I’m not a huge fan of the n word and while I can’t say I have never used the word, I can most certainly claim that I very infrequently utter that word, and I have never directed it at a specific person of any race. Typically, I’m a Gwyneth Paltrow user of the n word, singing along when my friends are in Paris and they’re going gorillas, but otherwise, I eschew the verbiage.
I’m perfectly comfortable with the original iteration of the n word, which would be negro. That’s simply the Spanish or Italian word for ‘black’ and it offends me in no way. I’m also usually quite delighted to use the word niggardly, which has nothing whatsoever to do with either negro or the n word but shows up people’s illiteracy quite nicely, and I’m a smug bitch sometimes.
But the n word itself leaves me a bit twitchy, and it has nothing to do with how it makes black people feel. The n word is actually quite interesting because it can be used to indicate intimacy and friendship between people of any race. When Jay-Z and Kanye sing about their ni**as in Paris, they could be anyone, of any race, and clearly they are friends even if they are a bit competitive and capitalist. What’s that jacket, Margiela?
I have heard the claim that the n word creates feelings for some people, and these feelings are bad, and bad feelings should never be created therefore the word should be banned and never spoken and the problem of bad feelings will then be cured, and yes, adults really are that simplistic and childish in their thoughts, astonishingly enough. And I admit that there is a certain moral superiority in sniffing haughtily that I do not use the n word because I care about black people, but that would be a lie. Nothing more than virtue signalling bullshit, in the Frankfurtian sense of bullshit.
I do not use the n word because of its power to signal class. Trailer trash uses the n word. Hood rats. Ghetto gashes. Baby mommas with kids named Misty-Lynn and Chardonnay. The n word is the perfect accompaniment to food stamps, nylon hair extensions, missing teeth and a meth habit. I’m hardly to the manor born, but my poverty was of the agricultural kind. My parents were farmers long after the green revolution pressed almost everyone off the land and into the cities. Being dirt poor isn’t the same as trailer trash.
Did Donald Trump use the n word? Meh. I don’t really care. If it was a verbal ploy to create some sort of imagined intimacy with construction workers, I care even less. That’s between Trump and his men.
But if I hear that Melania used the n word?
Melania is far too white and middle class to say such things.
Do you ever wonder if the cultural hysterics over the n word are driven fundamentally by primary school teachers, the overwhelming majority of whom are middle class white ladies? Middle class white ladies are always trying to tell everyone else how to act, how to stand, how to eat, what to wear, what to read, what counts as polite, what constitutes good manners, what words you can use.
Maybe we should #BanWhiteWomen? At least from voting!
Just a thought.
Lots of love,
Indefinitely retired because of threats against her children. Janet has graciously allowed us to republish some of her now vanished articles.