Members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity held a discussion with students in the Rankin Center addressing the controversial use of the n-word in popular culture.
Taking its origins from the Spanish term “negro” and Latin term “niger” meaning black, the use of the n-word has many students split on both the acceptance and intolerance of its usage.
President of Alpha Phi Alpha and Black Greek Council Brandon Cole said the discussion was meant to draw social awareness to the entire Ferris community.
“This discussion pinpointed what is going on in our community and ways we can stop the negativity from progressing,” said Cole.
Cole said regardless of how the word may have evolved over the years, its effects are still harmful to the community.
“It is harmful and created to categorize a certain race of people and degrade them,” said Cole. “Some might say it has changed for the better, we believe it will always have its derogatory meaning.”
Alpha Phi Alpha member Donovan Turner said the discussion was also meant to educate students on the history of the n-word.
“I feel this is an important discussion because people need to know and understand the meaning of the word,” said Turner. “It is important that we all know the negative impact the n-word has.”
Both displaying videos and disbursing pamphlets, the discussion allowed audience members to express numerous views on the use of the n-word in society.
Physical therapy major David Sokolowoski said he sees the use of the n-word as offensive regardless of race.
“I believe the people who use the n-word believe that the meaning has changed and is more common and less offensive,” said Sokolowoski. “If it is not okay for everyone to say, then no one should say it.”
Criminal justice major Blake Mattison said he agrees the n-word is still offensive.
“I feel the word has changed and that it has not changed,” said Mattison. “Now it is used as a reference toward addressing someone such as a friend or an associate, yet it still contains its original connotation.”
Cole said the influence of making students socially aware is a powerful means to create change.
“Yes, this is an individual strive, but you have to be consistent in making a change,” said Cole. “You have to be willing to give up this word and replace it with another word such as brother or friend, because it only takes a select few to make a difference in the world.” n