The Power of Words – My Response to “The N Word” Epidemic

WORDS HAVE POWERAmanda Evans

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to RozieLand! The video above features an illustration known as “Dr Masuru Emoto’s Rice Consciousness Experiment”. I definitely recommend trying it yourself (I may publish a video of my experience). I suppose you might now be wondering, what does this have to do with traveling? Well, it has everything to do with the words that travel out of your mouth and its effect. Today’s entry is a little different than any I’ve made thus far. I am going to need the help of quite a few YouTubers to convey a unified message. I cannot do this alone because this post is about something that influences us all. The power of words; with focus on the n-word. I know this subject makes a lot of people feel quite uncomfortable and maybe that is one of many reasons why that word should become disposable. What inspired this lengthy post? A very popular YouTuber named Tana Mongeau.

On January 24th, Mongeau uploaded a video titled “The N Word” (click here to watch the video). In this video she discussed an encounter with another popular YouTuber (Jdubbbz) who said the n-word as they both posed for a picture after one of her live shows. She explained her shock and admitted to feeling uncomfortable after hearing it. I am not one to judge her negative reaction to this word and how it made her feel. I don’t know if what she feels is legit or not and I don’t think telling Idubbbz to kill himself is the correct response, but the real message to her video remains the subject of discussion.

She risked her views, her subscribers, her ratings and her reputation to convey this important message. I know very little about Tana Mongeau. I’m not subscribed to her channel and I’ve only viewed this particular video. I am also aware that despite her message, she has had a history of saying the n-word quite a bit with aggressive tone. To many, that factor makes her message valid. However this issue isn’t about Mongeau’s personal choices of the past. This is about the usage of the n-word (or any desecration for that matter) and how the once racist term has now become a trending word amongst all races. I find it very strange that many who criticize her are also guilty of repeatedly throwing around the slur themselves. Are they better than her in this instance? In my opinion the n-word is NEVER okay for ANYONE to use, not even black people. Why? In order to attempt to explain my argument I will have to break down several common inquiries I’ve heard from YouTube video makers and commenters themselves.

I know about Idubbbz as much as I do about Mongeau. Not much. I don’t watch their content. After doing a little research, I’ve learned that Idubbbz has a habit of using many slurs. Surprisingly, many viewers (fans perhaps) defend his language choices, claiming that it is only a joke. They claim words have whatever meaning you want to give them. That is only partially true and it is definitely dismissing any opportunity for debate. Calling slurs a joke gives the excuse and freedom to say whatever you like without even thinking. I call that reckless speech. Let us analyze this word thoroughly (and the power you have when you speak), beginning with a little video I’ve made myself.

I recorded this video quite some time ago whilst in Amsterdam. Although I adore this city and made a video about beautiful things to discover there, I’d also had a racist encounter out of nowhere in which a Dutch man called me the n-word (with a hard “r”) while I was out exploring. Of course I didn’t include this in my Amsterdam video because racism is not what that city is about. One or a few minority racists in a pool of people who aren’t does not represent the mass majority. I originally didn’t want to release this video because I didn’t want to discourage others who are black from visiting this charming place. Mongeau’s video (and others) inspired me to speak out about this matter, as its exposure and usage seems to have gotten way out of hand. I’ve simply decided to speak up.

After publishing my most recent video, I searched for response videos regarding this situation. I found many. I watched them all without any harsh judgement but I left a comments about my opinion. The first video I commented on was made by YouTuber SecondClancy titled “Tana Mongeau Can’t Handle a Goof”. Below you will find a screenshot of my comment where I address Clancy and his ultimate response. Have a look:

Take note that SecondClancy made a video attempting to prove that the n-word is “just a word” that can have any meaning. Initially, I desired to know if all words are under that same sort of context, let alone one with a fixed implementation (450+ years strong). Is it possible to instantaneously change the meaning of a word into something completely opposite? For example, can “car” suddenly mean something other than an actual car? Can it mean “house” mainstream if we all begin to use in that context? How long would we have to use “car” in that context in order to erase its original meaning? I personally believe it would cause confusion when communicating (especially at first, and onward for a long time), as most of us know the word best as its longstanding definition. Lets face it. A car is a car, not a house. Maybe some people will start using the word “car” to refer to a house, but most of us will think “car” first and foremost.

The n-word has an extremely long standing history of racial baggage. Some black people have tried to recycle it to change it into something positive within that race. I understand that cultural mindset, even though I do not support it. I don’t believe in using the n-word to describe someone. When I hear it, I think of all the people who were enslaved for hundreds upon hundreds of years. It does not hurt me personally because I am not a slave. I never was slave. I have no personal experience with the traumatic events that took place during slavery or the civil rights era. I choose not say this word out of respect for those people who did not have rights or a voice and were treated with disturbing cruelty all their lives (for many generations). But I don’t have to experience it to feel empathy and show respect. Most people (of all races) understand where this slur derives from, even when they do not acknowledge it. Its tragic meaning overshadows the newer, “buddy” definition that people claim it now represents.

SecondClancy never attempted to truly discuss this with me. He responded coy as if he did not know what I was referring to, even though within his video description he writes “so recently a YouTube vlogger by the name of Tana Mongeau uploaded a video entitled “The N Word”…”. Within his video he says the n-word with an “er” repeatedly. He wasn’t able to respond adequately within his own comment section so I quickly gave up on him. His response showed me how aware he is of the controversy surrounding its meaning. He says in his video that the n-word “carries a lot of bad baggage”, and that’s why its use is so controversial. Up until recently it was something people didn’t say so openly because of its long historical negative connotation.

SecondClancy had already given the answer I’d waited for (and I didn’t wait long). I am writing this article because I want people to see that it is not a friendly term and will never be. It is still very racist. Calling people this word today is offensive and shows zero respect to the history of those who suffered in this country. There is no acknowledgement or empathy for the people of the past who contributed in building this country into what it is today.

Take look at first screenshot again and the one just below. There’s a user by the name of PixelatedBandit (a kid who hides behind his computer screen spreading hate towards strangers without reason), who comes out of nowhere and begins to use the n-word in a racist fashion. You tell me if he wrote this to say “friend” or “homie”. This person is just a child, so please take a moment to think about the fact that the slur lives on in the hearts of the young. Was SecondClancy able to talk to me as a “friend” or “homie” about this? Was he even able to say it to me at all? If it’s just a word, why not? Because he knows better. These people are saying it with ignorance and/or in hate. You will see more of this in the screenshots I’ve posted below:

Some people came to my defense but never once did SecondClancy comment on this blatant racism even though his video tells us the word isn’t racist. He didn’t say one thing to those in the comment section using the word as a racial slur towards me. He felt it was funnier to respond to me repeatedly with a clueless mannerism. What’s even more interesting is the thumbs up PixelatedBandit’s comment got, which confirms there more people out there who do not use it as a friendly term to call someone. Can you tell me why that is, SecondClancy? This is why I left the comment in the first place. You said it was just a word (as you repeated the n-word over and over). What can you say about some of these comments that are not kind, but racist? I know you will not respond. Just play dumb as you’ve done so far despite the subject and point of your video post. Your video message is pointless. Why did you really make a video about this? Forget having using your platform to promote an actual message. You’ve gotten plenty of views and that’s what matters most here, right? The racist comments continue on (I’m sure of it) but I have muted that comment thread, as I’d gotten the information I was after.

WORDS HAVE POWERLencha Sanchez

I took an extensive amount of time to visit the videos of many YouTubers, deciding to comment. I wanted access that would provide me with first-hand interactions and feedback with people discussing this subject. Effortlessly, people responded, even if it the response lacked gumption. Here’s another screenshot from thread I started on another video (not going to post the link because it is irrelevant). Also, please don’t spread hate to individuals like this. It is pointless and makes you no better. Let them have all that hate on their own:

I commented on these videos to show my readers that the n-word has NOT evolved. A word that’s been used to express so much hate cannot suddenly become a friendly one. Clearly it’s still used as a racial slur to show resentment. If we keep that word alive (ANY of us), trying to transform it into something “good”, the racist connotation will also continue to be used. Why are people trying to make such a terrible word with 450+ years of racist baggage “good”? Why not come up with a new word? It’s clear that there are a lot of people out there making videos about this word pretending that they support equality and are friendly when in reality they are not. Others are just following the trend train because it “sounds cool” or because they heard it in some rap song or because “everyone else is saying it” or because there are some black people who say it (I will address the last point shortly).

Below you will find yet another thread I created in the comment section of TheCraftyRabbit’s YouTube video (here), which also addresses this subject. She has a really cute channel and I recommend you visit her page (as she doesn’t usually address these types of issues). I appreciate everyone commenting, even if it is a racist one. TheCraftyRabbit helped shed light on the thought process of some of the previous comments I’ve read without using racist slurs. She helped me further understand why people of other races think the n-word is okay to say. But the first thing I realized about her video commentary is how she focused way too much on Tana Mongeau’s character than the message about the word of disscussion. How does the fact that Mongeau used the word herself in a racist manner excuse its overall racist use? How does that factor support the argument that it is okay to the n-word? There a lot of people possibly making a video on this subject merely to get views, or so it seems.

Below, you will see TheCraftyRabbit bring up the age old excuse: because black people use this term, why can’t everyone else? Let’s dig a little deeper into that, shall we (and we will keep digger as this article progresses)? As I’ve said already, some black people do in fact use the n-word. The age of the individual doesn’t matter and it doesn’t create a excuse for non-black people to say the n-word. Idubbbz said the n-word with an “er”, like the users in my comment threads. I have never ever heard a black person call another black person the n-word with an “er”. Ever. There is a real understanding about that between all black people (those who use it and those who don’t). In a very small way, it has a different meaning. The n-word with an “er” is a clear racist slur. The n-word ending with an “a” is still a slur (made by black people) and I can guarantee there are more black people who don’t say it (nor want to be called it) than there are who do. Her statement is based on the few black people (in comparison to the entire nation’s population of black people) she has heard say it. Perhaps also, her statement is based on media exposure of the word (i.e. rap songs or in movies). But there is a big difference between media promoted stereotypes (those who follow them) and the everyday black person living in the United States. I think that can be said for any minority represented in mainstream media.

Not logged in, I took screenshots of our conversation and I noticed quite a bit of it was missing publically. I won’t say that TheCraftyRabbit is behind my hidden comments to the public (I don’t know that) but this is what our conversation looks like to everyone else.

The remainder of the full conversation is posted below but those watching her video will not be able to see the remainder of our interaction (for reasons I can’t confirm). Let’s take a look at what else was said in that thread:

She, like so many others I’ve interacted with in comment threads repeatedly addressed the fact that some black people use the n-word toward each other. Because some black people do this, non black commenters believe they should have that right too (otherwise it’s a double standard). I’m afraid it is not that simple and that doesn’t create an excuse to say it. It is hurting people. Seeing already in the screenshots I’ve shown, the n-word remains a racist slur.

Some many things to address here in her comment. Black American are not African American (a very common misconception), but we will get to that part later. Let’s first talk more about the fact that some black people say the n-word (once again). There are so many black people who do not tolerate that word being used around them (I am one of them) but this means nothing to some people. Because some black people say it, it’s okay to offend other black people who don’t? The n-word is mostly known as a racial slur to this day. That has never gone away. It makes sense why people are offended by it. Does that way of thinking work for all racial slurs and insults tagged to other races? As long as some people in the Asian/Hispanic/White race uses a slur, all human beings should say it? Why do some non black people want to say this word so bad? To mask open prejudice? Is it that many of these non-black people who say it lack understanding of the word? Just like those who use it as a racial slur, black people who disown the n-word have no control over what others say. We can only voice our message that we don’t tolerate it and why. That is what I am doing here. Check out BucketHeadNation’s opinion on the n-word. Let’s shed some light on what black people really think. We don’t all use that word. As I’ve said, I personally don’t know any black people (aside from two) who do. So many of us are offended:

BucketHeadNation

TheCraftyRabbit claims that it’s “African Americans” who use this word the most. I can’t say that is true as of current times. I would need to see the statistics tracking its use presently. She isn’t able to provide this to me, despite her claims. As someone who is black, I don’t know any black person who uses it (aside from two, which doesn’t make a strong argument against the hundreds of black people I’ve known). I don’t hear this word everyday. I rarely heard it said aside from very recent times (online). As of late, I have heard/read it mostly from non black people (Mongeau and Idubbbz aren’t black, neither were the users who responded in my comment thread). No black person as ever called me that slur (online or in person). She seems to think that because she hears some black people use it, it’s okay for anyone despite the fact that there are many black people who don’t tolerate it at all. It offends us for very logically and historical reasons. Without any experience or proof, what she claims doesn’t make much sense. It is only an opinion of someone looking in from the outside. The fact is, however, saying the n-word is hurting people. Not everyone is able to express that like I am doing here. We know that we cannot stop people from using it. But it still hurts a lot of people to hear it, let alone be called it. Why is that factor not important enough? Just below, YouTuber Beautiful Brown Baby Doll discusses her opinion about this issue after being called the n-word:

BeautifulBrwnBabyDolTV

“Why do [some] black people say this word if it’s so hurtful”? This question is constantly asked in videos and comment threads. Maybe if I try to explain this more in depth, it will help others on the outside who ask this question understand things better. So I’m digging even deeper. The black people who say this term do so because it has a hurtful past. Around the 1970’s, a “black is beautiful” movement began. The children and grandchildren of slaves and those persecuted during their struggle for civil rights sought to gain a positive view of their race. Roles in movies began to change (media exposure), self love in their most natural physical state emerged and hateful words that once castrated so many were partially “transformed” (within the black race). The idea was to lessen the pain that stemmed from how that word was used to enslave and degrade black people for hundreds of years. A white person (or asian etc) using the word will never have the same connotation, even if they do not mean it hatefully. This word is said between some black people mutually with a sense of respect. I have never seen/heard/read a comment from a black person addressing another black person using the “N word” with an “er” (but I personally don’t tolerate that word even with an “a”).

The intent of some black people recycling the word stemmed from a desire to take the word back (especially in the United States), to destroy its hateful use (especially when used coming out of a racist’s mouth). They wanted to reclaim it as something they now own to blanket its racist tone. I understand what some black people attempted to do, even if I don’t believe in it. There were/are so many black people from that time til now that do not see it as a term of endearment because we know that the n-word will always be a racist slur first and it is still in 2017. I’d like to share this article: “The “N-Word” and the Psychology of Black Oppression” written by Professor Gershom Williams. I really hope this reaches someone out there who reads this.

I also hope there will come a time when no one says this word anymore (not even black people). It’s not constructive or progressive. It promotes hate and ignorance (consciously and unconsciously). Those few black people using the word always leave the door open for others to use it, racially or not. TheCraftyRabbit clearly discusses a topic she knows very little about. Black Americans are the same as “African Americans” to her (she said it, not me). This comment helped me understand her mindset more. She claims that “articles” (which ones? She didn’t provide any links) have convinced her that black American culture is basically the same as “African cultures” (keep in mind that this includes an entire continent of African cultures).

Let’s not forget differences in history and dna make up over time. Africa is extremely diverse in black ethnicities, cultures and in race. What about the African Americans that are white? By her logic, are they my ancestors too? Someone who is white, born and raised in Africa who moves to the United States is more African American than someone like me could ever be. I have never been to Africa (most black Americans and their predecessors have not set foot there either and have zero knowledge of African cultures). I am aware that a lot of non-black people don’t fully understand that there are different types of black people. We are constantly mislabeled and thrown together in a single group. In reality, however, the black race is very diverse. What black people globally have in common has less to do with culture or nationality, and more to do with our overall collected distaste of the n-word. Here is a link to The Guardian, which exposes the experiences of black Britons and their opinions concerning the n-word (The N Word, Black Britons Speak). If you truly wish to understand this word, you must do your research (as you should with any topic). Read/hear it from the mouths of black people themselves. I commented on YouTuber Olive’s Branch’s video (click here) and read some really informative comments as well. I want to share a thread to help shed light:

Here are two videos created by YouTubers ThinkingAloud and Janice JNice explaining the label “black American”. These videos also help in understanding why this word is important to comprehend in order to even try to fully understand where it comes from and its true meaning. Educate yourselves.

ThinkingAloud

Janice JNice

What TheCraftyRabbit has claimed is similar to claiming Japanese people are the same as Thai people. Or it could be compared to saying Filipino people share the same culture as Korean people. Sorry, that’s not how it works for Asians and it doesn’t work for black people either. Why make a video surrounding a race of people (and a word) when incapable of differentiating their cultures? That in itself possibly prohibits her from understanding the n-word in its true form as well as what some black Americans mean when they say it. Is she holding on to her ignorance based on what the media features (and online “articles”)? These elements are important to consider.



If the n-word is now a “friendly” way to describe your “homies” (as so many claim), what would you label some of the responses in my comment threads? I label it racism. They are calling me the n-word to get a rise out of me, to insult me, to get me to say something hateful back. No thank you. I’ll write an article instead. I don’t’ believe in spreading hate towards ANY person (regardless of race, gender, appearance, etc). I have better things to do with my time. As I’ve stated, I don’t personally feel offended when someone throws that slur my way. However, it’s important to realize not everyone is that thick skinned. I write this article to inform. I write this article to show respect for those who suffered. I feel it’s my duty to speak up. Maybe if more of us did speak out, we could put an end to people using it so casually. It seems like there are so many people who don’t even understand the depths of racism surrounding that word. I think we should consider reviewing our country’s history in order to grasp this.

I would like to share a video about n-word itself and its long standing negative meaning. It might explain things better than I can with my video and article. Please heed the message that I am trying to peacefully convey. If words have power, a word with this kind of historical baggage has detrimental consequences that’s ultimately affecting everyone. It must be put to death or there will always be someone saying it because they can. And I guarantee you many of these people won’t be saying it to refer to you as a “friend” (as you have seen in my personal experience over the past few days).

RomanceSeminar

This article exists to help all people understand that words have meaning and power. Words don’t mean whatever you want them to when someone is conveying a precise sentiment to you. Idubbbz may not have intended to convey hate, but let’s be honest, what he said that caused this uproar was a bit of a crappy move. I believe he intended to get a reaction out of her. Otherwise, why would he film it? Language is first and foremost a method of communication. Words are created to convey our thoughts. Research. Expand your knowledge and vocabulary. As I’ve said in the comment section of SecondClancy’s video, “people out there/readers: words have power and history with that. We should really begin to think about the things we choose to say. Otherwise you are only saying nothing.” Choose your words wisely. You’ll never know who you’ll effect. Such racially charged words like the n-word can lead to something much more threatening in the grand scale of things. Let’s spread respect and not spread old, recycled, hateful words. Say something positive to someone today. Let’s learn to be more open and positive towards each other. Let’s try to understand one another more. Let’s spread more positivity in our speech and actions. Let’s try and remember that we’re all in this together (this thing called life).

WORDS HAVE POWERRyan Goodson

I know this was a long one. Based on the inquiries and responses I’d received, I wanted to be as thorough as possible here. We are all entitled to our opinion but I think it’s important to analyze the facts. I really want to thank all the YouTubers who made this message possible (even the not-so-positive ones). Please pay a visit to their YouTube channels. Their channels vary in themes but are all worth visiting. Thank you so much for reading and for visiting RozieLand. Until next time (I promise you it will be a lighthearted post)!

One Love,
Roz xoxo

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