The N-Word ‘Double Standard’

Originally published on Chesca Leigh’s YouTube channel.

Hey friends! So as many as you know, this channel is not just about laughing, it is also about learning. Today, I want to talk about N-Word “Double Standard”.

This is not a new conversation by any way, shape, or form. But it’s one that’s happen a lot in a media, here even in my channel especially after my viral video “Shit White Girls Says To Black Girls”.

“You can say the n-word but I can’t. How is that okay?”

The most recently the conversation come to lie again, after Madonna got on this hot water when she posted a photo on Instagram of her son and captioned it with the n-word. Now this is not the 1st time that this is happened. Of course we remember Gwyneth Paltrow and Paula Deen, and every time the conversation of a non-Black person using the n-word comes up, there’s some comment, questions, and misunderstandings associated with it.

So I want it to break them down and give you my perspective. Little disclaimer I do not speak for all black people. This is just is just based on my personal opinion and my life experience.

So you are not a Black person and you use the n-word, I don’t care if it ends in “er “or an “a”, chances are you’re gonna face some sort of back clash. And usually the excuse that I’ve encountered offline and on starts with…“Well, the N-word not really racial slur, it doesn’t mean black people they mean stupid.”

That is absolutely incorrect. The n-word comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word for black, NEGRO. So how do you take completely benign word, the word for black, and make it into a slur?

We have to look at the word to historical context the n-word was used to describe black people as they were being stolen from Africa, put in a slavery, shamed, lynched, raped, beaten, spit upon. So the word was created as a tool of impression. Its historical context cannot be erased.

Who is “allowed” to say it?

In reality, everyone is allowed to say whatever it is that they want to say. But there was always be a consequence for your word and your actions. Depending on who you are and where you are, there will be different consequences for what you say and do. And this is not something that’s just related to the n-word or just specifically created for this word.

This is a regular occurrence. It’s a matter in-group versus out-group dynamics. So when you’re a member of a certain group, there are things that are totally okay and socially acceptable when you’re in that group. And for people outside of that group, you give them a side eye and it’s just not okay.

For example, for some reason football players pat each other on the butt as a way of saying “good job!” And no one thinks twice about it. It’s totally okay. But when that football player steps off the field, if some random stranger walks up to them and starts patting them on the butt, they would not be okay with it. “Whoa! Dude, who are you? Why are you patting my butt? We are not playing football. You’re not a football player. This is weird!”

Something else I’ve encountered when it comes to talking about the n-word is the common idea that “if you guys don’t want people to say it, then you should stop saying.” I actually heard this most recently when I spoke out a college from one of the students at my talk and it was just like “phlew.”

All Black people don’t do the same things or act the same way or use the same language. Personally, I don’t use the n-word and I’m not gonna begrudge anyone else that does it because you can talk about yourself however you want to. And there’s some people that really believe that using the n-word is a way to reclaim where it’s an act of defiance. “You have used this horrible word to oppress me and keep me down so I’m gonna turn it around and change its meaning into something else.”

Furthermore, not all Black people are tapped into some hotline. There’s not a number that I can call and make decisions about what we should all do. I can’t call up Kendrick Lamar and be like “Hey! Kendrick, I love Mad City, but you used the n-word way too much, and it’s making us looks bad. P.S. You got robbed at the Grammy’s!”

That’s not an option, and so no.

But the thing that bothers me the most is when people argue that it’s just not fair, that it’s a double standard that the Black people can use the n-word and everyone else can’t. The reason is bothers me so much it is completely self-serving and disingenuous. These people do not care about fairness or any of disparity that Black people in this country and around the world face. Because if they did, they wouldn’t be arguing over the use of the n-word.

Instead they focus on real problems like job discrimination, housing discrimination, racial profiling, police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline, stop-and-frisk, the harsh imprison sentences that black people and other minorities face. They would rather argue that it’s not fair that there are social consequences for people that are not Black who use the n-word.

Priorities, you has them.

So now I wanna hear from you. What are your thoughts on the n-word “double standard?” Let me know in the comments below and whether you agree with me or disagree with me, let’s try to keep this conversation civil and respectful. No name calling, no slurs, no vicious attacks cuz we ain’t got time for that and if you cross the line, you’s gonna get blocked.

Don’t forget I post new videos every Friday so make sure you subscribe and I was see you next week. Bye!

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Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey is a graphic designer and video blogger based out of New York City. With over 100k subscribers on her two YouTube channels, she and her videos have been featured on numerous style and entertainment blogs and news publications including MTV, The New York Times,, and The BBC. In January 2012, Franchesca had her first viral video “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls” which accumilated 1.5 million views in 24 hours, 6 million views in a week and over 9 million views to date. Follow her on Twitter @chescaleigh