Jul 162013 17 Responses

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean I Should

Just because you can buy an expensive house, doesn’t mean I should buy a mansion.

Just because you can only work 4 days a week, doesn’t mean I should take Mondays off.

Just because you can eat whatever you want without gaining weight, doesn’t mean I should down a bowl of ice cream.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean I should.

Just because I can, doesn’t mean you should.

As I wrote in “It’s Not My Job to Read Your Mind,” just because I can play golf on my wedding anniversary doesn’t mean you should. Most wives would not be pleased by that, but mine doesn’t care. I can, you can’t. In other areas you can, I can’t. That’s life.

Just because my friends can use the N-word, doesn’t mean I should.

I shouldn’t. Ever.

No non-black person should ever use the N-word. Ever. Under any circumstances. Ever.

“I don’t mean it that way,” some say

“But my friends don’t mind,” others protest.

“We live in a different day,” some rationalize.

I don’t care. Just because they say it’s ok, doesn’t mean you should. 

“Why can they say it, but we can’t?” someone asks.

“Because of history and common sense,” I reply.

The N—word is laced with such power, with such history of hate and abuse, with such a stigma, only those who have felt the weight of that burden should have the option to use the word.

If it was up to me, the word would never be used by anyone—ever. Rappers would be banned from singing it. Friends would not throw it back and forth as a greeting. The word would never be used.

But it’s not up to me.

I don’t have a right to tell people who have been the object of that word whether or not they can use it. That’s their choice.

What I can say is: no non-black person should ever use the N-word. Ever. Under any circumstances. Ever.

“That’s not fair,” some say.

“Neither is a couple hundred years of American racism, but we can’t change all of that,” I reply. “We can, however, have some common sense and stop using the word.”

What a person who has been the object of a negative word does with that word is not my business. Someone else can decide that; but as for everyone else, stop using the word.

For my young friends: I know you think it doesn’t matter; I know you don’t mean it that way; I know you have friends who use it; I know some of your friends say they are fine with you using it, but trust me: no non-black person should ever use the N-word. Ever. Under any circumstances. Ever.

And while you are at it, stop using the R-word as well.

17 Responses to Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean I Should
  1. David Reply

    I think by using the phrase “N-word ” you are by implication, in fact, using the word. Is that some type of cryptic language that no one can tie to the offensive word. It is like typing s..t and people not knowing what that is. I find the phrase N-word just as offensive!

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      David, how would you suggest I make my point? I’m open to ideas because I don’t like the phrase either.

      • David Reply

        Kevin, I agree with your statement and understand that it is hard to get a point across just by inference, the point I am trying to make is that we can get too caught up in doing away with one thing that it makes it difficult to say anything ,
        I was involved in the integration of my high school in my home town and went through that era of change. As you stated, if I were put on the stand under oath, I am afraid I wouldn’t pass muster either. I don’t use the word anymore and cringe when I hear it. Does that make me any less guilty? I think not. Christ forgave us of all our sins when we accepted Him, should we expect anything less from people we have wronged?

    • Mavis Wilson Reply

      The N word is what people of color in the 40’s and early 50’s wanted to be called. Many did not use last names. They preferred Negro and their pronunciation was what the N word has been. The N word has never been a derogatory term for me. African/ American indicates that a person likes Africa better than America, if they do, they should go live there. All of my friends Red, yellow, black or white, (or in between) are precious to me. But unless you have run your genealogy and know you are from African Heritage, you should not claim to be African/ American. Africa is a large continent with many races, colors, and creeds living there. Egypt is in Africa, do you want to go there?

  2. Mary Reply

    I liked this article, what’s your opinion on the whole Paula Dean incident?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      My opinion is that it would be interesting if all of us had to, under oath, tell of everything we have done in the past. I doubt anyone would have a show, cookbook, agent, or restaurant.

  3. Wes Reply

    I am a Christian,white,middle income male with a large family. I am discriminated against just as much if not more than minority groups. Minority groups get catered to, while I am forced to pay higher taxes and compete for work so that they can be guaranteed a job and a college education. That is ridiculous. Slavery in America ended a LONG time ago, so let it go. Stop using your ancestors’ past as an excuse. My ancestors were persecuted and run out of their country, but I don’t complain at the Queen of England for it. Don’t expect to hold others to a different standard than you hold yourself to and don’t get offended when people treat you the way you treat yourself.

    That being said, just treat people with respect and defend the weak. Do that and most of these worries are no longer a concern.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Wes, I don’t agree with a thing you said, but thanks for reading.

      • Wes Reply

        Do you have my email address? I would gladly consider an argument against my points. My opinion is base on what I have personally experienced and I do recognize that others do not have the same experiences.

        Also, your refute is a blanket statement. So, are you meaning that you do not agree that we should treat each other with respect and defend the weak?

        • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

          I’ll send an email.

          • Wes

            Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. John Calhoun Reply

    Great post. I am wondering if you would apply the same logic to the R-word in terms of allowing people who have been affected by it to make their own decision whether or not for them to use it themselves while others outside of the affected group should never use it? If not, what sets black people apart from other groups who have been affected by certain words or stigmas?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Yep, Ella can make up her own mind of how she uses the word. Of course, for as long as she is under my roof she won’t use it.

  5. Claudia Reply

    I am not from this country. We do not have the right to bare arms where I come from. How ever… Have we lost the basics of being human decency to one on other?… A man with a GUN kills a youngster unarm and is SELF DEFENSE?… who are we fooling?…
    My question is: if the 17 yr old would have been a blond blue eye… How would the justice sisteme handle it?…
    Ps. I am. From Europe

  6. Wallaby Reply

    The N—word is laced with such power, with such history of hate and abuse, with such a stigma, only those who have felt the weight of that burden should have the option to use the word.

    Slavery in America ended a LONG time ago, so let it go. Stop using your ancestors’ past as an excuse.

    I agree Wes , black people are still riding their ancestors coat tails of slavery and torture . None of them have felt the weight of their ancestors burden . Now im not saying black people are not discriminated against , the majority of all races experience discrimination in the same form as black people do today . Yes even white people (Tattooed up , piercings ect , ect ….) , by the way im not White , i have been reassigned race according to liberal main stream media as White-Hispanic . And come on Kevin get off the fence pick a side , these things you right are fine but the generality of them gets a little old , imo . I know you have a side and i know you think you should stay neutral sounding probably because your a pastor and wanting to establish position maybe in city politics and if you upset the apple cart ( by taking solid stands against things that use to not be the normal but are slowly becoming the normal) Homosexuality , taking God out of this country , People supporting a rouge President , ect ,ect …Now i could have you pegged all wrong , just letting you know how you come off to me (and possibly a lot of others) .Maybe there is a method to your madness . I just tend to get behind or accept things from people that don’t ride the fence . I like the way Jesus put it straight to the point , no wishy washy , and if he put it in a parable , that parable had a decisive meaning to it. And it showed what side Jesus was on.

  7. […] It sounds appealing–let’s forget the past and assume everyone is equal. Yet there is a r... kevinathompson.com/cant-say-racism-thing-past

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