Essay Example Dedicated to the "N" Word

Published: 2022-09-05 18:23:23
Essay Example Dedicated to the "N" Word
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories: Racism Discrimination
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1532 words
13 min read

In the past, the "N" Word was generally used between the white and African Americans. Conversely, the majority of people who use the word rarely understand its meaning and its origin. Many feel entitled to use the word so freely, because of how easily African Americans use it. There is a huge difference between white people saying the "n" word and black people using it. Ice Cube's use of the "N" word is a technique of strengthening the negative connotation of the word, and the word still has a certain level of power despite a decline in racism in the United States. Although racism and discrimination decrease each day, it still happens rarely in a few societies.

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Conversely, individuals decide to shun away from using the word emphasizing a negative connotation. The "N" word is negatively used under silence since people fear they might 'get themselves in trouble' when using it meaning that individuals still have negative thoughts concerning the word. Therefore, this essay discusses why the "n" word should not be a word that is used by others than African Americans.

History of the word

Original Meaning of the Word

The n-word was first used in the year 1775in the form of 'nigger' whereby it was used to insult, offend, and attack black Americans. Whites used the n-word as a weapon towards the black people at school. Derivation of the n-word was from the word Neger derived from a Spanish and Portuguese slave trader's word referred as Negro that means black. The time when the N-word became a slur is not precisely known. Nonetheless, in the nineteenth century, in 1837, Hosea Easton stated that the n-word was regarded as an insult word executed to disrespect the black people as an inferior race. The n-word captures the personal animosity, and long-standing racism focused on the black people.

The pejoration of the n-word into racism offensiveness corresponded with a rise in free black Americans in the 19th century, and the movement for the eradication of slavery. A philosophy established highlighting and intensifying existing racist opinions. As a method of obstructing blacks from economic competition, the N-word became a suitable word for indexing the subhuman features being attributed to blacks through the philosophy. Peterson & Christopher, 2013 describes the ideology as eloquent and hostile racism that omitted the Negro from the community of challenging equivalents without banishing him, through the cruel method of describing African American as less than human.

Slavery and Segregation

According to 1715 records, the slaves started using the n-word immediately after arriving in the western hemisphere when they were adjusting to their new environment and learning English as their second language. The slaveholders outlined slaves as niggers because the slaveholders frequently overheard name from the slaves as they were learning English, it was a suitable and reasonable name to use when referring to themselves. Blacks used the n-word to identify themselves as survivors. Slaves faced separation from their fellow citizens on arrival in the U.S. hence felt a convincing necessity to communicate with other blacks from a different background. To fulfill that aim, they required a common and easily understood word for the group participants of the slaves. Because the slaves varied on their origins, the n-word took an open syllable ending. The black Americans are the most isolated population in the United States and are regarded as the minority. The "N" word has tormented generations of colored people. Regarding the history of the word, the white Americans plantation owners referred to their black slaves the "n" word, and many of the African Americans often get offended when they hear the word. Although the skin color in genetically inherited, in a sociological perspective of white Americans, it is a master status warrant racial discrimination of the black Americans.


Music and Rappers

Adverse Effects of the "N-word" in Music Rap music is a well-known and prevalent genre of music today, with artists such as Drake, Kanye West, and Jay Z consistently appearing on top charts. Much of the music recorded by rap artists features racial slurs, particularly the "N-word," with audiences of all races listening. In fact, Gregory Parks, Ph.D. and race relations author, and Shayne Jones, a sociology professor, conducted a study with a methodological sampling of artists and songs, and they found that 81.3% of black rappers' songs contained the "N-word" (Parks & Jones, 2013). It is clear that there is an extreme prevalence of this racial slur in music, causing a debate on the terms of acceptability of its use. With the U.S Census Bureau citing that African Americans make up more than 13% of the United States' population (Census), and rap being a consistently popular genre of music, the "N-word" debate has resurfaced and become relevant and urgent in today's society. Some contend that the African American community is re-appropriating the "N-word" by changing its meaning to make it a casual term. They believe that this re-appropriation will cleanse the word of its historically derogatory and racial context. However, hearing the "N-word" in rap music is detrimental because many still take offense to the word's awful roots, it promotes racism, it can suggest a bad image of the African American community, and it could cause unwanted effects on society. The "N-word" is deeply rooted in history. Its history demonstrates that the word, especially given its historical context, evokes racism and white superiority, and has been considered extremely offensive throughout history.


Across the media industry, controversy about the N-word does not stop at just rappers. Quentin Tarantino, a white film director from Knoxville, Tennessee, directed the film "Django Unchained," which was one of the most controversial films to date. The film is based in the eightieth-century, and it gives a comic depiction of a former slave that became a bounty hunter on a quest to free his wife from slavery. "Black critics" for its excessive use of the N-word harshly criticized the film, not because the movie did not have good points but simply because the director/writer is a white male. Well known for his 1994 film "Pulp Fiction," the director is no stranger controversy throughout his career for using the N-word, but we should question why his skin color affects the movies he makes. However, the problem was not the film; it was a box office hit. The problem was that the film director was not black, and that was not acceptable (Rollins & Peter, 2003).

Racism and social activism

In the United States, racial inequality experienced in the criminal justice department has been a constant issue with empirical data indicating that more than half of the recent police brutal killings are black Americans and Latino. Racial disparities among the Blacks in America has been rampant with the murder of Martin in Florida 2013, three African American community managers prompted the establishment of an activist movement on Twitter using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. The New York City killings in 2014 expanded the campaign in the social media beyond ethnic police brutal murder and positioned as an ideological and political intervention targeting eradication of racial inequality against the African Americans.

NFL Protests

Throughout the years, unification in America has deteriorated due to factors such as violence and discrimination. Due to this, athletes have protested by kneeling during the national anthem. This form of protest has spurred national attention in a negative manner leading to a more significant division in America. As Americans, we obtain the constitutional right to express ourselves through speech, press, and assembly. However, the form in which a message is conveyed may result in negative feedback rather than support for the cause. Kaepernick, a National Football League quarterback, declined to stand during the national anthem in a demonstration of police brutality and racial oppression (Vera, 2018). Kaepernick expected to gain immediate support for his actions; however, these protests have been particularly divisive.


In conclusion, the "n" word should not be a word that is used by others than African Americans. The "N" word like wrong impressions it discriminates the African Americans and rationalizes their abuse. The word shows a racial hierarchy regarding the historical relationship between the White Americans and Black Americans, which depicted anti-black attitude, and personal hatred and entrenched racism. Think about the real situations at hand in America, like the police brutality on American citizens and the senseless killings. Therefore, when other cultures use the "N" word, it would be prejudice discrimination.

Works Cited

Curry, T. (2014). You Can't Stand the Nigger I See!: Kanye West's Analysis of Anti-Black Death. The Cultural Impact of Kanye West, 127-145. doi:10.1057/9781137395825_9

Parks, G. S. & Jones, S. E. (2013). Victimology, Personality, and Hazing: A Study of Black Greek-Letter Organization. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3004703

Peterson, G., & Christopher, W. (2013). Bestial Traces: Race, Sexuality, Animality: Race, Sexuality, Animality. Fordham University Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0823245208. Retrieved August 18, 2017.

Rollins, M., & Peter C. (2003). The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. Columbia UP. p. 341. ISBN 978-0-231-11222-2.

Vera, A. (2018, September 04). How National Anthem protests took Colin Kaepernick from star QB to unemployment to a bold Nike ad. Retrieved from

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