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Ta-Nehisi Coates has an incredibly clear explanation for why white people shouldn’t use the n-word

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Sink' started by zephcom, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. zephcom

    zephcom Well-Known Member

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    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    November 9, 2017 was a slow news day over at Vox, I see.
     
  3. Kaon

    Kaon Well-Known Member

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    Why would any white person want to use the word give the history and modernity of its application? That is the real question. Is it ignorance, defiance or entitlement ("but why can't I say it if s/he does?")

    I already have a profile of a person when they use that word; the red herring is the argument to say it itself. Again, what white person would want to say that word, and what type of person argues for the right to say it?
     
  4. nonaeroterraqueous

    nonaeroterraqueous Nonexistent Member

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    Comparing the word to "honey" is useless. Honey is a term of endearment.

    Comparing it to the B-word is better. The word is crass and insulting. Women should not be using it against each other. If the N-word is an insult, then blacks should not be using it against each other.

    The real problem is that it should not be an insult in the first place. Niger, the root of it, simply means black. A form of it even shows up in the names Schwarzenegger and Nigeria, and niger seed (good for feeding goldfinches). We never should have gotten to this point, where the name of a race is an insult. However, since we are not to call blacks by that word, then they need to extend the same courtesy to each other. Even if they don't, I still won't use the word, but they will lose my respect.
     
  5. Kaon

    Kaon Well-Known Member

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    Case in point.
     
  6. zephcom

    zephcom Well-Known Member

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    There we go again, making up rules for others to follow. Blacks should be able to give themselves a break if they want to.

    As far as it should not be an insult in the first place, do remember that it was the white slave holders who turned it into an insult in the first place.
     
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  7. Kaon

    Kaon Well-Known Member

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    Just so people know, the "N" word was used profusely and specifically for black persons and slaves right before lynching - not just as an insult. That is what people want to be a part of? Blacks likely use it because it is part of their experience in real life (I know even people on here have called black people the N-word in real life.) It is an authentic part of black life (because they are still called this today).

    But seriously, why telegraph to other people: why would anyone want to use that word? If you are unsure about its appropriateness, don't do it. Why do people want to fight for permission to use this word? Ignorance of history? Entitlement?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  8. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    If what now?
     
  9. zephcom

    zephcom Well-Known Member

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    Entitlement certainly. I suspect it is also used to reinforce their superiority.

    There are two ways to appear superior to others. The first way is to actually BE superior. The other way is to diminish others while promoting oneself. One is honest, the other isn't.
     
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  10. Kaon

    Kaon Well-Known Member

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    Ignorance of history*

    Sometimes I write with a device with "beautiful" autocorrect.
     
  11. Kaon

    Kaon Well-Known Member

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    The irony is one who is truly superior doesn't actually have to announce it, or go on crusades to solidify the "fact". It isn't through fear or conquering, and it isn't through force: entities that are superior don't have to do or say anything because their superiority speaks for itself.
     
  12. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    I'm not sure you've quite understood Mr. Coates' reasoning here, because it has less to do with whether or not the term in question is considered an insult than with the relationship of the people using it to one another. He can't call his father "Billy" because he's his father's son, not his mother.

    The real problem is that it has historically been used as one by people who had every reason to insult and dehumanize black people so as to be able to continue to treat them like property rather than like human beings on the basis of their skin color.

    And the root of the "B-word" that you alluded to elsewhere in your post simply means "female dog", and was never used as an insult for human women. Until it was. Which is why it is being used in this argument, and why it is considered inappropriate to use in that context. Presumably if we were on a forum about dog breeding right now, it would be entirely appropriate to use it to describe what it originally described and can still be used to describe. But the meanings of words do change depending on the context in which they are used.

    Sort of...not really, though, since the word of "black" isn't what you think it is if you think it is a cognate with Niger: "Schwartzenegger" is a combination of schwarzen, which does mean "black", and egg, which means "ridge" (so, "Black Ridge", which is a place name in both Switzerland and in his native Austria; a Schwarzenegger is therefore a person from or associated with those places, in the same way that an Amerikaner is an American). It's an easy enough mistake to make, but you can't just arbitrarily re-syllabify the word like that so that it's "schwarze-negger" just because "negger" looks more like the word you're wanting to relate it back to. As far as I know, "negger" by itself is not a word in German. (A black person is schwarzer.)

    It has been, though. Saying that it shouldn't have...I agree, but that doesn't do anything in itself. We shouldn't have ever built the entire world on various forms of slave labor, including the enslavement of black people, but that is what happened.

    Why? Because you say so? Who made you the emperor of black people?

    I'm sure they're really torn up about that.
     
  13. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Ah, thank you. Usually I can guess due to the autocorrected word being close enough, but that one was not clear to me.
     
  14. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Agreed
    Also agreed.
     
  15. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    You can always tell a German.
    You just can't tell him very much.
     
  16. ruthiesea

    ruthiesea Member

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    To use a racially derogatory word promotes racism. Of course, that also goes for any derogatory term used for any ethnic, religious, or national group.

    I was brought up when such terms were in common usage. However my dad taught me to never use them and I never did. I was also taught to judge people as individuals, not based on some such group.

    It really bothers me when I hear an African American use the “N” word. It is a racially derogatory word no matter who is using it.

    Both science and religion say that we all come from common ancestors. So, there is no excuse for such bigotry.
     
  17. zephcom

    zephcom Well-Known Member

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    Bigotry does not require an excuse.

    Why are you bothered you when Black people use that word?
     
  18. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    ............
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  19. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton Supporter

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    If Eminem won't say it...
     
  20. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    Probably because we've been taught its a dehumanizing racial slur.
     
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