Why You Saying Nigger is Never Cute

Mennlay NYC winter 2014 / Photo by Diana Ayala

Mennlay NYC winter 2014 / Photo by Diana Ayala


I’m sorry but if you do not identify as African American it is NOT okay for you to say Nigger. Ever. When someone uses the term and I calmly try to address why it disrupts my being to the core, I am amazed that instead of a humbled apology, most vomit excuses like;

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“But they call me a spic, faggot, cracker, etc.”

“It’s art.”

As much love as I have for my fellow Mexicans, people of color and Quentin Tarantino films, you are not in privilege to use that word. Derogatory slurs similar to nigger are ones of which that should hold no real place in the human language and existence. They are not used when I speak and they are not used when I am speaking intimately with my friends.

There is still a very active debate in African American communities in regards whether or not we should still be using nigger amongst ourselves. While some of us think we reclaim it as a word of camaraderie and brotherhood/sisterhood others find it to be disruptive altogether. But here’s the thing — it’s not up for you to decide.

People who were called ‘Negro’ and ‘Nigger’ were often used for heinous medical experiments, enslaved, sold, taken from their homes, verbally abused, beaten to death, and raped on just about every continent on the planet. The trauma of those times are relevant and are still carried with us today.

So when you use that world to feel edgy or cool — remember that it comes with the kind of weight that you will never be able to imagine. It reinforces every time someone has called me a nigger, my mother and my ancestors. I have had to personally deal with my existence based on my skin color every day of my life. So please respect yourself and respect me by being a creative, intelligent individual and just try using another fucking word.

3 thoughts on “Why You Saying Nigger is Never Cute

  1. Wise words…..As a writer you know that the words have a powerful effect and that people need to speak with consideration and kindness… Susanne Langer once said that words give form to peoples’ thoughts as art gives form to peoples’ emotions. (I am paraphrasing her badly)

    • you always have the best insight 🙂

      — i feel this was more of a rant but trying desperately to come to a place of reason and kindness because of its complexities.

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