I pose the title as a question because I legitimately don’t know if they are or not.
I don’t know the rules. Obviously, the hard “er” at the end of the word is extremely offensive and should never be used. The “a” ending, on the contrary, seems to have become cross-culturally accepted. The word is everywhere. I see it all over my Twitter feed, from people of different races, and I can’t recall a single instance where the person using it was condemned. It’s always used in jest from my observation, so does that make it okay?
It’s in every Jay-Z song. He’s black. Drake uses it, too. He’s Jewish. (But might also be part black?) After 20 minutes of research, I can’t find an example of a single mainstream white rapper who uses it, but many of them certainly allow featured black rappers to use it in their songs. Is it only okay for black people to use the word? Are they cool if other races use it? If so, how? When?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. I avoid using the word, because at the end of the day, if a single person is offended by a word he or she deems derogatory against something he or she believes, or who they are, is it wrong to use? I think so, in some capacity, at least. That’s my opinion, though. Some might call it taking political correctness too far. I see it as common decency.
In Georgia, graduating students at South Forsyth High School hung a banner over the side of the school to celebrate the end of their high school era. It read: “Nigga We Made It #2k14.” It’s a line from a Drake song (Drake’s music is great, by the way). The students are white. People aren’t happy.
— amirwaller (@amirwaller) May 14, 2014
In addition to the banner, the phrase was written other places around the school, too. The most prominent place was on windows with shoe polish.
School officials responded, because school officials have to respond in a situation like this one. They released the following statement via MyFoxAtlanta:
“South Forsyth High School Parents: This morning, without our knowledge, students placed a derogatory sign with a verse from a song by Drake on our school as a senior prank. We removed it as soon as it was brought to our attention and deeply apologize for their behavior. This is unacceptable and I promise you that the students will receive the appropriate consequences for their actions.”
The school, I don’t believe, is overreacting. It’s a school. It’s a place where young people go to learn and mature. It’s a place where all are deserving of fair and equal treatment. It’s a place where school officials and teachers are responsible for the wellbeing of their students. School should be a safe haven. School officials took the appropriate course of action. Given the circumstances, this was a stupid decision by these kids. Bottom line.
What about outside of school? Is the word ever acceptable? I’m sincerely asking, because I have no idea.
Image via Twitter