Taken out of Context

Billy - Little Rock, Arkansas
Entered on September 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Many years ago we (African Americans) were referred to as “niggers” by white people and till this day we still are. But it’s not only by white people; it’s by black people to. What’s with that? That word is a word that was used to degrade black people but now it has become a word that is used to meet and greet by African Americans. Getting mad at the use of that word by whites is so unnecessary for blacks depending on the context, if we (African Americans) can use it then what’s the big deal about white people using it. Wow, the world is full of hypocrites.

I listen to music everyday and everyday I hear the word “nigger” or the way they use it is “nigga.” Some people think using the “n” word in songs makes them better…or do they? It’s really a mistake because some white people like to listen to rap music just as much as black people and they like to sing along to. They might say the “n” word while doing so, but it’s something wrong with that, Right? But when an African American sings along and says that word its okay. So basically rap music encourages people to use the word “nigger/nigga. Well I believe that we (African Americans) can not get mad when a white person says the “N” word unless taken out of context.

Almost everyday in high school someone would speak to me by saying “what s up nigga,” or “what it do nigga” and at first it would not bother me. But my senior year I took an African American History class and it changed my whole perspective on that word. After being in that class for two days I started asking people not to use that word around me, but I really couldn’t get mad because I have slipped and used the word myself. I would explain to them why I don’t want them using that word and they would be like “whatever dude” or “okay” sarcastically. After everything is all said and done I would also ask them what kind of pleasure they get out of using that word… They can never give me a good explanation; they always say “I don’t know” or “because I want to. And every time I would tell he/she to take Coach Hardiman for African American History and then they would think twice about using the word “nigger/nigga.”

Society has changed the word from nigger to nigga. This word can mean the same as friend, homie, or even pal. I’m not justifying the use of the “N” word by white people but what if that’s the way they want to refer to there friends?

Basically we have let that word become apart of the slang that many people use today. Are we finally saying its okay?