FAQ for White People: When Can I Say The "N Word"?
It has come to the attention of Something Awful that certain white people are very confused about when it is and isn't appropriate to use the "n word." As a service to our readers, we've prepared a comprehensive FAQ with detailed directions for nearly every situation in which the word might be used.
Q: I saw a very good movie called Blazing Saddles, and I'm the sort of person who loves to quote movies in social situations. Does my duty as a hilarious movie quoter require me to quote every line of Blazing Saddles, even those that might feature the "n word"?
A: No, you are not required to quote those lines. We suggest quoting the character Mongo for maximum laughs.
Q: I'm out with my friends and coworkers at my favorite karaoke bar, and the next song in the rotation is a popular hip hop song. Is it OK to shout the "n word" in this context?
A: No. It is particularly not OK if the lyrics don't contain the "n word," or if you're not the one performing the song.
Q: OK, I'm alone this time. I'm singing along to a popular hip hop song on my radio and I'm fairly sure one of the lyrics mentions the "n word." Help, what do I do? The word is coming up quick and I need an answer in like 38 seconds max!
A: You should not say the "n word" in this case.
Q: My boss, a black man, is a casual friend of mine. He often stops by my cubicle to "trash talk" me about the upcoming NFL football game and the quality, or lack thereof, of my fantasy picks. I wish to respond in a way that demonstrates friendly rapport and familiarity with his culture. Can I--
A: You must not.
Q: I read about this thing on the internet called "irony." Supposedly, it allows me to say anything I want, no matter how stupid or insensitive, as long as I claim I'm being "ironic." Nothing else is required. Can I say the "n word" as long as I shriek the word "IRONY" afterward?
A: Ironically, no.
Q: Recently, I heard a comedian named Chris Rock explaining the difference between people of a certain race and the small segment of that race who might be called a certain "n word." I found the routine quite invigorating, and became excited to explain the distinction to my friends and, with any luck, introduce the "n word" into my regular vocabulary.
A: Your friends are not lucky to know you.
Q: I recently scored hundreds of points at the Skee-Ball machine in the Dave N' Busters outside the mall, yet the only item I could afford to purchase with my tickets was a comically gaudy plastic gold chain with a spinning medallion. I am now wearing it and striking poses that people of my upbringing do not normally strike. Can I use language I do not normally use, for the sake of character?
A: This is a perfect opportunity to not only not say the "n word," but to stop everything you're doing.
Q: I don't think it's fair that one group of people can--
A: Stop it.
Q: I'm a white person, and I have a tight-knit circle of friends of all races. We regard each other like brothers, and there's lots of jocular teasing among us. I suspect that one day, one of my friends of another race might level the "n word" at me. Is it OK, in this casual context, to call them the "n word" back?
A: This is one situation in which we can give our most ironclad assurance that you absolutely cannot ever use the "n word."
Q: I'm at a NRA convention and--
A: This is another such situation.
Q: I'm reading aloud to a group of schoolchildren. The book is Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. I come to a passage containing what I can only assume is the "n word." I halt there, unsure of what to do, as the innocent children look up at me expectantly.
A: You should make some older friends.
Q: My username for Windows 8 is the "n word." It was probably poor judgement on my part to make that my username, but what's done is done. My friend is logging on to my computer and asking me what he should type in the box for the username.
A: Saunter over as if to help your friend and then nonchalantly spill a five-gallon bucket of paint on your laptop and say, "oops, I guess we'll never know."