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Bruce Bialosky

The Word Should Be Banned for All

I have been pondering this subject for a long while. I have had discussions with people which have elicited an array or reactions. There is a word that is banned for use for most every population. Yet, the one population that it would be addressed toward in a derogatory manner uses it regularly. This is the word n_____.

Now that you have gotten over the shock of seeing the word in print, let’s explore why I believe that black people should be banned from using it also.

The motivation for taking this position is that it has become commonplace for blacks to use the word particularly in comic routines. One of my favorite current comedians uses the word frequently. That is Dave Chapelle. Chapelle is a brilliant comedian who banters the word around regularly. In fact, when he hosted SNL people complained because he used the word nigga extensively.

Chris Rock who is another amazingly funny comedian has used the word regularly. In fact, Rock had a conversation with Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K. (two white guys) where they bantered the word around liberally. Rock received significant backlash for that.

Most of the current usage was generated from the emergence of rap in the 1980’s and the frequent use of the word along with a long list of other choice words that should not be used in a public forum.

For the past fifty years or so since what we call people of a certain skin pigmentation changed from Negro to Black and then some wanted to change that to African American, the word n_____ has been banned from not just polite company, but from use anywhere. If you see it referred to it is the N word. I find the use of these phrases juvenile and counterproductive. For example, when people say the C word, a word I never use under any condition. It is just inappropriate on all occasions.

Yet, black people, certainly not all, use the word regularly amongst themselves because of the license given to them by these public figures.
When I was engaging people about the concept of the column, I was often given lectures about not using the word even for discussion purposes. On the other hand, one person provided me a complex matrix where blacks could use the word and sometimes their non-black friends if they were provided license.

You may certainly be aware that multiple university professors have been rebuked for even mentioning the word in an educational context. One Philip Adamo, a professor of history at Augsburg University did not back down from his use in an educational forum particularly since he was quoting from a James Baldwin book when he used it in class. Adamo stated, “I see a distinction between use and mention. To use the word, to inflict pain or harm, is unacceptable. To mention the word, in a discussion of how the word is used, is necessary for honest discourse.”

People quoting one of the great American authors for educational purposes cannot use the word “n_____,” but others can in a casual conversation. That makes no sense.

I suggested to people something that was akin to the use of this word by blacks. I asked would it not be questionable to have Jews addressing each other “Hey, Kike what are you doing?” The word “Kike” is an extremely derogatory term toward Jews. If you heard someone say that you would immediately think the person was a raging anti-Semite. Why in the world would Jews take this as their “name” and start bantering it around in casual conversation and expect others not to use the word? I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams Jerry Seinfeld doing a routine which invoked that word. Why is it alright for black comedians to invoke the word “n_____”?

This is an ugly word that denotes real racism toward black people. Black people deserve better from their own people and likewise the rest of us. The word should be banned for all.