Q: I frequent a web community called Reddit, and we often discuss the unfairness of--
A: Absolutely not.
Q: I am the parent of a young son. I catch him experimenting with what I suspect might be the "n word." I try to tell him not to say it, but he can't figure out which word I'm referring to unless I say it myself. Should I say the "n word" to my child, just to clarify?
A: Your child sounds both racist and dim-witted. You should focus your efforts on your next oldest child, because this one is ruined.
Q: My next oldest child is hanging out with the "wrong crowd" in school. He's taking up bad habits such as cursing, sexting, sassing, sidestepping, parlor tricks, salt-manipulation, and art appreciation. Should I worry that he'll pick up this "n word" from his friends?
A: Not if you pull him out of school and home-school him in an "n word free" environment. Wait, that sounded wrong.
Q: While composing this question to you, the "n word" appeared in my mind and I thought about it. I tried not to, but I just couldn't help myself. Is there some sort of soul cleansing routine I can adopt to purge myself of this mortal error?
A: Please see this article for an appropriate ritual.
Q: I'm walking home after midnight. A masked man approaches me, hands me a small card and orders me to read it aloud. He may have a gun. On the card is printed what I understand to be the "n word."
A: This is a very old scam, dating back thousands of years. You are NOT supposed to say the "n word," or you'll be quickly fleeced of your hard-earned sawbucks.
Q: I often make YouTube videos in which I play a ukulele and do ironic covers of popular hip hop songs. Since I'm both being ironic AND quoting/celebrating hip hop culture, is it permissible for me to use the "n word"?
A: Set yourself on fire.
Q: I am alone in the forest. There isn't another human being for miles around. In fact, I haven't even seen any birds or animals for days. I have no company but myself, and I become curious as to how the word would feel in my mouth. I'd love to say it just once, where nobody can possibly hear me, just to see what it's like.
A: What if you like it? Do you really want to get in the habit of whispering bad words to the forest?
Q: I was yawning the other day when a sociopathic ventriloquist approached and said the "n word" while my mouth was open, making it appear as if I said the word myself! Needless to say, I was aghast and horrified, profusely apologizing to all those who surrounded me in the coven. Was I in the wrong here?
A: You shouldn't have been yawning anything that looked like the "n word."
Q: I've made it to the grueling final round. Only one person stands between me and the ultimate prize: the gold medal, the reverence of a nation, and the respect I deserve. Now I must conquer my demons and do whatever it takes to win the "National Saying The N-Word World Championship" once and for all.
A: This athletic struggle is your own. We can't tell you what to do, but we recommend not saying the "n word."
Q: I have been visited by The Wishmaster. He leers at me, his steely gaze penetrating my soul. "WHAT IS YOUR WISH?" he demands, slicing through my bravado with his devious smile. "I wish to be rich!" I reply. He stares at me and nods his head. "Wish granted." You are now rich, but whenever you open your mouth, the only word you can say is the "n word."
A: It sounds as if you got the better end of this deal, so you should let bygones be bygones. If you say the "n word" ONCE, to the Wishmaster, in a fit of pique, the world may forgive you.
Q: But seriously, isn't it a blatant double standard that--
Q: I was raised as a Platonic allegory; I live in a cave, illuminated by candlelight, and I know my own form only as flickering shadows on the wall. I have no idea what my own race is, nor do I have any concept of race. In fact, I have no language. As I vocalize random utterances, am I allowed to, purely by coincidence, say the "n word"?
A: You'd better not risk it.
Q: Even ironically?
Q: It is the year 20XX. The human race has been almost entirely wiped out by an alien virus which decimates the base DNA structure, causing irreparable damage at a cellular level. My black boss begins teasing me about my NFL fantasy picks many decades earlier--
A: Still no.
Q: Out of curiosity, what is the "n word" anyway?
A: Nice try, but you can't trick us that easily. We won't print it here, but we'll link to it in case you're genuinely curious.
We hope this article, the fourteenth in our series about which letter-words should not be said, has been helpful and informative. Next week, we'll be tackling the "o-word."
The Remains of Bidet (James Ivory, 1993)
We might find we have more in common than we think if we just stop fighting long enough to combine our bodies into a singular organism.
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