What’s Your Relationship with the N-Word.




(ThyBlackMan.com) What’s your relationship with the word “[email protected]@a”. Is a word you’ve never used? Do you use it while reciting something? Maybe you actively try to keep it out of your vocabulary. My usage of it is low in every day conversation but it’s more liberal around close relations or looser company.

Growing Up with the Word

Sometimes it depends on the nature of the conversation but “[email protected]@a” gets dropped regularly when hanging with my siblings. However, my relationship with it wasn’t always so flexible. Growing up, it was a word that my mother forbade in the house.

As a matter of fact, hip-hop wasn’t really played much either.

It was up there with swearing. I’d say it was closer to saying “damn” than some of the heavier words. During that time, you’d also hear about a push to get the word out Black folks’ vocabulary.

In elementary school, we even had a speaker come in to speak to the kids about it. I noticed classmates using it but since it was one of those banned words in my house, I didn’t use it then.

That all changed once I got to high school and changed schools during my sophomore year. My first school was more diverse. “[email protected]@a” could be heard when other Black students were hanging with each other or on the bus riding into mostly Black neighborhoods.

In my new school I heard it more regularly and in more combinations. That’s when I began to take to the word. It was also during that time that I took to hip-hop. Basically, I assimilated to my new school.

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[email protected]@a” didn’t seem like a dirty word any more. It was just another way of saying groups of people. Sometimes it’s punctuation. Often times it depends on the context and how it’s said.

Of course, most important is who says it. However, when I began using it was just in conversation without any of that context. That’s something I think about decades later with too much time on my hands.

Why or how I started using “[email protected]@a” was never a deep-thinking topic or something that caused a crisis of self. With that I said, I do have a fascination with the origin of things—the “when” part, that is.

When I started using it had me pausing and thinking about it. Everything else just comes along afterwards when I wonder about the “why” or “how” part. It was similar to when I realized I used the word “f**k” a lot and interject it into words often.

What’s Your Relationship with the Word “[email protected]@a”?

My relationship with “[email protected]@a” isn’t an antagonistic one. I don’t have a dislike of it or want for it to be removed. I won’t say my relationship with the word involves reverence or holding it as a sacred term but it should be kept from being haphazardly.

Let’s just say I believe Black people should keep it among us if it’s going to exist. I liken it to children finally using vulgarity. As a reasonable adult or parent who uses vulgarity you don’t want children using those words…at least your children.


Finish story here; What’s Your Relationship with the N-Word.