How come black people can say the n word?
Why Black People Can Use the N-Word: A Perspective | Word. The Online
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** Why Black People Can Use the N-Word: A Perspective **
October 22, 2010
tags: AAE, African American English, Black English, Chris Tucker, Ebonics,
Jackie Chan, N word, racial slurs, Rush Hour
by African American English
/Written by guest blogger Luvell Anderson/
Why is it okay for African Americans to use the N-word but not others (or
mostly not others)? Isn’t it racist to say that only some people can
use the word while others can’t? Doesn’t this create some unfair
These are some of the questions one often hears in a discussion about the
N-word and permissible use. There are really at least two questions that
should be addressed. First, what is going on linguistically? Uses of the
word by African Americans typically aren’t offensive, so-called
appropriated uses, whereas uses by others (with some exceptions) generally
are offensive. What explains that difference?
The second question involves the morality of those uses: Should African
Americans address each other with the N-word? To be clear, we are
focusing here on a narrow part of the phenomena, namely, those camaraderie
uses of the word. As was pointed out in an earlier post, the word has
varied shades and uses in the mouth of African Americans, not all of them
positive. In this post I mainly focus on the first question, while saying
a few things briefly about the second at the end.
That African Americans
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