Not In My Vocab: Why I’m Getting Rid of The N-Word

n word

This morning I was deep into my routine of not listening to crap FM radio, and listening to ESPN Radio on the AM dial. I luckily caught the Mike Lupica show, and his topic at the moment was the usage of the N-word. The famed sports reporter held the stance that there was no place in society for anyone to use, whether they are black, white, or any other ethnicity. Take a listen below:

ESPN’s Mike Lupica Show: “The N-Word”

The conversation started with the recent Icognito/Martin Dolphins fiasco and the Matt Barnes Tweet Heard Around the World. In case you have been living under a rock or not into sports, here’s a quick rundown of how the N-word played center stage in each instance:

  • Jonathan Martin, an offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins, recently left the team because of alleged physical, verbal, and emotional abuse from teammate Richie Icognito, a fellow lineman. Included in some of the alleged verbal assaults were numerous texts from Icognito to Martin, calling him a “half n**ga”. Icognito chalked it up to locker room antics amongst buddies.
  • Last week, L.A. Clippers forward Matt Barnes was ejected from a game for a scuffle he was involved in with Oklahoma City Thunder’s player Serge Ibaka. After the game, Barnes angrily took to the current avenue of blasting one’s personal bizzness, Twitter, saying he was “done standing up for these n**gas”, referring to his teammates, as he initially got into the fight with Ibaka for standing up for fellow Clipper Blake Griffin. Barnes was subsequently fined $25K by the NBA for the crude tweet.

Lupica went on to say that he feels no one should have the right to say the word, regardless of their race, and he was actually sick of people telling him who should and should not be able to say it. He went on to say that the word shouldn’t be embraced by African-Americans, and was not going to accept the cop-out that’s it’s acceptable when Black people use it among themselves, namely in the locker room culture within the sports world. He stated the word has no logical use in society, and deemed it an ignorant term. And I agree with him.

Now, I can count on one hand the words in the English language that I cannot stand:

  • The C-word ( hopefully you can figure it out)
  • Moist.  Self- explanatory ( it should NOT be a term to describe cake).
  • The N-word (anything you are hesitant to spell out prooobably should be said as well).

They all disgust me, on completely different levels. Sadly, I’ve used the N-word more than the other words in my lifetime. And even though I’ve read, listened to, and participated in countless debates on the usage of this polarizing word, Lupica’s diatribe today flipped a light on in my head, which made me come to the decision that I never plan to use the word again. I’m not even sure I want to support any avenue ( i.e. music, television, etc.) that uses the word as well. Let me tell you why.

Outside of singing along to a Jay-Z or Kendrick Lamar song ( which is not okay), when the N-word has come out of my mouth in the midst of conversation, it has always felt out of place. Saying it to a friend felt forced and uncomfortable, like I was trying too hard to be someone I’m not. I would say it to and around certain people, but if anyone important  heard me say it, I would honestly be ashamed.

If I continued to name all the reasons why some Black people feel they can use the word, I would run out of internet space. Hey, everyone has their own opinion, so I can only give you mine. I’ve said it and I don’t like that I have. I hear black people say it to each other and I don’t like it.  Hell, I’ve heard people of other races ( mostly Hispanic) say it to each other, as well as their black and even white friends, and I think it sounds ridiculous. Mostly, I find the word completely ignorant, and I’m actually ashamed that I’ve used the ethnic slur. I don’t buy into the hype that because “we” use it as a term of endearment and use a different inflection at the end of the word, it’s okay to use. It’s still a word that is drenched in disgusting history, turmoil, devastation, and ignorance. And I won’t use it. It’s the same with the word “bitch”, which I’m not using anymore as well as a way to get my homegirl’s attention ( Breazy wrote a great article about it, ). The word is just beneath me to tell you the truth, and I owe too much to Sallie Mae to use such an uneducated word. I’d rather use the word “idiot”. It’s a mean word that when I sling it, spits a lot of venom. Sounds more refined.


3 thoughts on “Not In My Vocab: Why I’m Getting Rid of The N-Word

    I have also deleted the word from my vocabulary. The only time I even think it is when I’m listening to music. (I can’t stop listening to Wu Tang just yet.) I’ve seen a couple of the debates the sports commentators have had. The one that saddened me the most involved Charles Barkley, Shaq, and that white guy that sits between them. It was sad because Chuck and Shaq was defending the use of it! Charles is from Alabama, so he of all people should know how effed up the word is. He came up during the Bull Conner days! Anyway, bravo for you.

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