A couple of weeks ago, my sister came home upset from school because of a conversation that she had at school with some of her classmates. One of the girls had jokingly called her a nigger. She tried to explain that she did not like the idea of the word ‘nigger’ being used in reference to her, regardless of whether it was a joke or not. In trying to explain her point to her friends, she inferred that only black people could use the word ‘nigger’ jokingly. She then gave an example of when my brother put up a picture of him on Instagram and captioned it ‘Niggaz in Paris’. As the eldest, wisest and also the prettiest in the family (I joke, not really), it was my job to make her feel better, but also, to re-educate her.
I questioned where she got the idea that only black people should be allowed use the word ‘nigger’. The word ‘nigger’ is a derogatory word, regardless of the skin colour of the person uttering the word. According to oxford dictionaries, the word ‘nigger’ is a “contemptuous term for a black person.” The meaning of the word does not change depending on the person that utters it. If you do not want a person to use the word ‘nigger’ when they refer to you, you shouldn’t use the word nigger when referring to yourself either. I feel using a word when referring to yourself, is giving other people the permission to use it towards you. You cannot have one rule for yourself, and one rule for the rest of the world. It does not work like that, at least it shouldn’t. You shape others behaviour towards you, by teaching them what they can and cannot get away with. If you refer to yourself as a nigger, whether jokingly or not, I do not see why a reason why other people are not allowed to call you a nigger. You have indirectly given them the permission to call you a nigger.
Little kids are uttering words while being unaware of the meaning of the words that they utter. When we start to joke about terms that hold serious meaning, these terms are taken for granted and are flung around carelessly. This is absolutely fine, but the problem is that the meaning of these words do not change. The contempt behind the words are still there. They do not vanish, because you made into a joke, and they certainly do not vanish depending on the race of the person that says it. Yes, it is understandable that it will most likely hurt more, if a white person called a black person a nigger, than if a black person called a black person a nigger, but the fact is, one is still being called a nigger.
I feel like this applies to every aspect of our lives, even for things like respect. I feel the way you carry yourself is very important. Personally, I have noticed that people will treat you the way, you treat yourself. If you carry yourself like a boss, people will treat you like a boss. If you put yourself down, people will put you down either jokingly or not. How you are treated, depends on the way you let them treat you. Remember, it’s your life and you are in control.
Till next time