Billy Johnson writes: "But Paltrow isn't the only person confused about the etiquette for using the N-word. There's one simple rule. If you are not African American there is no instance for using the word that is not going to be taken offensively. If doesn't matter if you're friends with the most prominent African Africans on the planet, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Oprah or President Obama. Don't. Use. The. Word."
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- Thanks for the civil discourse y'all :)
What I was hoping someone would point out, as I did in the quotation, was the fact that the author said that for non African Americans "there is no instance for using the word that is not going to be taken offensively."
Do you agree?Jun 6, 2012
- I absolutely don't agree. Like I said before, younger generations, white, black, blue polka dots, etc... don't have the same natural connotations to that particular word as the older generations do. The word has lost it's meaning to the younger generations. Whether we like it or not, it just is.Jun 6, 2012
- I've been some pretty ugly places and thrown that word around and I've not been shot (yes I'm white). It's like Aloha. It means a whole bunch of things and it entirely depends on how you use it.Jun 6, 2012
- It's like the B1tch word... If you walk up to a woman and call her one, you are likely to get slapped. But you can call a woman a B1tch in a friendly joking tone, and it's not a problem. The same is true of this word. It all depends on how it's used.Jun 6, 2012
- context and intention should be what offends, not words.
That's what I meant by my earlier comment. When using words in an appropriate context, the people who are most likely to get offended by the word itself just for the reason that it was uttered is middle class white people. Even if it was in an appropriate context.
There are many "hot button" words that you can't say around middle class white Americans. Like Rape, or Retard, or Nigger, or Cunt, or Faggot, or "I hate bacon", regardless of the context. They just tell you that there are certain words that are too offensive to be allowed to be spoken out loud,
I'm sure that's true of any culture, though. There have been and always will be taboo words that incite violence when spoken regardless of context or intention.Jun 7, 2012
- I apologize if I came off as addressing something irrelevant, but for what it's worth I don't think I was giving any history lesson. As your exchange with shows, there's a lot of difference in opinion on the matter even in this 'modern' age. A couple of questions so that I might better understand your position on it, if you'd indulge me. You said you're not offended by slang variants of the word and have multiple white friends who use the terminology in a friendly and casual way, though for argument's sake if an openly and proudly racist guy called you one of those would it be the same? I may be off the mark though I would assume you'd at the least be uncomfortable with it because you'd have a feeling of what he was implying or intending to get around and still use. On the other hand the actual racist word used in a comedy bit where someone is using just about every other slur for other race and ethnicity imaginable it may be more tolerable because the intent behind the use of it.
In any event, I've no doubt you've a different perspective from myself on this having experienced life in a different pair of shoes, so to speak, and I respect your opinion on the matter. I stand by what I said in the second paragraph of my last comment, which is that the use of the word is not necessary to better convey a message or idea to others and in fact using it will distract from what a person is trying to say because of either offense at its use or because there will inevitably be a crapstorm of meta-discussion about 'should he or she have used the word, ever used the word in any situation, does this mean they're racist, oh they have black friends who say it's okay, blah blah blah.' If someone's wanting to contribute to a conversation, it's not fear of using an offensive word and a suppression of their free speech to avoid using it; it's recognizing its use is at best a distraction to what they are trying to say. This goes for all slurs or offensive terminology as well, not just for one term for one demographic group. (Obviously the caveat is if the conversation is about slurs.)
I +1'd your comment illustrating the context of this particular story and how I guess the tweet in question is a paraphrased reference to one of the songs off Watch the Throne since I'll admit I didn't initially read much about this particular story. Having read it, I think outrage isn't in order(though titles of songs or movies or books or lyrics or quotes with slurs do present a slightly different issue from simply using the word in one's own parlance) and I don't think there's been as huge an outcry about it nationally as if it wasn't such a tangled situation. To answer your question about anti-racism activism I wouldn't consider myself an activist and I'm not really involved with any groups or movements or done much specific reading on the topic, though I think I've seen a couple of Wise's videos here on the internet. I just enjoy participating in discussions with people and I relish trying to find ways to discuss things considered to be controversial or polarizing in a way that is both enlightening and engaging for people who are interested in the topic.
...and since I've done made this a three paragraph comment few will actually even read, I may as well add that New Day is a better song off that album, in my opinion. Have a great rest of the day, everybody, and if I said something jacked up or stupid here, let me know!Jun 7, 2012