The n-word has become normalized- and it shouldn’t

Ellie Vasbinder, Assistant Print Editor in Chief

It is the ultimate insult, and it is also a term of endearment. It is a word originally meant to shame and humiliate. It is now a word taken lightly by some, and seriously by others. The n-word, by the mid-twentieth century was the single most offensive and racist insult. Today, it has been reappropriated to mean friend- but the question of who can use it is controversial.

Throughout history, African Americans have been mistreated. They have been slain by whites, lynched, victims of discrimination and the list goes on. According to, 95 percent of Fenton is Caucasian. Many of Fentons younger Caucasian students spit the word n***** left and right, poison flying. The reason why the n-word is thrown with carelessness is a neglected issue, and often goes without consequences.

Majority of white people have grown up listening to hip-hop culture, including myself, where black males use the n-word regularly. According to Media Behaviors and Influence Study, whites are statistically the largest consumers of hip hop, so many feel comfortable with the word. However, it does not matter if you are singing it, or whether it is with a “hard r” or not, It is not our right to use it in any way.

Many popular Caucasian rappers, such as Eminem, refuse to use the word. We should follow those footsteps. There is no reason for white listeners to slur the word of songs that do use it. Jay-Z said, “People give words power, and for our generation, what we did is we took the word and we took the power out of that word. We took a word that was very ugly and hurtful into a term of endearment.” For African Americans, they took a word that our race made to be degrading and wielded it to something simultaneously ironic and positive. But the difference is, that change was not made for our use.

We all have aspects of ourselves we need to work on. It is not about telling others what to do or how to think, it is not about pointing fingers. It is about self-examination and self-awareness. When we become aware of our words and the venom they contain, we can stop the toxicity from reaching anyone else.