After I was raped, at sixteen – one of many times, I might add – I went to a friend for support. Knocking on the door I expected to be allowed to see her, only to be told that I was no longer allowed to see her.
As I was walking down the steps, I heard the words “White Power” shouted at my back, and furthermore I was accused of using these words against my rapist. Now, obviously as a black girl these are not words I would ever use, but I will never forget the way it felt to be slapped against the spine with those words directed at me.
I’ve never had anyone have the guts to call me Nigger, except for my former friend John, who felt he had the right to use that word because he was a “gangsta“. A white boy. He was wrong then too, but I didn’t have the courage to stand up to someone everyone told me was incredibly dangerous. They weren’t wrong.
I used the words once, the night I was gang raped, the last time. I will never forget the way his fist felt against my face as he slapped me over and over again. I’ll never forget the way he tossed me into the wall and shoved me down, I’ll never forget the moment I started laughing, in an attempt to make him think I was crazy, right before I called him a pathetic piece of shit nigger.
It was the only time I’ve ever used the word as an insult against anyone, much less a black person. I was just now speaking with my adopted mom, and asked her how she felt about Gina using the word, and her response was simple, “no one should ever use the word. Unless they’re going through what you went through.”
It’s a slave word, meant and designed to make someone who is Black, feel bad about their existence. It was designed to hurt, to cause pain, and to make those who are Black feel as if they don’t have a leg to stand on, because when that word was being used, we didn’t.
I am a Creole Black Woman living in Canada, and only one person has ever had the guts to use the word to my face, and never against me. The assumption was always that I had a stable of big black men out of Detroit that would come and protect me if needed – I am not exaggerating when I say this, I am explaining Canadian Racism.
White people are often confused by the rules, because some people think you should be allowed to use it when singing along to a song, but never in casual conversation. Others think that if you have Black friends it’s acceptable because “they know how you mean it.”
Why don’t we all just stop using it period? There’s an idea. There is a school of thought that says we’ve taken the word back and that we have power in using it because it’s something we’re allowed to use that White people are not, but the thing is…white people are fucking stupid when it comes to this word.
They seem to think that if we use it around them or at all, it somehow gives them permission to use it by osmosis, and no matter how many times we say “no whitey, you can’t use the fucking word,” there’s always that one dipshit fucktard, who uses it anyways just because he or she them or they, have the balls to try to get away with it.
There is another school of thought that states if we erase the word from our dictionary, we erase the reason for it from history. That’s some racist fucking bullshit. It’s a forbidden word because white men used to rape Black women and men for that matter, whilst calling them a nigger the way some of y’all call your women whore during sex, don’t even say you don’t, you do.
It is a word designed to cause pain, and to even those who used it freely in the 90s, have grown to a place of understanding that has taught them that using it now is still unacceptable.
In the case of Gina Rodriguez, it’s even more unacceptable because this is the third time she’s done something offensive and all she’s really managed to do is get people talking about her. Again.
I’m over this culture of using offensive behavior to get people to talk about you because of this idea that if people aren’t talking about you then you don’t matter. Let me be clear, You totally matter and you don’t need to be a racist to matter. You matter because you exist, and I adore you because you are a human, but I don’t adore your behavior because it’s telling me you’re a racist who thinks you can say and do whatever you want, whenever you want, because you’re you.
If that’s what you wanted to hear Gina, I’ve said it and I mean it, but every time you do something racist you apologize and call it a learning experience. How much more do you need to learn before you actually start changing your behavior? What exactly is it going to take?
Yeah more people are paying attention to you now, and frankly I’m starting to think that this is why you keep pulling this shit, so people will pay attention to you and I’m over it. I’m over you.
There are a lot of young girls who look up to you, who don’t know the history of that word, who don’t understand how wrong it is to use in any incarnation who are going to think it’s okay to use, because you used it.
Specifically speaking, a lot of white girls, and if that doesn’t hit home I don’t know what will. Yeah you’re Afro Latina, (or Afro Latinax, I’m not entirely sure which is the appropriate spelling, please educate me..) but that doesn’t give you the right to continue to be offensive to people who are you know…Black, like actual Descendants of African Slaves whose entire lives have been ruled by the power of that word.
Someone asked me last night, if a legacy is destroyed by bad behavior even if the person to which the legacy belongs has spent a life time doing good things. I think that you’re doing this for attention, and I think if you’re the kind of person who builds a legacy by being offensive, to get attention, then yes anything good you’ve done is washed away.
So you can decide, do you want to be known as the woman who brought Carmen Sandiego to life, or do you want to be the woman who continuously attacked Black culture because to me…a person who loved every single episode of Jane like a close friend, that’s all you’re becoming.
Don’t use the fucking word. If I can’t call you Whitey, you can’t use the N word.
Devon J Hall