Nick Lamberti, Design Editor


You’re talking to a nice white person.

The conversation is starting out nice, then you get more comfortable.

They start to tell you about this annoying person they encountered earlier that day.

Then they say it.

The n-word.

We all know it, the term black people use when addressing their comrades.

Or a word white people use in a negative way.

The n-word should not be said by anyone except a black person. The term is offensive to someone black when used by a non-black person, even in a non-offensive way.

Why, you ask?

Let’s look at the word’s history.

The first 19 or so Africans arrived ashore near Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, brought by Dutch traders who took them from a captured Spanish slave ship.

Slaves were always African and were owned by a white family, who bought them at a slave auction.

The slave owners would whip the Africans, torture them, call them offensive names — usually the n-word — hung them, beat them and burned them.

Slavery was abolished in 1865 but the n-word was used offensively by almost every white person until the 1970s. Unfortunately, the word is still used as an offense today.

However, African Americans have come to use the term in a friendly way, not meaning harm by making slave jokes or using it as a term of segregation.

Non-black people should know the history of the word.

The history of the n-word and what has been caused because of it should be enough to make a non-black person not even want to say the n-word.

Why do white people want to say it so badly, anyway?

Is it because black people say it, and there’s no way a black person should be able to do something that you can’t? If you think a black person can’t tell you what you shouldn’t do, you’re racist.

If you say the n-word, and you are not black, you are part of a huge problem.

You are never going to fix the problem by saying it.

So, please — stop trying.