Say NO to the the N-word


Photo credit: Bella Yoakam

By Bella Yoakam, Intern

Progress isn’t possible without discussion. Social issues that our country and the world face are not going to change overnight, but progress can be made one conversation at a time. 

One issue in particular that needs to be addressed that has caused problems with students due to its misuse is the N-word. This word was used to belittle slaves in the 1800s, making it a racial slur that makes Black people in this country feel less than anyone else when called this by any other race than Black, but most notably white people. 

The N-word is beyond harsh and has a deeper meaning that many people don’t understand. When students are uneducated about the word and decide they have the right to say it, it shows their ignorance. When students that know the deeper meaning and choose to say it with the full knowledge that hurts people, it shows their lack of empathy and showcases their disdain for others. 

As a member of the Social Justice League and Diversity Club, I have the resources to ask supervisors and classmates about what the word means to them and why it is hurtful. It’s inappropriate usage was made clear to me after I listened to information and anecdotes provided by my peers. These are conversations that don’t happen enough in schools. Before entering high school, I was never given any information on the word or why it was wrong for a non-Black person to say, I didn’t know that it was bad at all until a Black classmate continuously confronted people about the cruelty of the word. That was back in 7th grade. 

Even after being educated about the N-word, I still don’t know the full effect of it because the word is not used towards me personally. Watching friends flinch in hallways and students from other schools get picked on, hearing someone screaming it at a peer while trying to hurt them, these are the effects that word and the action of others have on Black people everywhere. I know enough that it shouldn’t be said. 

The students that find no wrong in what they said after calling another human the N-word shows their incompetence. Maybe it is not their fault completely, how is a person supposed to learn something is wrong if it is never taught? What is stopping a person from saying something so vile to another person besides a few days of suspension? Schools like ours are definitely advancing and working harder to stop the use of the word while showing more discipline towards the people that say it, but unfortunately there are still lots of injustices happening in school affecting students that need to be stopped immediately, starting with the misuse of the N-word.