Yes, the “N” word is still bad in 2015

President Barack Obama participates in a podcast with Marc Maron in Los Angeles, Calif., June 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama participates in a podcast with Marc Maron in Los Angeles, Calif., June 19, 2015.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama’s use of the word shocked many, but this was not the first time he used the word. In his book Dreams from my Father, the president used it “about a dozen times”, said the White House deputy press secretary, Eric Schultz. In reality, Obama’s use of the word was shocking because it is something most acting presidents would never say, but also because the weight of it still matters in 2015.

From The Guardian

You can listen to the whole interview on the WTF podcast website.

I don’t really use any form or shape of the word anymore.

I used to when I was younger, as a form of endearment with my friends. If you are listening to rap music, watching hood movies, or even spending time playing certain video games, it is extremely easy to detach yourself from reality and forget about the whole history behind the word.

The entertainment industry commercialised the term, and played on the controversy to sell more. From Chris Rock developing his entire routine around it, to Nas promoting his Untitled album, to Chet Hanks casually using the word with his white friends. Both blacks and whites individuals are responsible from it yes, but that’s quite different from putting the responsibility on “black people” for carrying the word through the years. You can certainly not say that rappers are responsible for the word, but entertainment did play a role in spreading its use, and the mis-understanding.

Globalisation took it to places that do not understand the heavy burden this word carries.

Yet, I cringe every time I am with white people and I hear the word.
It’s like when white people start having these conversations about slavery / war and poverty in Africa/ black crime around me. These are situations that turn you from just being the only black person present in that space and time to the spokesman for blackness. It really does not take that much.

– So what did you think about 12 Years A Slave?
– What did you think about the new Kendrick?
– That kid they found in the suitcase is from Cote d’Ivoire, right? You are from Cote d’Ivoire, right?


Back to the point, out of all the racial issues in the United States today, people getting angry because Obama is speaking frankly about racism and saying nigger is beyond me. Especially when his very point in saying nigger is that racism is still everywhere in America. I really hope that this will start real conversations about race today in the world, and give a real understanding of the significance of the world in 2015.


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