not mean that it is interesting in a _good_ way. I recognize the psychological and emotional need to remove some of the sting from an historically offensive term, but it seems to me that trying to _own_ it is taking things just a bit too far. ((For the record I am _not_ black, so if I’m missing an important point in here somewhere, please enlighten me.))

One thought on “Owning the N-Word”

  1. great points. what you discussed is definitely one of the most glaring examples of double-standard in today’s society. along with most everything coming out of the mouth of a liberal…

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