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Is it ever okay for white people to use the N-word? In a word, no

Kendrick Lamar recently pulled up a fan on it.

SHORT ANSWER ON a postcard…No.

Source: Paramount Pictures

A debate about the use of the N-word has reared its head in recent days because of an incident at a Kendrick Lamar concert in Alabama over the weekend.

The rapper invited people on stage to sing with him. The third time, he pulled a white woman called Delaney (what is with Americans and calling their kids Irish surnames?) up with him to sing M.A.A.D City.

At the beginning, it was all hunky-dory. Delaney did not sing the N word the first time that it came up in the verse. However, every time it came up after that she repeatedly sang it.

With a lot of emphasis.

As the crowd began to boo her, Kendrick interrupted the song, and said to Delaney

Wait wait wait wait wait wait….

Delaney began digging her hole a bit bigger, saying:

Am I not cool enough for you? What’s up?

The crowd gasped and booed. Kendrick can be seen in the video scratching his head, as he ponders what to say. There is a palatable sense of angry unease in the crowd as they wait to see what’s going to unfold.

Delaney continues digging.

Wassup? Am I not cool enough for you, bro.

Dear God, Delaney, throw away the shovel

Kendrick eventually says

You gotta bleep one single word, though.

Immediately Delaney responds with:

Oh I’m sorry, did I do it?

Kendrick accepted her apology, and asked the crowd should she be kept up on stage and let her have another go of the song with him.

The interaction has divided the internet.

Tweet by @J Source: J/Twitter

In February, I went to see Kendrick Lamar play at the 3 Arena.

I have to say, I felt shockingly uncomfortable when thousands of white people were aggressively singing the N-word back at Kendrick.

Maybe Irish people, because we don’t have a history of slavery in this country, aren’t aware of the power of the word. But as we become more multi-cultural and as we begin to have more emigrants come into the country, we have to become aware of others’ histories.

The word was used as a derogatory racial slur against African-Americans who were enslaved. In recent years, they have taken the word back and used it in their songs and in every day language.

Source: @loveeeLoren/twitter.com

So, if you’re white, the word is not okay to use. Ever. Even in a song.

London Grime artist Yizzy recently said:

Every person can say what they want, there’s freedom of speech, but you have a responsibility. If you use the word… and you’re not of any black heritage, in this modern day world, be prepared to face a backlash.

Before the concert, I had said to my boyfriend that he should replace the N-word with something else. I came up with ‘Nancy’ as alternative. It’s stupid, but it’s a two-syllable word that fits into the song.

At home, in your house, you may think, what’s the harm. But with the internet being the keeper of all receipts, you wouldn’t want to risk a drunken recording of a karaoke coming back to haunt.

You don’t want to be the Irish Delaney. Throw away the shovel and throw away the word.

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