« This Could Be A Rant From A Custy... Or A Retail Slave | Main | Persuasive Stairlift Advertising »



I've actually had questions about this and this is actually something that has been acknowledged. And it's seems to be a pretty legitimate explanation, because of the history of the word, because of how white people have used it as a horrible term. Anyway, it really depends on the person.

Oblivious Hoodie

I vote you just view this as an "in joke insult." The sort where two friends might constantly call each other "Asshole" and laugh about it, but they view you with hostility if you join in since you aren't part of their group. It doesn't mean "asshole" isn't an insulting word. It just changes intentions due to the source.

The Last Archimedean

O.H., the difference is that "asshole" is a generic insult, not a racially charged term. If someone calls me an asshole, I'll give them a quick glare and move on. If someone calls me a mick, I'll go off on them.


It's a weird cultural thing in my opinion. I'm white, and have friends of different races (I swear with one group of friends that we look like high schoolers playing "model UN"). I have a black friend that I've been close to for a while, and she told me it would be perfectly fine if I called her that word.
"Um, no?"
She probably thought that, because we were close, it would be used as a term of endearment, but even if I was okay with that, where exactly would I use that term where I wouldn't get evil stares or a talking-to by others?
No, thank you. Your parents gave you a name, and it's a lovely one. Think I'll use that instead.


I've had people use that word in front of me, usually in a mall or some such place, and have asked them to stop as I find it offensive, and offensive language point blank shouldn't be tolerated, no matter who's saying it, in my opinion.

Queer Geek

Slurs, colloquial language, and derogatory slang have progressed to the point that certain cultures, religions, and groups are using it to remove the power of the negativity of that word. What you find is that certain individuals will use that slur within their own community and make it acceptable as an inside joke such as the African American gentlemen who spout the N-word in your post.

However the danger in doing that is that soon the word becomes mainstream and other groups outside of the community will think it's okay to use the slur. Take hip hop artists, rap songs, and urban media, the N-word is spouted repeatedly and makes it seem okay for it to be used.

Not everyone agrees. Other African Americans still find it repulsive but then again it becomes a question of education versus social community in regards to what is an acceptable word and what is not.

I'm gay and members of the GLBT community and even friends thinks it's okay to say the f-slur. Personally, I hate the word in general but then again I'm a hypocrite and I sometimes say the word bitch not as a derogatory term but as some bizarre humorous term of endearment (i.e. Come on bitch! Break out that credit card! We got some retail therapy to do!).

Is it un-PC? Of course. Is it wrong? It depends on the what is acceptable and not acceptable to certain parties. Again, it depends on the context and on person who uses the remark. Always be aware of who you're going to offend and what the consquences might lead to.


Yeah that's just... sort of understood here. Black people can use the word nigger, and white people (at least) can't. The only exception is if you happen to be friends with a black person, sometimes you can get away with saying nigger around that black person. I don't know of any other words like that. Like, white people don't call each other cracker all the time. One of those weird things.

Personally I find it really amusing when black people refer to their small children as "this nigger". Not sure what it is but it makes me giggle.


Here in the midwest, we actually do call each other cracker quite regularly. I also get called the gyp because I'm of Romani descent, and I've been called a blarney kisser because I'm also of Irish descent. Not really offended by either because I was taught that the names you're called reflect on the caller, not myself.

Also, am I the only one reliving the Porch Monkey scenes from Clerks II?


an_on no you aren't also thought of the episode of the Cleavland show when they went to new york and Cleavland had to save his neighbor with the "If he has one black friend he gets a pass," line. The funny thing was my roommate at the time turned and looked at me and jokingly asked, "Well since I know you, Courtney and Toby, do I get three passes?"

This whole thing made me laugh a little only because I have never heard anyone black using the N bomb as anything but as a negative. Nigga is one thing, that's our bastardization of the word, but just casually calling one another the proper word? No.

Even my own Jewish friend who I trade offensive barbs at only calls me her Nigga.

my take on it is, if you are comfortable doing that with your friends, FINE, but don't do it in public. Not everyone, regardless of color is going to be ok with that.


My stance on the issue goes like this:
As a speaker of English, I have a right to every word in the English language and any word that it takes on.
As a part of civil society, I also have the obligation to be respectful and prudent in my diction, and handle loaded words, such as nigger, with utmost respect and care. In linguistics terms, I have to be cognizant of the perlocutionary force an utterance will unleash.
So while I would never use the word as laxly as those gentlemen at the checkout line, there are circumstances where use of such highly-charged terms are not only beyond reproach, but nearly obligatory.

For instance, I find it highly offensive when black students who do well in school are said to be "acting white". To me, that kind of thinking is perfectly in line with the beliefs of the KKK and other white supremacists, because it implies that intelligence, diligence, ambition, etc. are the exclusive domain of white folk. The hell Rosa Parks sat in the front of the bus for this shit. The hell Dr. King marched on Selma for this to be the future of Black America. In a perfect world, I would be able to meet such internalized racism with a brutally pointed "So by your line of thinking, it is the future of black kids to grow up to be stupid niggers? Here's your white sheet, now get going."


If you are in a group that has a history of oppression, and you want to reclaim a slur that's been used against that group, you are able to do so. If you are from the group that has done the oppressing, you cannot.

I don't see how it matters what a white person thinks about black people using that word. It's literally not any of your business.


Words only have the meaning that the people they are directed to give them.

Nigger is no more or less inherently offensive than calling someone "duck", "sweetheart",or anything else.

I'm part Romani, and find "thieving gypsy" jokes horribly offensive when made by others (hell, even the word gypsy is a racist slur), but me and my friends make similar jokes all the time.

If I was to call a random woman walking down the street "sweetheart", regardless of my gender, they would probably be offended. My other half, however, loves to be called that. It's not inherently sexist to call a woman that you don't know sweetheart, just as it's fair to say calling a black person who you don't know "nigger" (not a nigger, there's an important semantic difference there) is racist, it's just disrespectful.
Repeatedly making the same mistake? That's a sign of terrible interpersonal skills at best, and racism/sexism at worst


As others have mentioned, it's a matter of whether or not you're the type of person against whom that term has generally been used, and in what context it's historically been used. "Mick", "Kike", "Nigger", "Gook", etc, have often been used in conjunction with seeking to deny basic liberties, to enslave, or even to attack the groups to whom they're applied. When you're outside those groups, and especially when your skin suggests Anglo heritage, it calls that behavior to mind. The use of the term by someone against whom it's been used is, as AF and QG pointed out, a method of reclaiming it.

Terms like "Cracker" or "Honky", which have generally been applied to white people, don't have the same weight behind them, because there's been no history of oppression against the people they're used to describe.

And as QG pointed out, even within the black community, the group which has most often been known to use their own slur, there is disagreement over its use. There are many who feel that continuing to use it gives it a sheen of acceptability, that rising above it means moving beyond it.

So, while the term has generally been used in a racist context, the two men using it on each other are not using it in a racist manner, but seemingly as a term of endearment, and it's really up to them whether they wish to continue doing so.


The reason that it's okay for people of a minority to call themselves slurs is that the word has been used against them to insult them and it was not their word or their choice.

So, by using it themselves they are "re-claiming" the word for their own purposes and saying "No! I refuse to accept the deregatory meaning others have attached to this word, I shall use it in a positive manner instead".

As you are not a member of the minority group, it would still be offensive for you to use it, but to them it is a way of taking back one of the insults used against them and turing it into something good instead.

Thing of it perhaps as somebody from another town keeps throwing rocks at you. You start keeping those rocks and using it to build a wall to protect yourself and your town. People from that other town can't help build the wall, even if they never threw rocks, because the wall is to prevent them from being able to hurt you and so is something you have to do yourself.


There's really no sense getting offended on behalf of other people, especially if they seem fine with it. I do try to avoid saying things I know to be particularly offensive in public, obviously. But if someone decides to call me a maple-sucking vodka nigger, I'm the one who gets to choose whether I'm offended by it. Having some pseudo-liberal Anglo busybody start going on about their "offensive language" is just patronizing and rude.

The Last Archimedean

I know, Nocturne, but I have a visceral reaction to that word. I hate it and wish it would vanish forever from the English language.

Hellbound Alleee

It's ca;;ed "taking back." It's taking a term used by the oppressor for a long time against your race and using it yourself in defiance of that oppression. Makes sense to me. They didn't have to explain that to you, btw. It was none of your business.


it is either offensive or it isnt. if I cant say it, then no one can. if you can say it then everyone can.


I don't know if anyone has seen the "Boondocks" episode "Return of the King". It's about what would happen if MLK went into a coma instead of dying after being shot.

There's a great scene about MLK opening a case of verbal whoop-ass on all the black people out there to perpetrate the stereotype of a "nigga" and the over use of the word.

I highly recommend watching it.


It's called empowerment disempowerment, basically they take a word that whites used to hurt them and use it themselves to take the hurt of the word away.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Become a Fan