White girls love rap. None of us are quite sure why, but it's fun, and makes us feel badass. Apparently Gwyneth Paltrow likes doing the same thing and then some, Paltrow tweeted a picture of herself with a few friends and captioned it: "Ni**as in Paris for real @mrteriousnash (the dream) tyty, beehigh" On stage with Jay-Z and Kanye rhyming, she was referencing their hit song “Niggas in Paris."
This tweet of course sparked a debate and opinions on the issue are split. An article on The Root acknowledged the irony of discussing this whole situation, “I won't say that our feelings have "evolved" -- evolution implies a change both organic and positive, and I'm not so sure that the gradual cultural softening of the n-word" is a good thing -- but every time it is used in popular songs written by the president's favorite rappers or freely incorporated by someone speaking in front of an audience that's not all black, a piece of the shield of self-righteous outrage surrounding the word chips off.”
Some claim, “So what? We can use the word, but it’s racist for you to.” They say that the word is a term of affection and should only be used amongst black people. This line of reasoning is applied to hundreds of other words and minorities. But some are claiming that it's hypocrisy, if you’re black and don’t see anything wrong with using the word for your friend but get offended when someone of a different race uses it, then there is something wrong.
Some rappers and figures like Russell Simons and Nas gave Paltrow a pass, “I would slap the shit out of somebody for Gwyneth Paltrow,” Nas told CBS Local recently. “She’s the homie, she’s cool. Gwyneth gets a pass. Real people get a pass …The people that I know who are cool and real n****s, Gwyneth Paltrow is a real n****, that’s my homie. That’s how I’m on it. Some people get a pass.” And speaking to some of my friends, this seems to be the consensus, if no malice is spotted, if there is no hate, you are granted a “pass.”
Should the pass be granted, should we ignore the history of the word? We should never ignore history, because then we’ll be bound to repeat it. And while we have evolved and changed as a country, much is still the same. Do you want to talk about hypocrisy? Many thought having a black president might change things, but oppressors can be from any race and our president is still putting young black males in jail for carrying a plant he once smoked himself. Maybe we should talk about that. While discussion of the word’s history and future are important and should be thought about, people will still be people and use the word however they want, malice or no malice intended. If you don’t use the n-word and don’t like others to use it that’s good! If you use it and don’t care if others do as long as there is no hatred involved, that’s fine too. However, if you just don’t like white people using it, that’s more than hypocritical.