The N-Word: What Do You Expect?

I know women are upset too, but this is primarily for black guys who publicly use the N-word and might now be crying foul over NFL player Riley Cooper (a white man) doing the same word: My question: What do you expect?


Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (14) addresses the media concerning an internet video at the Eagles NovaCare Complex.
(Photo: Howard Smith, USA TODAY Sports)

When I was growing up in Harlem during the 1950s-60s, the N-word was the worst imaginable slur. A black person would never utter it in public, where someone of another race might overhear him.

Now, black men, women too, gratuitously use the word in music, on the bus, in high school hallways, at the mall, at fine dining establishments; everywhere. I say, shame on them for contributing to this scourge.

A young man told me his generation “let the N-word out of the closet.” He feels blacks now “own” this hateful word. He thinks it’s been disarmed. I disagree. When black guys playfully call each other a “N” in NFL locker rooms, or anywhere in mixed company, it confuses misguided whites and emboldens bigots. Maybe the logic of disarming the word would work if there were a comparable inflammatory term for the white race. There isn’t. Honkie, or white boy, just doesn’t cut it.

Why do young black men so disrespect the memory of their grandfathers and great grandfathers who fought hard, even died for the right to not be called this despicable term?

Finally, if you think the now widespread use of this racist word doesn’t contribute to the unprecedented disrespect shown President Obama, think again.

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