The new ‘N’ word

By on February 28, 2002

I was walking to class last week and I overheard a white kid talking to a black kid. I must have overheard the “N” word used about six times between the two of them, and that got me to thinking.
Throughout history, the “N” work has been referred to as the bad word. But recently the “N” word has emerged as just a word, put aside it’s still derogatory. Nowadays, everyone and their mother uses the word.
As I am walking around campus there are white people calling each other it, black people calling white people it, and even white people calling black people it without any hostility or retaliation.
Back in the early 1850’s when slavery was being used in the United States, the “N” word was so derogatory towards black people that some of the slave owners named their slaves it.
For about two hundred years the trend continued until people such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Jackie Robinson (just to name a few), led a revolution and proclaimed the United States an equality, where both people of European decent and African decent could live together as a country in peace.
To approximate, the word came into popularity and everyday use during the advent and experimental stages of “gangsta rap.”
Eazy-E and Dr. Dre of NWA would go back and forth with the word and several other explicits to go along on the side. But even then, the word was still a “dis” word, and it would not be used by people unless they were black and from the hood.
Then gangsta rap grew into hip-hop, where all kinds of styles went at it, in a lyrical, all for one battle of rhymes.
The “N” word has had a lot of meaning since its advent, and gains more and more with age. But thanks to hip-hop the word is getting recognized and respected more and more.
Years ago people were afraid to say it, and music producers were timid to release an album with it used repeatedly, but now the word is used almost as much as computers.
It seems nowadays a hip-hop CD won’t come out unless every song consists of the “N” word at least six times. Sure, there will be your run of the mill, Will Smith’s and Eminem’s but besides that everybody uses the word.
In an interview with MTV in 1999 Dr. Dre said, “Eminem, I feel, has represented the culture well enough to say it, but it’s his choice on whether or not he does.”
Eminem has yet to say the word, but refers to it enough that he might as well of said it.
The whole urban hip-hop culture is responsible for the re-emergence of this word, but can argue that hip-hop can also be responsible for bringing the word back and giving it a good name.
The “N” word is back in full usage and in everyday vocabulary. Sure Malcolm X wouldn’t agree with white people still using it, but I’m sure he’d like to see what he started.


About Bruce Wallace