Speaker 1: Why can’t I walk from the corner where the cab dropped me off to my apartment without someone yelling the N-word at me outside of a car? Why is that a thing I’m dealing with?
Text: What the N-Word Feels Like
Text: We asked some of our colleagues about the first time they remembered being called the N-word.
Speaker 2: I was eleven years old. I was at a convenience store.
Speaker 3: I was eighteen. I was experimenting with YouTube.
Speaker 4: I was between seven and nine years old, and I was with my mother.
Speaker 5: It was when I was at Columbia University. I was in grad school.
Speaker 6: When I was studying abroad in a small town in Germany.
Speaker 7: Just at night, walking down the street.
Speaker 6: This random drunken dude outside the lecture hall yelled “n*gger” at me.
Speaker 2: The owner of the store had came out and told us to “Get out, you bloody n*gger.”
Speaker 1: These two white dudes in a car drove by, and one yelled “n*gger,” and one yelled “afro.”
Speaker 5: I was at the cash register, and she asked me for proof of ID to prove that I went to Columbia University, and she hadn’t asked the other students. I asked her why she asked me and nobody else and she just muttered under her breath, “You give these n*ggers an education, and they think they know everything.”
Speaker 3: On YouTube, the commentator’s like, “A greasy, greasy N-word hanging from a tree.”
Speaker 4: We were stopped at a stop light. And after sitting for a while, there was a very angry knock on her window. I look over to see a scruffy white guy in at trucker hat, not looking very happy. Then he says, “Well fuck you, n*gger,” with me in the passenger seat.
Speaker 7: If you’re going to use that word against me, you’re doing it to get a rise out of me. Then you also have to deal with peoples expectations of how you’re going to respond.
Speaker 5: After she said what she said, I stood in shock for a moment, but then I took my things that I had purchased and went to the next cashier and asked to return them. They were like, “Why?” I was like, “I’m not going to pay to be called a n*gger.” When it happens to you, I think there’s still such an innate shock because it is like, it’s 2013.
Speaker 7: It was 2010, and I’m still having to go down the street and deal with people using that as an insult against me.
Speaker 3: Our ancestors were called that, and they didn’t have any control over it.
Speaker 2: I guess you bring it back to slavery. You’re not equal to us, and this is what they called everyone back in the days, and this is what we feel like is right to call you.
Speaker 4: It was a word that was used purposefully with the intention of keeping Black people down and in their place.
Speaker 3: They just see my skin color ,and then the first thing that they think is hatred.
Speaker 6: This terrible word basically that I thought was exclusive to America and America’s history with slavery had traveled across oceans to other countries. It hurt.