I strongly agree. When I was growing up, my family and I all used the n-word on a regular basis, far more commonly than we would say “black”, much less “African-American”, so I understand the “conservative” point of view (excuses, really) as to why it’s either no big deal or why they think it’s wrong for African-Americans to use the word when whites can’t.

But I look at it like this: for all the unfathomable wrong we whites did (and still do) to the African race just because of the color of their skin, the loss of the social right (as opposed to the legal right) to say the n-word is a very small price to pay indeed.

And here’s another way to look at it: it’s okay to insult one’s own, but it’s not okay for others to insult or ridicule your own. Look at Mississippi State and Ole Miss; the football rivalry between them has been bitterly contested since forever, calling each other everything but angels…but once one Ole Miss plays someone from out-of-state but within the SEC (say, ‘Bama), who do the students of Mississippi State root for? Ole Miss. And if the Crimson Tide (whom all Bulldog faithful despise) plays, say, Notre Dame, who are we going to root for? The Tide, of course!

In the military, it’s no different. You can’t insult my shipboard department unless you’re from my department. You can’t insult my ship unless you’re a crewmember on my ship. You can’t insult my Navy unless you’re a Navy veteran. You can’t insult my fellow military (whether Marine, Airman, Soldier, or Coastie) unless you’ve honorably worn the uniform.

And because of that, unless you’re African-American, you can’t use the n-word…because while you may have the legal right to do so, you don’t have the social right, for you do not and can never know what it is like to be African-American.

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.