How come they can say it, but I cant? ~ American white person
The first thing I want you is think of a set of concentric circles. You may then begin to wonder what does concentric circles have to do with n-word privileges. You may also be baffled when I tell you I can soundly explain these word privileges with these concentric circles. Stay with me. I promise that I will break this down so hard Barney style that you will not only never ask this question again, you will inform others with the same reasoning.
The first thing I want you to ponder, is what you call your wife or significant other. What do you call your wife? Do you call her something that you only share amongst yourselves? Does she call you something different than your given name? Honey, Sweetie, Precious, Sugar, Mommy, Daddy (strange, but it exists) Sexy, Sugar Momma, Juicy, Thickness, Big Daddy?
Now it is a fact that men and women in a relationship of any kind will resort to this type of name using. Being that these types of pronouns are used, what if someone were to — because they were in earshot once — call your significant other the same pet name you use? While you are still with them? Wouldn’t the situation get a little… awkward?
Ladies and gentlemen, what you are now dealing with in that situation in what we call “Undue Familiarity”. Undue Familiarity happens in a social situation when a person exudes a level of familiarity that is false, flawed in context, or simply out of line. So for me to call your wife “sweet cheeks” would be out of line; I hope you’d understand that. If I called your wife something like “Sexy Thick Thang”, I’d hope that you’d at least wish you would knock me out. While I don’t condone violence as such, in this situation I tend to be a bit understanding.
Undue familiarity tends to piss people off. Why? Because we just broke a Law of Proximity. Check these concentric circles out:
Now in this one with what we call pet names and intimate terms of endearment, you and your wife exist in that super-close center. Hopefully, it’s not easy to get to that center. It takes time, energy and effort. This center small circle is an honored, sacred place.
You cannot fit everyone in that center, either. People will end up falling into the outer circles. The less familiar they are, the farther they are. On the outer ring are people who are so far from your sex life, for them to approach your significant other with your pet name, it would invoke a “who the fuck are you” response. These are sociological proximity circles, and these illustrates PRECISELY how word privileges work.
This basic Law of Proximity works in more than just one way. In the military for example, for you to call your boss (ranking official) by their first name in the work place, will invoke undue familiarity. A stranger coming across as if they knew what you did last night (or last summer?) would come off as awkward. Who the fuck is this guy? Are you being stalked? Who does he think he is?
Pertaining to the N-Word
In now understanding these concentric proximity circles, I will know direct you to our controversial n-word. You know, the word nigger. Yeah, I said it.
Here, I hope you can clearly see how the Law of Proximity works. I’m not going to go in depth, the graphic does all the talking itself. But for those who are beyond the outer-ring… you have NO space for using the word. You don’t get to change the definition of it, either. You are totally devoid of ownership of its terms of usage. While you may never be able to get to the honored center ring, it takes a buttload of hard work to actually grace the outer-rings that are selective-usage okay. This graphic, like the rest, illustrates why people cannot say things just because they heard someone else say it. Let me say it differently: Just because a black guy says it, it doesn’t mean you can; you are NOT within that circle of sociological proximity. You are not familiar. You are not family. You are not in the in-crowd. You were not invited to that party, despite the fact that your ancestors invented the party hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately they kinda messed it up for you. There are people today, who are still messing it up for you.
You wouldn’t attempt to call another man’s wife “sugar walls” and use him saying it as an excuse, so what makes you think you can use the word nigga?
Think about that before you try something stupid.
Are there any questions? Keep in mind that this is an EXPLANATION of how things work, not an endorsement of the word or an excuse to it (if you are black). I will be taking them in the comment section. Until then, this is Johnny Silvercloud signing out. Stay safe humanity, stay safe.