Ta Nehisi Coates argues that there are certain words that belong to certain groups and shouldn’t necessarily be used openly or freely by those that are not associated with that group. One of the references he made was to the n-word and how it is not appropriate for a white person to use it in order to mock or associate themselves with the black community. I agree with this statement as it is a relationship and community that white people have no connection to this, they should not be allowed to use that word. Additionally, it is part of a mentality that certain white people believe they are entitled to what they wish, for example, they are entitled to the use of such a word. In a way, the fact that this word is taboo to those that are not black, it creates a social divide in which black people have the power over white people, contradicting history, and potentially the reason so many racist white people misuse this word.
The comparison of such is not extended to solely race, but many different groups have words that are ‘off-limits’ to those not within the group. For example, Coates mentioned that his wife and her friends refer to each other as ‘bitch’ but that it would not be correct for him to do the same. Historically, derogatory words such as ‘bitch’ were more widely accepted but it is interesting how people cannot grasp that the same avoidance of words such as ‘bitch’ should be extended to the n-word.
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