ROLAND S. MARTIN: Blacks Defending The N-Word Are Dead Wrong

by Roland S. Martin
Host and Managing Editor of TV One’s NewsOne Now


I’m sick and tired of black folks coming up with the most asinine, silly, nonsensical, pathetic, grossly unintelligent and shameful defenses of us using the N-word.

Ending in “A” isn’t the same as “ER.” Please, shut up.

Calling the N-word a term of endearment between African-Americans is something we have gotten used to. OK, gotcha. And for years we have gotten used to eating everything fried, but that don’t mean we can ignore the effects on our heart and cholesterol.

I. Am. Sick. Of. This. Nonsense.

At some point its time to grow up and admit that the N-word is corrosive and nothing more than a continuation of white supremacy. This is not a debate. This should not be a lengthy discussion. It’s time to have more self-respect for our ancestors and us and strike the hateful word from our vocabulary.

Did I used to say the N-word? Yes. I heard it growing up around me. But I reached a point more than a decade ago where I realized it was no good and needed to be stricken from my mind.

In fact, anyone using the N-word on my Facebook or Twitter page is barred from doing so, and I will block him or her. Zero tolerance means just that: zero tolerance.

Now the NFL may get in on the issue by proposing to flag any football player for using the N-word on the field. The proposal comes at the behest of John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the group behind forcing the NFL to adopt the “Rooney Rule,” meant to foster opportunities for minority coaches and executives to get hired.

Wooten told “We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room. Secretaries, PR people, whoever, we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.”

Numerous folks have blasted the NFL decision to consider the proposal, saying such a ban targets black players and is unfair because it will be enforced by a league where all of the owners are white.

Richard Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks defensive back, has come out in full force against the proposal, even going as far as calling a potential rule “racist.”

RELATED: Richard Sherman: NFL Ban On N-Word ‘Atrocious Idea’ That Is ‘Almost Racist’

“It’s an atrocious idea,” Sherman told “It’s almost racist to me. It’s weird they’re targeting one specific word. Why wouldn’t all curse words be banned then?”

Seriously, Richard? Just stop.

When Sherman caused a national brouhaha after his post-game interview after the NFC Championship Game, he sat down for an interview on the Fox Sports desk. Could Sherman freely use the N-word there? Nope. Why? Fox has rules against that.

In fact, nearly every workplace has rules that prevent such language. You can’t call women the B-word. You can’t toss around gay slurs, anti-Semitic slurs and any directed at Hispanics.

So because African-Americans have been foolish enough to claim the word in some weird kind of kinship with racists of the past, we should somehow create a different rule? No.

The NFL should expand the declaration against the N-word to include other offensive words as well. And I don’t care if the referee, the league executive or the owner is white and the players are black. If any of them called a player the N-word, they would be up in arms. Well, have the same self-respect towards one another.

How bad is it to call someone brother, homey or any other word? The N-word could easily be replaced, pure and simple.

The other day I said the same thing to a young person on Twitter, who took offense to my objection to the word.

RELATED: JOE MORTON: The N-Word As Sculpture

Joe Morton, the veteran actor who is lighting up the small screen on ABC’s “Scandal,” replied to the both of us with an essay called, “The N’word as Sculpture.” It reads:

“The N’word has been burned into the psyche of black folks in this country not unlike the numbers branded on the bodies of living Jews in concentration camps and its stigma is equally as indelible. If I were a sculptor, I would create a memorial to all those who have suffered form its poisonous and debilitating affects.

“I would construct the word out of deeply scarred and rusted steel to symbolize its onerous antiquity and unfortunate endurance. I would make the letters as tall as the average person to suggest that human beings, not animals, were demeaned by this world. I would overlay the tarnished metal with clumps of thick black paint, let them dry, and pick at them, leaving deep wounds, to emphasize that African culture that was debased, cut away and let to decay.

“I would inlay the ulcerated with hair, segments of human bone, and dogs’ teeth, to recall the outrageous violence with which the protesters, marching under the banner of civil rights, were met. I would take flesh-like fragments of the American flag and embed them in the corners of the word to represent the lacerated tissue of American democracy.

“I would do the ‘it’ with the ‘Eye of Providence,’ as seen on the back of our tone dollar bill — but with a cataract — to remind us that this word, as connected to slavery, and blinded by religion, was all about profit and oppression. I would put at the end of the word an exclamation point made of whips coiled together and dotted with a cannon ball to recall the civil war and the end of slavery.

“I would stain the word with ‘blood’ — the blood shed by freedom fighters everywhere — and bury the entire construct in “barren ground,” so one could stand over it and read it and to illustrate that wherever this word is planted, nothing grows.”

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, should make copies of this and post in every locker room in the NFL so every player, including every Black one, can see it.

There is nothing left to say, folks. It’s time for the N-word to go. Now. Forever.

Roland S. Martin is senior political analyst for TV One and author of the book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


  • YolandaRThomas1

    True! I’ve never understood Men referring to themselves in this matter. I don’t allow it around me. Then the Women started calling themselves this and B—- is beyond stupidity to me.

  • This is idiotic to say the least. There is a debate about the usage of a word when there are much more pertinent issues to deal with such as broken dysfunctional families and communities as well as the immense disparity of income and education inequality. Now if not saying the “N-word” will make any significant improvements in actual matters I am all for it.

    • Craig


      • monkey boy

        youre a fool

  • Craig

    I understand both sides of the argument, but the fact is this shouldn’t be an argument, what doesn’t the world understand that only black people namely Black Americans get to use it, WHY IS THAT SO DAMN HARD TO UNDERSTAND?

    If a white person uses the NWord it just shows the lack of respect they have for u I don’t care if it ends in an a or er, it shouldn’t be coming out a non black persons mouth. White people only want to be able to use it freely so they really can start profiting off of it more than they already are, I’m not fooled, bad or not the NWord is an exclusive thing that black people have and like all other things white people want it to make money off of it.

    Now I understand older black people don’t like the word but I also understand that older black people are stuck in the old days still talking about non violence and marching, the days of non violence and marching died with Martin Luther King, different times call for different measures. I for one am not gonna change the way I talk(I dont use the word) just to please these Caucasoids. I embrace Ebonics as well, u not gonna make me hate the way I talk.

    If white people love u, u doing something wrong, Be weary of any Black “hero” that these white folk prop up and hail. Stay away from them. Gravitate towards the ones they Demonize.

    • stan

      I’m always amazed to hear the views of someone like you, sir. You obviously don’t understand that black Americans have no choice as to how the word is used. It was created for one reason and one reason only, out of extreme hate and ignorance. If it weren’t so sad and embarrassing, it would be absolutely hilarious to see so many dysfunctional black people FIGHTING for the right to use a word that simply holds you back. To think, you say you won’t change how you speak and the words you use to please whites? Believe me, son, they don’t WANT you to change. They want you to remain as confused and self-loathing and ignorant as you are.

      • Craig

        fighting for the right to use? Its already being used the only people fighting for the right to use it freely is white people, how am I fighting for the right to use something that gets used all the time an is a word? Confused? I aint confused, u talk like u know me, I’m only speaking on this word and the speculation about whether it should be banned, which is an irrelevant conversation anyway. If u gonna ban the NWord u might as well ban all curse words. Not gonna happen, I dont even use the word anyway, but I damn sure aint gonna tell black people what it means to them I also know who shouldn’t be using it.

        Like I said when white people use it we dont have to get mad, just know that they don’t respect u one bit an is open about it. The only thing black people defending the word are fighting for is freedom of speech and freedom to communicate amongst ones selves without these caucasoids always wanting to get in on it an dictate our speech.

        • stan

          Sir, we can’t even begin to have discourse here. You’re so confused and misguided that it is futile. Not to mention that you don’t honor English language
          by using letters instead of spelling out words. Good luck in your journey.

          • Craig

            Good riddens, doofus, I don’t even use the word but here u are thinking I do because I don’t have a problem with black people using it, Ialso never said the word meant anything good. And I know good an well well u didn’t tell me to watch a movie LOL. How about u watch “Africa Addio” (1966). And F the English language, its not the only language in the world and if u cant understand different variations of it it wasn’t meant for u to hear anyway and maybe u need to learn it, always wanna criticize the way people speak but never take the time to learn it..

          • monkey boy

            you cant even talk right i bet you make 5 bucks an hour correct?

          • Craig

            If I was making 0 an hour what would that mean, u think u are worth the paper u make? thats why u are an idiot, if u think your worth is paper u are already lost at life, plenty of millionaires an big paychecks die early.

        • stan

          You’re right. I don’t know you. All anyone has of anyone they don’t know is what that person presents. And what you present is sheer and utter confusion that speaks to the mass and deep dysfunction of a people and a nation. It’s like the child that has been physically and emotionally abused for so long that they see the abuse as love.

          What you say is akin to taking a turd, bronzing it, polishing it up, attaching it to a chain and wearing it around ones neck in “affection.” But no matter how you present it, a turd is still a turd. There is nothing–NOTHING–good or positive about this heinous word.
          Open a book. Or at the very least, view “12 Years A Slave” and see and hear this word in its authentic form…and understand that that level of hate can never be transformed into something “good.”

        • monkey boy

          how bout ….fck you …loser

      • Sam197859

        Nope the word is to describe a person mindset. Redd Foxx use that word on all races of people who act ignorant

        • stan

          Yes, and we know how effective his (and others) attempt to broaden the meaning of the word has been, don’t we? It never works. That’s because no matter WHO attempts to recast the word, it still means one thing and one thing only, and conjures the logical hurt and anger. Say someone not black referred to you in this way, you get angry and they reply, “Oh, I wasn’t referring to who you are culturally and as a person or your skin color, I’m just saying you’re being kinda slow in getting your work done today.” I’m pretty certain that explanation wouldn’t do it for you. If the word WERE used simply to describe one’s mindset, then it would re-emerge as simple name calling, i.e. “fat head” or “A-hole. ” And that would work, because ANYONE of ANY color could use it and it wouldn’t mean what it means. But the word is a horrible and demeaning slur to describe the black American and only that. Some advice: Stop trying to defend the use of this one word. It makes you look ignorant. Like you trying to defend someone who just burned down YOUR house or killed YOUR dog for no reason. It’s indefensible.

    • monkey boy

      you are a stupid niggor how that ebonics talkin piece of sht

  • sonny scroggins

    Topeka, Kansas

    A Public Rally for Freedom, Racial Equality, and a Celebration of the Bill of Rights

    A rally defending the First Amendment as well as to engage modern usage of

    “The N-Word” will be held on MARCH 15, 2014 at Topeka Public Library,

    11:00A.M. Whether your neck is black, red, beige, freckled, mottled,
    young and smooth, old and weathered, or anything in between, you’re
    going to be part of some genuine bridge building, culturally speaking.

    Speakers from various cultural backgrounds will address “The N-Word”
    and its present use as well as its disfavor in American culture, history
    of the racial slur, and the possibility of using the word to knock down
    stereotypes, both ethnic and socioeconomic.

    I Challenge my Generation to Inspire Future Generations.

    Yours in Christ, Sonny Scroggins

    • Craig

      NO! The discussion is a distraction, The BOTTOM line is non whites shouldn’t use it an thats it. and there are way more important issues than a discussion on how black people should talk amongst each other.

      This is almost as bad as people taking the stop bullying movement serious.

  • Truth Teller

    They are filtering, censoring and deleting comments.

  • Damon L. Thomas

    What does the banning of the word solve?

    • Sam197859


  • thescoop1

    When it comes to the use of the n-word the African American community is a walking contradiction, to understand why and how the Black African American community came about seeing and using the n-word as a term of endearment, and the true significance of their use of the word n**ga you are encouraged to visit:

  • Jabari Jones

    Now the funny thing is that most of you speak without the slightest clue. But this word derives from the word Niger. Which evolved into the word Negro and so forth until it came to America. But lets look into history. What was the first group of people to use this word? The Black panthers!!! Logically thinking, this is a group of people who thrive off of knowledge. Why would these people call themselves this word? That was a derogatory term, turn into a term endearment. Or is it the other way around? Did the Whites turns a term of endearment into a racial slur? Because the root of the word means black, not ignorant.


    Success has made black people LAZY and here’s why: Some of you waste time and resources trying to change the language of our people rather than improving the lifestyles of our people. Some of us are so hung up on looking good; we would dress up a homeless person just to beautify the neighborhood. There’s plenty of professional, generational and motivational blame to go around from My N word all the way back to the H-N-word-I-C. We ought to not think being politically correctness compensates for being culturally corrupt…

  • sonny scroggins
  • monkey boy

    look.. my mammy was an …N…her said to me hey monkey boy are you an …N… i said heck no mammy im just a colored kid not an …N…