Dear White Folks: We have to stop using the n-word. Like really, really. There was a word invented by White people as a pejorative for Black folks. Our people gave up the privilege to use that word the moment we invented it as a tool of oppression. So here are four reasons why it’s never okay for us to say it — no matter what Black folks are doing.
Race & Ethnicity
“If black people can say the N-word, why can’t I? How is that fair? It isn’t! It’s a double standard!” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that one before. Next time you do, show the person this video by vlogger Franchesca Ramsey! Watch as she explains the origins of the N-word and debunks common arguments in favor of white people using the N-word.
Being aware of and enjoying other cultures is not inherently bad. On the other, stealing them and claiming them as your own can do unseen, oppressive damage. So where do we draw the line between “appropriate” forms of cultural exchange and more damaging patterns of cultural appropriation? Jarune Uwujaren helps to clear the air around this important issue!
Language is an extremely finicky thing. Much like a snowball, a language picks up habits from the culture that uses it as time goes on, especially our really bad habits like racism, sexism, and homophobia. If a single word is enough to dismiss and disregard an entire population’s feelings, ideas, and humanity, you can imagine why those people would want it erased from society’s vocabulary.
In many times unintentional and unconscious ways, people commit racial micro-aggressions in everyday conversations. Non-white natives are labeled eternally foreign and therefore, they can feel unwelcome in their own countries. It’s time we start speaking up against these racial microaggressions. So ask yourself, “what are the implications of asking someone, ‘where are you from?’”
Yes, black women have strength. But time and time again, the word “strong” has been used to dehumanize black women, to trivialize their pain, to create an impossible standard for young black girls to strive towards. For black women, taking that strength back means calling out the ways in which their strength is used against them. It’s time for us to debunk some myths.
Mainstream feminists must listen to women of Color when they voice their struggles. I don’t believe feminisms is a monolithic movement, so I understand why some feminist groups and organizations focus their work on the issues that affect their immediate communities. But hear me out, and you’ll understand why immigration reform must be seen as a feminist issue foremost.
I write this to speak to transgender men who love, desire, and have sex with other men (cis and trans). I write to you with a request. It is not common to discuss the homophobia that exists within our trans men and queer boi communities, especially among those of us who are of color. So brothers, please let’s talk about it now before it’s too late.
I am not new to masculinity, but I am new to being a black man. I am new to the experience of male privilege, as well as the disprivilege of race that marks my black male body as suspect. It is the delicate balance between power and criminal that has allowed me to see misogyny in an entirely different light. But because black feminism allows me to love myself, I have learned to love black men.
I hear it all too often: “I’m not racist, but I just wouldn’t date [insert race/ethnicity].” If you have to start a sentence with a clarification that you’re not racist, that’s a pretty good indicator that you need to reevaluate whatever you’re about to say. You can’t know whether or not you have chemistry with someone unless you get to know them. So be open-minded.