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Should black people be allowed to call others the n-word?

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    I call my white friends my ****** so boo everybody
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    "If successful, this might, I suppose, put an end to the pathetic complaint made by some white people that it's unfair that blacks can use the word while they cannot. In fact, no question of 'double standards' arises here. If white people call black people *******, they are doing their very best to hurt and insult them, as well as to remind them that their ancestors used to be property. If black people use the word, they are either uttering an obscenity or trying to detoxify a word and rob it of its power to wound them. Not quite the same thing."

    - Christopher Hitchens
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    Let's take 'racism' out of this for a moment.

    We either legally allow use of the word or we legally ban it. No ifs. No buts. It's funny how people seem to find it acceptable for any non-white, even if they're nothing to do with black people, to say ******.
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    Yeah man, I'm black and I use the word. It's not really a word exclusive to blacks. For example, when I was in LA there were bare Mexicans who were using it because the gangs started using it and no one could **** with them so it just became acceptable. Plus, there's that whole reclaiming **** people do. Like the gay community and the word queer. It's not that white people can't use the word. It's just that it makes **** awkward when I see it out of the mouth of a white guy like watching a middle class white guy trying to act like his urban and "down with the peeps". As someone else said, it's about speech community. Some people don't care about their white friends using it. If a homosexual had a problem with me saying phaggot then I'd stop using it. There's nothing wrong with a white guy saying it in front of people who don't care if he says it. And yeah it's the a- variation as opposed to the -er variation. This dude explains it:

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    (Original post by Snagprophet)
    Let's take 'racism' out of this for a moment.

    We either legally allow use of the word or we legally ban it. No ifs. No buts. It's funny how people seem to find it acceptable for any non-white, even if they're nothing to do with black people, to say ******.
    No, no one gets to legalize or ban a word. IT'S A WORD! The way to go further with this is just get along with it. If there's people who don't like you to use it then don't use it... if there's people who don't care then use it.

    This is just another complex situation that I think will get healed through time.
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    (Original post by Snagprophet)
    Let's take 'racism' out of this for a moment.

    We either legally allow use of the word or we legally ban it. No ifs. No buts. It's funny how people seem to find it acceptable for any non-white, even if they're nothing to do with black people, to say ******.
    No. No one is saying that white people should be legally banned from saying the word. But, don't start crying like a little bitch when you get socially excluded for saying it. It's like talking in London Slang in front of Upper-class men you'll get socially excluded from that circle.
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    Everyone should be allowed to say whatever they want and other people will judge them for it.
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    (Original post by mc1000)
    Of course they should; and so should caucasian people. ****** is just like any other 'offensive' word: only offensive when used in context and when used to express one's hatred of another person simply on account of their physical characteristics. I do not hate black people at all; I greatly value their presence in society. I know some great black people - if I was to call them *******, it would clearly be used as a friend to a friend - in the same way their black friends use the word - and if they allow their fellow homies to use this word colloquially, why can't I?

    It does depend heavily on how well you know the said black person. If they've never met you - black or white - it's heavily inappropriate because as far as they're concerned, you are using it to be offensive. But if the black person knows you don't have a problem with ethnic minorities... what's the problem?! It's just another word - only offensive when intended to be - just like **** or ****.

    Also, what's always amused me is that Niger is a country, and a wholly inoffensive word. But if I was to say to a random black person "You are a Niger", this pun - suggesting use of both the N-word, and also an African country - would surely, in real life, be doubly offensive? It would barely be different to calling someone a Zimbabwe or an Equatorial Guinea - the only difference being the connotation to the N-word. Maybe I think a white person's head is the same shape as the country Niger... that would surely be more offensive than to say it to a black person? But again, it's just a word; the name of a country... and its intended use is 100% what matters. In the right circumstances, of course it's right for black and white people to use the N-word.
    Niger isn't pronounced "******" though and someone from Niger is a Nigerien.
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    Again, this is all about context. Anyone who thinks otherwise is quite frankly stupid.

    There's nothing to debate about, why this is even a thread is beyond me.

    Edit: there is nothing complex about this so called 'debate'. The context is either right for the usage of the word or it isn't.

    To the guy who's advocating banning the word, you're an idiot.
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    black people using the word is completely exclusive due to the history of the word.
    we don't want any backsliding now do we...
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    I think the offensiveness of the word depends entirely on context tbh, regardless of who/what race is using it.
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    Personally I would say under no way should the word be used by anyone. I'm black myself and obviously would find it racist. It's generally not a nice word given the background of how it was derived thus why would you went to keep talking about the past and reminding people of the horrible history and the suffering of thousands of people.

    Black ppl who use the word also are wrong, by using the term its almost like encouraging others to do the same which is wrong when they say it at an unfortunate time then get deemed racist...

    This post seems stupid to me anyway its like asking whether it is acceptable to walk around doing a Hitler salute whilst wearing a swastika. No it wouldn't be pleasant for anyone....

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my HTC Wildfire S A510e


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Updated: June 8, 2012
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