Seems like Gwenyth Paltrow has gone and gotten herself into some trouble.
When celebrity blogger B. Scott questioned her right to use the n-word, she tweeted: “Hold up. It’s the title of the song!”
Indeed it is Gwenyth, but is it okay for you to use the word?
Music Blogger Billy Johnson says that Paltrow was wrong for using the n-word. He argues that Paltrow was wrong for using the word, but he understands why she felt it was for her to use the word:
Based on Paltrow’s stage photo, she was likely caught up in the “N-ggas In Paris” moment, especially since the show was taking place in France.
He goes on to say that Paltrow is not the only person who is confused about how the word should be used:
But Paltrow isn’t the only person confused about the etiquette for using the N-word. There’s one simple rule. If you are not African American there is no instance for using the word that is not going to be taken offensively. It doesn’t matter if you’re friends with the most prominent African Africans on the planet, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Oprah or President Obama. Don’t. Use. The. Word.
Some would argue that even African Americans shouldn’t use the word.
I argue that we give the word too much power. Music producer The Dream agrees.
What!WE GIVE THE WORD TO MUCH POWER!
Why do I say that?
I can only simply say, because we do. We are in control of our feelings and how we view ourselves, right? No one can make you feel any kind of way; you allow it to happen.
When our kids come home and tell us that someone has called them out of their name, what do we tell them? We say:
Is that who you are? Okay then, let it go.
Next time say to them, sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Do we really mean that? If so, why do we get so up in arms when someone – anyone – uses the N-word?
I understand the historical perspective on the use of the word and I understand that when used in the wrong context – no matter what race the person is that says it – it can hurt. But so can other others like b-tch, hefer, dyke, tramp … right? These words too are often used as terms of endearment (at least in my twisted circle of friends).
When we make a big deal out of things like this we give words more power than they should have. The real lesson is for us to chose our words carefully and make sure that we aren’t using words to hurt. Yes, words have power … but they only hold the power that we give them.
Other My Viewpoint articles: