The N word.

It’s been around for years, maybe even a century or two. I remember the first time I heard it was when I was a child living in the small village of Marshallton on the outskirts of West Chester, PA. I don’t know why I hold onto that day, that moment, so vividly. I was about 7 or 8 years old.

I’m fairly sure my Dad didn’t MEAN to use it so harshly, but I didn’t clean my room like I was supposed to one afternoon and he totally shocked me when he spit forth the N word like a dart, just because I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I remember feeling hurt and I had to ask my mother what that word meant as she lowered her eyes and shook her head. I think I even cried a little that day.

Another time a schoolmate of mine used the N word when I “broke up” with her in the sixth grade. We had an elementary relationship really. I wrote her name on MY notebooks with hearts all around it, she wrote mine on hers. I didn’t, however, walk her home or have the balls to kiss her on the playground (I mean it WAS the sixth grade). I ended it one late Spring afternoon, as I totally ignored her when I wanted to play kickball more than sit on the swing set with her. I didn’t think someone that age could be so blunt, so mean as to just throw that N word into my face, into my young world.

We’re all guilty of using the N word at one time or another; mostly in relationships. One never realizes the amount of energy it takes to create a truly solid relationship with tons of trust building and basic respect. However, once the N word starts rearing its ugly head, the partnership is doomed to failure and all that you’re left with is shame and disgust.

This morning, while trying to find one of my favorite ties to wear to work I found one of them on the floor behind my closet door. I questioned Daryl on it’s location and he scoffed at me saying that he had used it for work at his evening job a night or two ago and simply forgot to put it back in it’s proper place. My blood pressure immediately shot up and without thinking, I blurted out the N word at Daryl. I watched in horror as the color drained from his face immediately, as he shot back “How DARE you call me a Nincompoop!”

We haven’t spoken to each other for hours.



Filed under Life...

12 responses to “The N word.

  1. That was probably a difficult post to write, wasn’t it, as the hurt and questions had come back so vividly. I do know how you feel as an Asian American growing up in an all white community in the 60s. Even though they are words–they cut deep and when those vivid memories return, it’s as if it happened just a moment ago.

    • Thank you for reading Terry! As much as I am not in favor of labels, sometimes I realize that it’s because of them that I am who I am today (and that’s not a bad thing really). The older I get, the more I understand that human beings NEED labels to put definition into their own lives and as soon as I accepted that, I learned to just forgive folks and live my life in a way that works for me.
      I checked out your Blog and I LOVE the name of it as well as the outstanding photography and creative writing. Nice gift!!
      Enjoy your day.

  2. Lisa

    You had me going since I wrote a post about the other “N” word a while back. I think everyone should celebrate being a Nincompoop once in a while. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.


  3. I actually never use that word – probably too many syllables to blurt out. Of course, initially I thought you meant the other word. I’ve been having trouble with that as I’m writing about a lady I met as a child. I was 8 at the time. She was 103. She had been born into slavery. I’ve put several things about he on my blog under Sally.
    You have a really nice, fresh looking blog. I like the way you have it all laid out.
    I found you through Lisa’s blog.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting on my Blog. I have been at it for a little over 2 months now and am enjoying looking at other Blogs and sharing all the wonderful writing and photography. Thanks again!

  4. Diana

    You had me going there for a few, cause I knew in my heart you were not talking about the other N word, cause I know you and I know that is not in ya, so I began to wonder what word is he talking about. You had me for a minute. LOL

  5. christine

    I love this one. I remember being called the N word a time or two.

  6. I loved the way you ended this. I have always been sensitive to the N word and it’s on the list of words, the real N word that is, that is not to pass my children’s lips, even in jest. As a real estate agent, it’s a word I won’t tolerate from clients either and I’ve asked a client not to say it and when he didn’t stop I told him we’d have to end the tour if he persisted. I never saw him again, and that was fine with me. Now nincompoop… well, that’s a N word I can live with. Great post!

    Susan Mangigian,
    RE/MAX Preferred

    • Thanks so much Susan, for taking the time to read it!
      I too am sensitive to ANY words of hatred, degradation and bigotry, however I understand that some folks who perhaps aren’t quite as skilled at communication or diversity than most, may not know how else TO express themselves. Do I condone it? Absolutely not.
      My blog entry was planned as a tongue in cheek, “He’s NOT going THERE is he?” sort of make you think sort of piece.
      I got many positive “live” comments on it from people who I see throughout my week. Being in an interracial relationship made it that much more believable that the REAL “N” word could possibly come in to play (NEVER).
      On the serious side… I am SO glad we, as a nation, are at a place where things are racially “better” than say… even 10 years ago, but we still have a long way to go with discrimination of many kinds.
      Thanks again for reading and have a wonderful week!
      Ed Williams

  7. Well bro-out-law, that was awesome. I was about to get upset, fly home and kick you in your “N_ _ _”. In San Antonio its amazing how the “N” word gets thrown around here like its nothing. By all races. Its hurts and its embarrassing when it rolls off of someone’s tongue. I have heard excuses from “my kids are half black”, ” my partner is black”, and “I’m just using it to tell the story”, or “I’m not referring to you” and “well your not really black so I didn’t mean you”. People say the dumbest things and don’t realize how much one stupid word can cut through your heart like a knife. Thanks for the story and I love ya!

    • Well my dear Sis-Out-Law.
      First things first. I MISSSSSSS YOUUUUUU! I would gladly (almost) take a kick in the N___s, if it would get you home for a visit.
      Whew, now that that’s outta the way, thanks for reading my take on that word. I can understand how the great state of Texas can STILL remain somewhat backwards in their use of any derogatory words. Sigh. I personally get very frustrated with the kids today that throw the “Niggah” stuff around like its almost a word of friendship or something. Maybe I’m over sensitive.
      In any case, LOVE you, MISS you and sending you lots of LOVE!

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