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. […] 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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