"Oh no, I'm white — I can't read that word."
When people are not allowed to say derogatory slurs, or similar comments about a group of people, unless they are part of that group or otherwise granted special dispensation.
Derogatory slurs are wrong. They are used as a way to imply that a whole group of people is inferior to another group in some way(s), or, as Richard Pryor
memorably worded it, they "perpetuate [the] wretchedness" of a group of people. Yet, because words gain meaning from context, including the characteristics of the speaker saying those words, slurs are sometimes acceptable if they are spoken by people belonging to the group the slur is about.
The most notable is the word "nigger." Probably the most offensive word in the English language, it has become a term of fellowship in American hip-hop culture, especially in the slang form "nigga." Yet, that fellowship only extends to those who have been accorded N-Word Privileges. Putting it simply, some black people call each other this colloquially, generally when they are close friends; but if you address one of them with the word as a non-black (especially
white) individual, it can be an exceptionally effective method for getting some very
So who has N-Word Privileges? Generally, those who are part of the group to whom the term originally applies usually get a free pass when speaking among themselves, at the risk of looking crass if saying it in mixed company. The occasional "honorary pass" is given to others, such as Latinos saying the N-word, or straight women with lots of gay friends
saying "fag," but this can be rather inconsistent, such as Jennifer Lopez
catching flack for using the N-word in a song awhile back when the Latin rap group Terror Squad would use it all the time.
Some of My Best Friends Are X
will generally not
work here. Even if such friends grant permission to use the slur in question, it still has the possibility of horrifying or angering anyone else.
Many people of all backgrounds find this trope problematic. Those belonging to the group in question wonder if they can really "reclaim
" a word with such a loaded history, or the point in doing so, as they believe it makes them sound crass and uneducated. Those belonging to the dominant social group cite hypocrisy and discrimination when privileges aren't extended to them (not that they'd ever use them, mind, but It's the Principle of the Thing
The title of this trope comes from a comedian's explanation of why white people can't say the N word. "Maybe because we haven't always used it properly in the past. Yeah, we got a little bossy with it. Our N-word privileges have been revoked." This trope refers to all slurs that have been claimed as in-group slang, not just the N-word.
of Appropriated Appellation
and Double Standard
Compare Offending the Creator's Own
(when a work, rather than a word, is thought to be offensive), T-Word Euphemism
(which this page demonstrates), and Race Name Basis
(when a character's race is used in place of their name which could lead to this).
Note that simply using this slur is not enough. One had to get called on it, or comment that one shouldn't say it.
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Anime and Manga
- In Naruto the term jinchuriki means "power of the human sacrifice" and refers to people with bijuus sealed in them. The titular character is enraged when people who view jinchuriki as tools use it to dehumanize them but accepts it when used as a technical term. He's also okay with it being used by current/former jinchuriki.
- In an old issue of Uncanny X-Men, where Kitty Pryde is confronting a group of her fellow students who are plotting to kill Professor Xavier during a visit to Columbia University (this was at a time that Kitty was taking college classes). One of the students, who was black, accuses Kitty of being "a mutie," to which Kitty replies: "I dunno, Phil, are you a nigger?" (The word was not censored in the original dialogue.) Ray responds predictably, prompting Kitty to call him on his hypocrisy.
- And in the Uncanny X-Men graphic novel God Loves Man Kills, Kitty's dance teacher Stevie Hunter attempts to keep Kitty from beating up a boy who'd called her a "mutie lover" (not knowing that Kitty herself was a mutant), by telling Kitty that "they're just words." Kitty immediately throws Stevie's seeming hypocrisy in her face, asking her if she'd be so calm had the boy called Kitty a "nigger lover." Both examples got a lot of flak and continue to do so, where a number of readers objected to the use of the word even if it was to make a point about tolerance, some citing the idea that it was wrong to equate the suffering of a fictional minority to the suffering of a real minority.
- Kitty drops this one AGAIN when someone asks her if she's a mutie, and she asks the person if he's a nigger. Two different writers years apart.
- In an issue of Punisher MAX, a member of the IRA visiting the United States goes on a rant to his friend about how he'll be "nobody's nigger ever again," forgetting that he isn't in Belfast and the word means something very different in the States. He soon finds himself surrounded by some very... unhappy people.
- In Y: The Last Man, white Yorick's black bodyguard, Agent 355, tells him, "Nigga, please!" when asked if she's in love with him. Later, when asked if he's in love with her, he echoes her answer, and she simply smiles.
- The Quantum and Woody issue "Noogie" explicitly refers to this in an intro saying that they've been forbidden to use the "N-word," and will use the word "Noogie" instead. It then subverts it when a poor black character repeatedly calls Quantum "noogie". Quantum, whose full-body costume covers his identity, demands to know how the man knows he's black, only to be told "You're black? S-Word!"
- Referenced, Fantastic Racism style, in Ultimate X-Men:
Northstar: Sophomore year I realize I'm gay, and now you're telling me I'm a mutie?
Angel: Um, you may want to live the life for a bit before you start slinging derogatory terms like that, even if you're trying to reappropriate them, or whatever.
- In one Strontium Dog story, Johnny and Wulf receive some information from a fellow Bounty Hunter, Cecil 'Frog' Parsons. Wulf thanks him for this, referring to him as 'Frog', which causes Frog to fly into a rage about people who refer to him by his mutation instead of his name. Wulf apologizes, and then Johnny gives Frog a payment for the info, also calling him 'Frog'. When Wulf asks why he didn't get angry at Johnny, Frog matter-of-factly points out that Johnny is also a mutant, so it's different.
- In X-Statix, the black team member Anarchist calls a black applicant a spear-chucker, and tells the Orphan (who is a purple-skinned Caucasian mutant) that he wouldn't be allowed to do the same. The Spike literally throws spears, as it happens. And this is all the more ironic when you consider that the Anarchist is adopted and his parents are white, so the Spike thinks he didn't have the right in the first place.
- Mocked by Superman villain Manchester Black (who was visually Caucasian), who would frequently use this kind of word and immediately after claim it was okay for him to say that, because he was 1/16th (insert relevant minority group). At the end of his first appearance after being beaten by Superman, the Man of Steel uses this against him by taking a shot at his leadership skills, and then saying "And I can say that because I am a leader."
- In two episodes of Pretty Cure Heavy Metal, there's a black character whose favorite word just happens to be the N word. Since he's the Token Minority, most uses of the N word in both episodes (the only exception when Shugo parodies the N word privileges of a white Australian in episode 24) go to that character. Since the author doesn't want Unfortunate Implications to arise, all uses of the word are censored like most strong profanity. When explaining the reason for the censorship, he actually invoked this trope by referring to himself as "whitey".
- In The Last Spartan, "Squidhead" has been adopted as a badge of pride by a Sangheili youth counterculture similar to Otaku, who have developed a fondness for human entertainment and popular culture. Because it's a Fusion Fic crossover with Mass Effect, the team's Sangheili party member, N'tho, also defies his hat by being part of said subculture, and not acting like a Proud Warrior Race Guy like all other Sangheili seen in canon to date.
- Deconstructed in this Katawa Shoujo fanfic. Lilly's father, a diabetic, refers to Yamaku as a "cripple school", insultingly questions how Hanako got her scarsnote and says Hisao is not suitable for Lilly because of his heart defect. This greatly upsets Hanako, Hisao and especially Lilly, who turns his logic back on him by arguing that he should consider her a "cripple" too.
- Spoofed twice in this Kingdom Hearts fanfic, The Hero Sora openly acknowledge that he's a Heartless and use it to justify his opinion on the current matter, it was his friend who called him out on it (The context of situation usually humorous though).
- In Discworld/The Big Bang Theory crossover The Many Worlds Interpretation, Raj Kooprathali displays Indian patriotism in his disparaging opinion of India's Pakistani neighbours. he uses a Hindu version of the N-Word to describe Pakistanis in general and one colleague in particular.note . The author stresses in a footnote that Raj can use the word as it's in a language mutually understood by Indians and Pakistanis. But to anyone outside the subcontinent it's a bit inflammatory. note . The Pakistani colleague promptly comes back with the Urdu/Moslem pejorative "kaffir", which boggles the mind of a "South African" who is listening to the discourse. (See note below for "kafur/kaffir"). Mutual insult over, the two go away together amicably talking about cricket - always safe ground for Pakistanis and Indians forced into each other's company.
- [[The Celestia Code features a unicorn, Jigsaw, finding out about some of the things other ancient unicorns were doing, along the lines of tribal supremacy (in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic canon, the various kinds of ponies were refered to as tribes—and, in ancient times, they hated each others' guts). One insult that catches a shocked gasp from nearby Twilight is 'screwhead', referring to the horn. Jigsaw justifies it, being a unicorn herself: 'Hey, I'm a unicorn, I can use the S-word if I want!'
- Blazing Saddles. The black characters in the movie use the N word toward each other in a friendly manner. All white characters who use it are stupid racists, including the little old lady. Mel Brooks stated that he intentionally wanted to overuse the word in the movie to the point that it became such nonsense that nobody could possibly be offended by it anymore. Most people assume that this was a strong influence from co-writer Richard Pryor, but Brooks has stated that most of the parts you'd assume were written by Pryor probably weren't. Pryor actually wrote most of Mongo's lines.
- The works of Mel Brooks often make jokes at expense of Jews. Due to Mel Brooks being himself very Jewish, and self-deprecation being a staple of Borscht Belt humor, no one bats an eyelash.
- In Mean Girls, Janis claims calling Damian "too gay to function" is only funny when she says it and gets upset over it being written in the burn book.
- In Rush Hour, Carter (Chris Tucker) says, "Wassup, mah nigga!" to some of his friends at a bar — after having told Lee (Jackie Chan) to follow his lead. When Carter leaves the room to question an informant, Lee (who's new to the United States) cheerfully uses the same greeting with the bartender, completely unaware of any Unfortunate Implications. It doesn't go down so well. And when Lee is asked to repeat himself, he says it AGAIN, slowly and clearly...
- In White Chicks, two black men under cover as white Rich Bitches make the mistake of singing along with a rap song on the radio. When the genuine Rich Bitches in the car with them get shocked, they respond, "No-one's listening, right?" Cut to the whole car singing along with a Cluster N Bomb, grinning and giggling girlishly.
- Quentin Tarantino is noted for his liberal and unapologetic use of the word, especially in his earlier work. In an interview, Tarantino claimed that he wanted to shout the word from the rooftops until it lost all meaning. Some black filmmakers such as Denzel Washington and Spike Lee have criticized him for it, while others such as Samuel L. Jackson have defended him.
- In True Romance, Dennis Hopper's character tells a story about how "Sicilians were spawned from niggers" to a mafioso who is about to torture him. Hopper's language is part of his ploy to infuriate the mobster into killing him quickly so that he cannot give up his son's location. In the DVD commentary, Tarantino revealed that he had learned the story of Moors interbreeding with Sicilians from a black friend of his, who had since passed on.
- Pulp Fiction features black and white characters dropping N-bombs as well as other racial slurs throughout the film. Perhaps most notable was the character Jimmie (who is married to a black woman), played by Tarantino himself, going on a tirade about his garage being used for "dead nigger storage." While defending Tarantino's dialogue, Samuel L. Jackson claimed that he had ad-libbed two or three N-bombs for every one that appeared in the script.
- Django Unchained, for obvious reasons, uses the word without any restraints. And Hilarity Ensues when a reporter asks Samuel L. Jackson about the controversy regarding the N-Word.
- Spoofed to hell and back by Clerks II.
- Randall uses the term "porch monkey," to the horror of his coworkers and the (black) customers. Later, when it is explained to him what the term means (his grandmother used it all the time, and on reflection he realized she was probably pretty racist), he decides to "take it back" - i.e., by using it, make it less offensive. He even goes so far as to make a jacket that says "Porch Monkey 4 Life" on the back using tape. Yeah, he gets the shit beat out of him for it. By a black cop. Who busts him while he's watching a live bestiality show.
- "I always used Porch Monkey to describe lazy people in general, not lazy black people."
- "My grandma is not a racist! [reflecting] Though, she did refer to a broken bottle as a "Nigger Knife"."
- An in-character discussion of who is actually entitled to N-word privileges occurs in the film. Wayans has a conversation with his white boss. The boss contrasts himself with the starch-suited, very carefully spoken, single and uptown-living Wayans, saying, "I have a black wife, black children, hell, I even used to live in the ghetto, so I feel I'm entitled to use that word." Wayans says he'd prefer his boss didn't, at which the boss scowls and proceeds to drop a cluster N-bomb, never at any point directing it at Wayans, just saying the word a lot. The scene (without apparent transition) then becomes a fantasy Wayans has of violently assaulting his boss and beating his face in all while screaming "Whitey! Whitey! Whitey!"
- The main thrust of the film is a Modern Minstrelsy show that Damon Wayans' character creates as a social criticism, which makes heavy use of Uncle Tomfoolery and liberal use of the N-word. One of the catch-phrases of Honeycutt, the show's MC, is "Niggers is a beautiful thang." To the show creator's horror, it all goes horribly right and the show becomes a hit, with audiences freely and enthusiasticaly shouting back the racist catchphrases.
- In How High, an Asian side character is a huge rap fan, and listens to NWA, and suggests the white dorm-mate should also say he does, to make friends. When the protagonists come to the dorm and give the Asian props for his music choice, the white guy blurts "I like Niggaz With Attitude too", and gets smacked.
"Ain't no-one usin' that word here; that goes for you too."
- In Monty Pythons Life Of Brian, Brian vehemently denies that he's half-Roman (his father was the centurion Naughtius Maximus) and tells his mother, "I'm a kike! A yid! A hebe! A hooknose! I'm kosher, mum! I'm a Red Sea pedestrian, and proud of it!"
- Leprechaun In The Hood and Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood have pretty much all the black characters regularly using the word to refer to each other, almost exclusively good naturedly. In the latter, when a minor white character cheerfully uses it during a drug deal everyone (including people in the background) just stare at him in disgust, with a record scratch noise (And the sound of a car braking) even being heard when the guy utters the word. Of note, at one point in the movie one of the main characters tells another that "nigga" is actually out and that the new word is "ninja".
The Leprechaun: "Whassup, ninjas!?"
- Gran Torino is an interesting example for this. If you walked into the movie not knowing any Asian slurs, you'll be fully stocked upon exiting, as Clint Eastwood's character, Walt, fires everything in the book at his Hmong neighbors. Walt is equal opportunity, however, and enjoys himself when Hmong teenage Sue starts slinging insults back at him. In fact, Walt goes around throwing (to people under the age of forty, rather outdated) white-related slurs (Irish, Italians) at all his friends, and absorbs many jokes about his Polish heritage. At the same time, when instructing Hmong teenager Thao about masculinity, Thao attempts to copy Walt's slur-ridden speech to his Italian friend, which earns him a (comic) gun in the face, suggesting, as elsewhere, that a certain level of familiarity is required for this to be permissible. Notably, the actual N-word is the only major ethnic stone left unturned here.
- In The Jerk, Steve Martin's character "Navin" is raised by a black family, and believes he's actually a born member of it; as a result, the N-word becomes his Berserk Button when used by whites.
"You are talking to a nigger!"
- In The Hebrew Hammer, when Mordecai meets with the head of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front (Muhammad Ali Paula Abdul Rahim), Mordecai and he greet each other as "nigger" and "kike." The KLF's white accountant lampshades this.
- When making Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen (who is an observant Jew) made full use of his J-Word Privileges.
- In the 1990 movie Heart Condition, Bob Hoskins is a racist cop who, on arresting a black man (Denzel Washington), uses the N-word. His (black) boss explains to him that that while he (the boss) can say "Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger," Hoskins' character, being white, cannot. Hoskins later gets to justifiably refer to Washington's character as a "spook."
- In the 1950 film The Lawless, fruit pickers Lopo and Paul address each other as "cholo," but when overprivileged white boy Joe uses the term, those are fighting words.
- Played with in the Russian film Brother 2 by Aleksey Balabanov. The Russian main character Danila gets in trouble with a black bum when he calls him "negr". Upon being explained why he can't say "negr", Danila is completely bewildered; in Russian, ???? is a neutral word to describe a black person: "That's what I was taught in school: the Chinese live in China, the Germans in Germany, the Jews in Israel and Negroes in Africa." Ironically, his brother and prostitute friend's blatantly racist remarks go unnoticed, as they are said in Russian.
- One character in the British war film The Dam Busters has a black Labrador dog named... um, yeah. It's also one of the code words for a successful operation. They dubbed "Trigger" in for rereleases, but the original is kept on the British DVD and Blu-Ray. Noteworthy, the censorship caused confusion because "Trigger" was the name of Roy Rogers' horse.
- One scene from The Dam Busters is shown in on Pink's TV in the film Pink Floyd: The Wall. The scene has a character tell another that Nigger is dead, hit by a car. It can be rather jarring when you hear it out of context.
- It needs to be stated that the dog was really named that and so the film was simply being historically accurate. The dog is notable enough that he has his own Wikipedia article.
- Inverted in Tropic Thunder : when black rapper Alpa Chino uses the word, Kirk Lazarus (a white actor in blackface) gets dead serious and sternly chastises him for it, claiming that "for four hundred years, that word has kept us down". Predictably, this confuses the hell out of Alpa.
- In Down To Earth (Chris Rock's remake of Heaven Can Wait), the main character tends to forget that he's a black man who's trapped in a white body. The first time he performs his regular comedy routine in his new body, the audience is shocked into silence. He later gets knocked out by a couple of black guys for singing N-word containing lyrics in public.
- The BET basic-cable channel apparently feels that even African-Americans should not have N Word Privileges. This is clear from their broadcast of Lean on Me, where Joe Clark's description of the poor kids at Eastside High School as "niggers and spicks and poor white trash" gets dubbed so that the first slur is inaudible. (Of course, it's not very sporting that "spicks" and "poor white trash" don't get dubbed at all.)
- The blaxploitation film Boss Nigger concerns two black bounty hunters who set themselves up as sheriffs in a white town. They declare it illegal for the "whiteys" to refer to them as "niggers", but use the word indiscriminately themselves.
- An example of privileges beings extended (sort of) to a out-group member from Brian's Song: during a workout/physical therapy session for his friend Gale Sayers (played by Billy Dee Williams), Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan) calls him a nigger, hoping to motivate Sayers by making him angry enough to forget his despondency over his low chances of recovery. As soon as he says it, Sayers stares at him, shocked, for a few seconds... then busts up laughing.
Gale Sayers (to his wife, through tears of laughter): Oh, babe, you won't believe it. Brian tried to call me 'nigger'!
- The documentary Fagbug is an interesting example: in 2007, a lesbian graduate student named Erin Davies discovered her VW Bug to have been vandalized by someone who spray-painted the words "fag" and "U R Gay," presumably because she had a rainbow sticker in her window. After discover her insurance wouldn't cover the cost to get the paint removed, she decided to just drive around with the car as is, and after getting many interesting reactions to the car decided to drive around the country interviewing people about their reactions to it: some were supportive of her, others were obviously uncomfortable with the word showing up in public, and some people even tried to remove the word from her car (Davies even had to re-paint the word "fag" back onto her window before her trip). She also discovered she couldn't get vanity license plates with the word "FagBug" on them, so she had to settle for "FG BUG". After a year she got the paint removed... and got her car detailed so it's now rainbow colored and has the word "Fag Bug" emblazoned on its side. Davies now uses the car as an instructional tool for her talks about homophobia and prejudice.
- Cree Canadian filmmaker Neil Diamond opens the narration of his 2009 documentary film Reel Injun thusly: "I am an Injun," the last word of which is currently considered a heavily racist slur. (He's not a Boomerang Bigot; the movie then does an excellent job picking apart Hollywood's depiction of the indigenous people of North America, who have historically been called 'Indians' or 'Injuns'.)
- Happens in Malibu's Most Wanted, where the main character, the (white) son of the Governor of California has been exposed to African-American hip-hop culture since he was little and has eventually decided he himself was black. Apparently, he is no longer called "Brad Gluckman", as it's his "slave name". His new name is "B-Rad G". He has his own crew of non-black privileged kids who also think they're black (one of them is Middle-Eastern). At one point, Brad is taken to a club in a black neighborhood and he ends up taking part in a rap battle. Naturally, he's terrible at freestyle rap, but everything freezes when he says the N-word. The next scene shows him being thrown into a dumpster full of white bread.
- Played with in Cabin Fever when a very redneck-looking man says his gun is "for niggers." The main characters are all thoroughly shocked and want to get away from him as soon as possible. Turns into a Brick Joke at the end of the movie when a bunch of Black guys show up and it is revealed that the white guy was just holding the gun for them and he really does have N=Word Privileges since they're his friends.
- Deconstructed by Lenny Bruce in the Biopic Lenny, where he starts a routine with "Are there any niggers here tonight?" and proceeds to use all kinds of slurs to describe the minorities in his audience. He then says that his point was that " it's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness. Dig: if President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, "I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet," and if he'd just say "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" to every nigger he saw, "boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie," "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" 'til nigger didn't mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school."
- Used very well by Gregory Peck in Gentleman's Agreement to his Jewish secretary that he thinks it's wrong to be using those words — even when you're referring to yourself, as she did when she called herself as a "kike" — in which he says, "I find it offensive when someone calls another person, or even themselves, a kike, a spic, a wop, a nigger, a dago, or a gook, because, whether you realize it or not, it's meant to demean and to degrade them."
- Gridlock'd: Stretch, a white man, is True Companions with Spoon and Cookie, a black man and woman. Consequently, he has N-Word Privileges with them. However, he manages to enrage a black drug dealer by using the word on him. Spoon has to pull Stretch aside and remind him that he can't use the word around other black people, but Stretch stubbornly insists that it's a "term of endearment."
- Cleaver Family Reunion has the black family members using the term quite extensively, especially Grandma Cleaver. When it turns out that Grandma Cleaver is actually biologically white, she reasserts her right to use the word by using it several more times in the next sentence.
- Boyz n the Hood: Subverted. The black police officer Coffey uses the N-word freely... because he's a terrifying Boomerang Bigot who hates other blacks. When he uses it, it's with genuine malintent.
- Deconstructed in Christopher Paul Curtis' children's book Elijah of Buxton, where the title character (a freeborn black living in a Canadian settlement for former slaves) uses the slur in question and gets severely chewed out by an adult with a speech that is anvilicious, but with good cause.
- The white thugs in Football Factory refer to black people as niggers, including the ones that are on their own Firm. They're "our niggers".
- Played with a lot by Terry Pratchett in the Discworld novels. The equivalent 'n-word' for Dwarfs is "lawn ornament" which is considered a killing insult for non-dwarfs but is used by one Dwarf boss to his crew in Moving Pictures. In Wyrd Sisters Hwel allows Vitoller to call him that, because they're old friends, but not anyone else.
- In a footnote in Guards! Guards!, Captain Quirke is referred to as not being particularly evil, just the sort of person who pronounces "negro" with two Gs.
- In Jingo, Captain Carrot has entered a crime scene surreptitiously by pretending he's renting the flat, and then let Angua (a werewolf) through the window. When the landlady approaches, Carrot reminds Angua he was told he wasn't allowed women in his room, and Angua replies, "Or pets, so she's got me coming and going. Don't look at me like that, it's only bad taste if somebody else says it."
- Nonverbal: In The Chemo Kid, the titular kid shows up to the school Halloween party wearing a grotesque mask that parodies someone undergoing chemotherapy. The coach is incensed, until the kid takes the mask off.
- A Fantastic Racism example can be found in Warhammer 40,000 universe, specifically in the Eisenhorn novels. In the Imperium, the word "twist" is used as a derogatory term for mutants; the mutants themselves have reclaimed this word, wearing it as a badge of pride, and Inquisitor Eisenhorn notes that "a slur stops being a slur when you use it to describe yourself."
- In the Harry Potter series, "Mudblood" is a derogatory term used by pure-blood families for Muggle-born witches and wizards, on par with the real-world "N word" in nastiness. When it's first used in Chamber of Secrets, neither Harry nor Hermione know what it means, but Ron goes ballistic and tries to hex Malfoy for using it on Hermionenote . In later books, Harry and Ron get upset hearing it from Malfoy, while Hermione is shown to just be mildly angered.
- Not just Ron: the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team (besides Harry) flips out, with Angelina shrieking "How dare you!" and it's implied that Fred and George also come very close to attacking Malfoy.
- Then in Deathly Hallows, Hermione refers to herself as a "Mudblood" when trying to convince Griphook to help them, since Muggle-borns are being treated as second-class citizens (like the goblins are) under Voldemort's regime.
- The way Ron tells her not to call herself that, only to be cut off when she says "Mudblood, and proud of it!" is presumably a nod to the idea of "reclaiming" a slur.
- And in The Movie, in the aforementioned first use of the word, Hermione somehow knows what it means. And not just 'I read it in a book', she talks about it as though she's grown up knowing about the word.
- "Half-blood" is a somewhat derogatory term used for wizards with one Muggle parent; the "Half-Blood Prince" (Snape) of the sixth book takes on that term as a boastful title.
- In Artemis Fowl, Foaly notes that it is only acceptable to call a fairy by their species name if the speaker is a close friend. This presumably glances off the real-world use of "fairy" as an insulting term for homosexual males. (There are no concerted attempts by gay men to reclaim that word.)
- The N-Word used to be tossed around pretty casually in England. There was a nursery rhyme, "Ten Little Niggers", known in America as "Ten Little Indians". Agatha Christie wrote a novel using the rhyme that was titled first Ten Little Niggers, then Ten Little Indians, and finally And Then There Were None.
- In Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemens Union, the Jews of Sitka have come to use "yid" as a catch-all term for a Jewish person, like "dude" or "guy." This would be understandable for an all-Jewish metropolis even if "yid" in Yiddish, the language they're speaking, didn't already mean exactly that.
- It's unlikely that Mordecai Richler could have gotten away with a lot of his novels' Jewish characters if he wasn't Jewish himself.
- Intentionally combined with Have a Gay Old Time in The Dark Tower, thanks to the characters being from different time periods: Odetta (later known as Susannah) is from the 1960s and is offended by Eddie, who is from the 1980s, calling her "black". In her time period, "Negro" was the neutral term and "black" was offensive. Both characters are African-American (the word the President uses in 2013).
- Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory titled his autobiography Nigger. The dedication page reads:
To Mama: Wherever you are, remember, when you hear the word "nigger," they are advertising my book.
- Bill Bryson's Notes From A Big Country has no problem making generalizations about America. Bryson himself is legally an American, but had lived half his life (by then) in Great Britain, and more-or-less considers himself a Brit. Of course, it is a collection of columns from a British newspaper. The odd thing is that a) Bryson makes basically the exact same sort of generalizations Dave Barry makes, except Barry uses we, and b) Bryson has been accused by James May of being an American Anglophile with no idea of what Britain is really like. Despite living in it for over twenty years at that point.
- The novel Nigger Heaven. Blacks can call themselves the N-Word as a form of self identity, but as soon as a white uses it, it becomes derogatory. And the term "Negress" isn't allowed at ALL.
- A Running Gag in one of Robert Rankin's Brentford novels is a character using a derogatory word and when called on it, saying "It's not racist if you're <minority group>". Eventually subverted when the police inspector says this after calling Omalley a "mick". A constable points out he's not Irish and gets the response "No lad, I'm a policeman."
- Stephen King's IT has a variant on this in that the Loser's club all have "N-word privileges" with respect to each other. Thus, it's okay for a member of the club to make fun of Stan for being Jewish or Ben for being fat or Bill for his stutter, but God help any outsider who does the same thing.
- Discussed in To Kill a Mockingbird when one character insults Scout Finch's dad, Atticus, to her face by calling him a "nigger-lover". Apparently, tolerant whites in the South didn't have N-word privileges, either. Overlaps with From the Mouths of Babes.
- Deconstructed in Dean Atta's poem "I am Nobody's Nigger", and his subsequent Radio 4 documentary ... which was called "Nobody's N-Word".
- Discussed in the short story "Am I Blue?":
"If you live in a world that keeps trying to grind you down, you either start thumbing your nose at it or end up very, very short. Taking back the language is one way to jam the grinder. My friends and I called each other 'faggot' and 'queer' for the same reason so many black folks call each other 'nigger'—to take the words away from the people who wants to use them to hurt us.”
- In The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert, there's a black guy who's in a relationship with a white girl and is called a "damn nigger" by her father. He claims it was done in an affectionate way and wasn't worse for him than someone using the words "blondie" or "redhead", but adds that you may have to be black to understand this reasoning. (The story is set in a kinda utopian community, which is also a Town with a Dark Secret.)
- The Lopen in The Stormlight Archive apparently has Roshar's biggest collection of one-armed Herdazian jokes.
- Subverted in Black Man. When Carl (a Brit of African decent) spends some time in a Florida jail he doesn't appreciate when his fellow black inmates uses their privilege.
- Joked about in Dresden Files, when "Injun Joe" says that they aren't allowed to call him that anymore and have to call him "Native American Joe"
- Mark Twain's most famous work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in which every instance of the word "nigger" is replaced with the word "slave".
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tara Maclay in this cut scene from "Dead Things".
Tara: "Sweetie, I'm a fag. I've been there."
- Little House on the Prairie: The word "nigger" was used in at least three episodes, all dealing with racism. These include:
- Family Ties: At least two episodes:
- In the two-part episode from 1988 called "Read it and Weep," Jennifer refuses to review another mundane Yogi Berra book, instead choosing "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," which had been banned for its repeated use of the word "nigger." The discussion on the suitability of "Huck Finn" in an educational setting includes Steven, the father, saying the word "nigger" (referring to the character "Nigger Jim") at least once.
- One of the final episodes was "All in the Neighborhood," which saw an African-American family's house heavily vandalized, and the n-word is spray-painted several times on the walls. The Keatons and their neighbors are forced to confront their deep-seated feelings of racism.
- Family Matters: In "Fight the Good Fight," Laura's locker is spray-painted with the word "nigger" (this in response to efforts by Laura and Urkel to begin a Black History Month unit at their school). The original episode was intact in terrestrial syndication prints and ABC Family, but in TVLand/NickAtNite airings the scene quickly fades to a commercial before Laura discovers the offending word.
- ''Gimme a Break!": "Baby of the Family," which saw Samantha put Joey up to wearing blackface (a la Al Jolson) during a talent show at Nell's church. An angry Nell confronts Sam, telling her she never thought she'd see the day she'd hear her use the word "nigger." Sam replies that she never would use such a word, and indeed, she does not. Nell responds that she might as well have used the n-word, as – by dressing Joey up in blackface – she offended many decent human beings who have worked hard to reverse stereotypes.
- Sam actually did use the word in an earlier season. In "Samantha Steals a Squad Car", Sam comes home while Nell and her father are in the middle of a heated argument and attempts to tell them that another girl called her a "dumb Polack". When Nell and the Chief continue to ignore her, she screams at Nell "How would you like it if someone called you nigger?!" She instantly knows that she has crossed the line and runs to lock herself in the bathroom as her father threatens a spanking.
- The Jeffersons: George got away with using the word "honky" — the derisive word for whites, often used by blacks — many times, but (much like Norman Lear's other comedies) rarely was the n-word uttered. One notable exception was "Sorry, Wrong Meeting," where the Jeffersons, the Willises (a racially mixed couple), Florence and Mr. Bentley have an all-too-close encounter with the Klu Klux Klan. The Supreme Leader, Herbert Purcell (veteran stage and TV actor James Karen) and his son, Dwayne, have organized a meeting that Tom thinks is one to deal with burglaries inside the high-rise, but it isn't until George arrives and the meeting gets underway that George, Tom and Mr. Bentley see that Purcell's meeting is a KKK meeting to run blacks out of Manhattan. Purcell uses the word "nigger" several times, incensing the main characters many times. When the elder Purcell suddenly falls ill with a heart attack, he must rely on George — an African-American and the very type of person he despises — to save his life ... and when he does, nobody is prepared for Purcell's show of "gratitude."
- Donald Trump once fired a guy in the reality show The Apprentice for using the term "White Trash" to describe himself during a Boardroom session.
- The introduction to Turk in the first episode of Scrubs featured him and JD having a conversation about whether JD could say the "N word" if it comes up in a rap song to which they're singing along. (For the record, Turk said no.)
- The UK series of Big Brother 2007 ejected a housemate named Emily Parr because she had used the N-Bomb in conversation with fellow housemate Charley...who had also used it. Yet, Emily Parr was ejected, Charley remained. Charley was black, which is probably why she was allowed to get away with it. Of course similar controversies arose because she had also used the word and had used it several times throughout the series. (The incident in question happened early on.)
- Charley was also a notorious hate figure in the house, and was responsible for generating a certain amount of interest in the show—Endemol, the production company, were constantly being accused in the media of fiddling the nomination process to keep Charley safe, knowing she would be evicted promptly as soon as she was nominated but that the ratings—and votes to the premium numbers—would plummet without her. In addition, she actually didn't use the word again, or if she did, it was in a discussion context, rather than directed towards anyone.
- The main reason Emily was removed was due to the huge uproar that took place in the UK a few months earlier on the celebrity edition of Big Brother because of an incident of alleged racist bullying.
- An episode of Boston Public featured a white teacher using the standard slur when teaching a history class of mostly black students in order to start talking about Afrophobia and language, with the subsequent uproar. He was actually teaching them about the cultural impact about it because of two students. One black, one white. The black one referred to the white one as "His nigga." and in turn, let the white one refer to him as such. Both were completely comfortable with this situation. Enter third party, skin color black, plot ensues.
- Present in Generation Kill, except it's pretty much everyone who has privileges. I believe a southern Marine actually refers to fellow Marine who's black using the N-word. Nobody takes offense.
- Spoofed in NewsRadio: Bill is complaining about rap lyrics that include the N-word. When Matthew asks Token Minority Catherine what the N-word is, she whispers in his ear:
Catherine: Hey! I'll let it pass this time, but don't let me catch you saying that word again.
- Played with in 30 Rock when Tracy calls Toofer by the "n" word. The square Toofer didn't know about how the term had been reappropriated. This is made even funnier when Toofer later attempts to use the N-Word in the same way and everyone reacts with offense that he has just "dropped the N-bomb"... the joke being that although black, Toofer is so "whitefied" that it sounds like a slur coming from him. Interestingly, both of the N-words have to be obscured with sound effects. N-Word Privileges don't cut it with the censors.
- Jack also gives a pretty good summary for why this trope is in play.
You see Toofer, the African-American community has adopted that word for everyday use, in an attempt to rob it of it's meaning.
Liz: "And if you care about me, you'll respect my decision. I will always be your..." Oh no, I'm white. I can't say that word. Um... "Friend from the neighborhood. Grizz."
- In an episode of the black sitcom Girlfriends, Joan and Toni are irritated by Lynn's sister (via adoption), a Caucasian so deeply immersed in black culture that she acts "blacker" than the main cast, but Lynn and Maya defend her... until a Jay-Z song comes on the radio and she makes the mistake of singing along.
- Angel provides a Fantastic Racism example in electric-powered mutant Gwen: "What I don't appreciate, Elliot, is being called a freak. That's my word, and I get cranky when people like you use it."
- The Daily Show
- Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore, discussing Barack Obama's potential choice of running mates, explained that he needed to choose someone who wouldn't turn him into a sidekick or the Magical Negro.
Jon Stewart: The magical...?
Larry Wilmore: You can say it.
Jon Stewart: The magical... I'd rather not.
Larry Wilmore: Good, that was a test.
- Also spoofed on a segment specifically on the N word, where one of the (white) correspondents dragged Larry around with him on interviews for the sole purpose of saying it. (Members of other minorities made very brief cameo appearances to provide their own examples of slurs.)
- Despite this, Stewart himself actually used the word nigger recently in order to make a point (ie, it was not directed at any persons nor used as a slur). The segment came out very strongly against those who do so casually. Additionally, he's pretty much given the rest of the staff free rein with making Jew jokes (Stewart himself is Jewish).
- Spoofed in a Running Gag involving a minor controversy over a hunting camp with an unfortunate name regularly used by Rick Perry. Perry keeps avoiding saying its name for obvious reasons, and none of the Daily Show staff want to either, so whenever it comes up they replay a clip of Herman Cain explaining that "the place is called Niggerhead".
- A 2012 episode had one of the black correspondents use it twice to a PETA advocate, who was stunned speechless.
- For the "Wilmore Awards", one of the categories was "White people who think it's okay to use the N-word". Wilmore uses it to make a point, and then makes clear that no, adopting a black kid does not give you N-Word Privileges.
- The Colbert Report
- The show did a skit where Colbert talked about people using the word "negro" to a point where any more use would make it acceptable in any context. He then kept repeating the word, soon getting the audience to join in and one of his stage hands. He then asked Morgan Freeman to join in. Freeman slowly shook his head "no", prompting Colbert to end the segment.
- Colbert has a Running Gag of "I don't see race. My friends tell me I'm white, and I believe them because of (insert reason here)". One of the reasons was him not allowed to say the "N" word.
- There is also Colbert's interview with Jabari Asim, author of The N-Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why:
Colbert: First question. Did you want to name the book The N-Word and they said, "No, you have to call it The N-Word"? Or, did you say, "I want to name this book The N-Word," and they assumed you meant, you know, The N-Word, when in fact you meant The N-Word?
Asim: I think I suggested calling it The N-Word and they thought it was a good idea to play it safe and call it The N-Word.
Colbert: OK, this actually, this raises another interesting subject to me, is that the N-word has become so anonymous [sic] with the N-word, uh, is saying the N-word pretty much like saying the N-word? Because I would never say the N-word, but I don't want somebody to think I'm saying the N-word by saying the N-word. You know what I mean? Because I would never say that word that begins with the letter after M.
- Then, on July 26, 2011 Stephen parodied this by using Reagan in place of the n-word, after Obama quoted Reagan in his calls to raise taxes on the rich.
- He also had an idea for Southerners who are offended by the word "slaveowner" to do the same thing that black people did with the N-word. He then starts calling everybody "slayvah" (e.g. "slayvah, please").
- There were issues with this word in regard to Executive Meddling over Chappelle's Show, and apparently this is one of the reasons Dave abandoned it. On the show itself, parodied with the "Niggar Family" sketch.
- A running gag of a Mind of Mencia sketch involves Carlos Mencia attempting to get a license plate with some permutation of letters similar to the N-word. (Claiming his family is Indian and their family name is Neega, etc.) Finally, he asks for a plate with the word "wetback" (an equivalent word, but used to attack Mexicans) and is immediately approved.
- Spoofed on an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry suspects a dentist converted to Judaism just so he could say Jewish jokes.
Priest: And this offends you as a Jewish person?
Jerry: No, it offends me as a comedian!
- In another episode, after Jerry accidentally offended an Asian mailman by asking him directions to a Chinese restaurant (figuring that as a mailman, he would know the neighborhood), he laments, "Since when am I not allowed to ask a Chinese man where a Chinese restaurant is? When someone asks me "Hey Jerry, which way to Israel" I don't fly off the handle about it!"
- On The Muppet Show, pigs are particularly sensitive to non-pigs who make reference to the meat of pigs, even the mention of Sir Francis Bacon as part of a panel discussion on whether he was the true author of works attributed to William Shakespeare. Pigs, on the other hand, can make such jokes freely.
- Cold Case is an interesting, uh, case. Even in episodes dealing with Philadelphia's history of racial tension, the N word is never used. Instead, the show has co-opted the word "critter" — which is not actually an ethnic slur in the real world -- and treats it in-universe as an equivalent to the N word.
- A variation on this appeared on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip when Matt writes a sketch in which Jesus Christ rises from the dead to become the president of network Standards and Practices. The result is that everyone in the scene ends up saying "Jesus Christ" a bunch of times—something standards would not ordinarily allow—and the ACTUAL standards & practices people would have had a hard time stopping him.
- There was a similar skit on Conan O'Brien's Late Night. Two priests are berating Conan for questioning the doctrines of Catholicism (Conan's faith). In the midst of this, Jesus himself walks out onto the stage, causing a shocked Conan to yell, "JESUS CHRIST".
- Andy Sipowicz of NYPD Blue was a fairly mild - but still straight-up - racist in the show's early years (from a combination of his father's racist attitude influencing him, and his distaste at being placed undercover to infiltrate a left-leaning militant black group just after his return from Vietnam). He began to get over it when he arrested a black man who taunted Sipowicz by saying that he was "dealing with a nigger who knows how the system works", causing Sipowicz to respond that he was "dealing with a nigger who's too dumb to know when someone's trying to help him." After the man's death, which Andy felt responsible for, Sipowicz apologized to the man's young daughter for referring to her father with "that word". The man's wife coldly told her daughter to remember that Sipowicz was "the man that called your daddy a nigger", causing Sipowicz to later emotionally lament the woman "telling that little girl to hate me", and also realize that his attitude was helping perpetuate the cycle.
- In the Wizards of Waverly Place episode "Third Wheel", Alex and her new wizard friend make fun of media portrayals of wizards by donning pointy hats and beards. When Harper tries to join in the fun by holding her hair in front of her face and pretending it's a beard, both Alex and Justin tell her it's offensive.
- Sanford and Son used the n-word (in its slightly modified form as "nigga" or "niggaz") on a few occasions, but these scenes were later edited or redubbed. One such scene, an early allusion to the "Driving While Black" phenomenon (long before that phrase became commonplace), yielded what is said to be the biggest studio audience laugh reaction of the entire series, yet it has routinely been cut in syndication.
- The N-Word has been used exactly once in all five Star Trek series (making up hundreds of episodes), in the Deep Space Nine episode “Far Beyond the Stars.“ By a black dude. In the 1950s. And you could feel the tension when he said it.
- There was an episode of The Original Series ("The Savage Curtain," a.k.a. "The Lincoln Episode) where (a recreation of) Abraham Lincoln refers to Lieutenant Uhura as "a charming Negress," then immediately follows it up with "Oh, forgive me, my dear. I know in my time some used that term as a description of property." Uhura's response: "But why should I object to that term, sir? You see, in our century we've learned not to fear words."
- In one episode of How I Met Your Mother Marshall says 'something' that offends his travel buddy Daphne, and she is shown yelling "You don't get to call us that! Only we're allowed to call ourselves that!" To which he responds "...I'm sorry I called you a Trekkie."
- This Hour Has 22 Minutes has a sketch parodying the Kramer rant where Gavin Crawford interrupts a co-anchor's report to apologize for saying "the n-word". We then see a clip of him shouting "Newfies!" a couple of times. Search "Gavin Crawford says the n-word" on Youtube to find. This Hour Has 22 Minutes is filmed in Halifax (Nova Scotia) and has had a predominately Atlantic Canadian cast, although Crawford is from the Prairies. He's also been in several sketches as a fish out of water around Newfoundlanders. There's one where he's an military officer doing rescue work in Newfoundland and people keep trying to help him unnecessarily, even when they're ridiculously injured. Then the Newfoundlanders talk behind their backs about him not being a good guest and letting them fuss over him. The other one is a spoof of a crime drama where he has no idea what anyone is saying to him - accidentally letting a suspect go and not realizing a woman is hitting on him as a result.
- Rescue Me subverts this to hell and back. More specifically the scene where the crew is forced into Sensitivity Training. Damn near every racial slur in the book gets brought up in the five-minute scene.
- Despite his typically free usage of racial slurs, the N-word was left unsaid by Archie Bunker until eight seasons into All in the Family. In the episode "Two's A Crowd," Mike learns the origins of Archie's bigoted ways (his abusive father) while the two are locked in the storage room of Archie Bunker's Place. At one point, Archie relates a story of how a black student in his school beat the hell out of him, after Archie called him a nigger - because "that's what they called those people in them days."
- A few seasons earlier, in the episode "Lionel's Engagement," Archie frowns upon George Jefferson's use of the word.
- There was a whole episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that revolved around Larry getting into trouble for telling a story and quoting someone saying "nigger" and then avoiding usage of the word when telling people what happened when a black person was present.
- The second episode of Louie opens with Louie and his comedian friends discussing whether it's okay to say "faggot" (one of these friends being gay) on stage or not. Said gay friend says that he personally is not very affected, but for any other gay people who would be in the audience, the word's very powerful, as they've most likely had it hurled at them repeatedly, or said while they were being beaten. The gay friend also said while he had no problem with Louie using it because "he knows he's joking", he would not let another card buddy (who has a habit of always having to have the last word) use it, because "you really mean it". After an uncomfortable silence, said card buddy breaks the ice with a "faggot" joke, which causes all of them (including the gay friend) to burst into laughter.
- In the episode of My Name Is Earl where Joy's affair with Darnell comes out in the form of a Chocolate Baby, Earl is (rightly) questioning Joy and how this could have happened. She doesn't want to admit she cheated, so she tells him that he might have "a repressed black genie," going on about how "his great great grandmother must have let a slave get in a few licks of his own." A black nurse in the room looks at her and says, "Excuse me?" to which Joy replies, "Oh, it' OK, I just had a black baby. I can say it." The nurse just rolls her eyes.
- In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dennis angrily refers to a man from Israel as a Jew. Charlie and Mac immediately stop him, saying that he had offensively used a "hard J." Dennis objects, saying that the man is factually a Jew, but Mac and Charlie insist that context is important. Later Mac refers refers to the same man as a Jew and Charlie tries to stop him, but Mac interrupts, saying that his context was appropriate and that he had thought about it ahead of time.
- Averted in the Reality Show Black and White, which featured an African-American family and a White family switching places with each other (by the use of body paint) in order to experience what it was like to be the other race. The son in the black family explicitly did not care who used the N-word in his presence, whether they were black or white. The rest of his family felt that he should take the matter more seriously than he did and, most interestingly, a white girl with whom he was acquainted objected to his use of the word.
- Davis is under the impression he has privileges despite being white, since he lives in a predominantly black neighborhood. He's violently taught otherwise. In fact he was verbatim quoting a black person at the time, but the people overhearing the remark didn't know that, or didn't care.
- Later, Delmond is offended by New Yorkers criticizing New Orleans, despite often saying the same things himself. "I get to say that. They don't!"
- Implied in an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where Peralta complains that he won't be able to sing along to his favorite rap songs when in the same car as Captain Holt (who is black).
- Key And Peele has a sketch which is an advertisement for a smartphone app called the "negrometer", which examines the darkness or lightness of the user's skin and determines whether they have N-word privileges. Dark-skinned individuals and families cheerfully announce, "We can say it!" while a white man in a suit and tie announces, just as cheerfully, "Not a chance! I'd like to, but now I know I can't."
- The hosts of Queer Eye routinely called themselves and each other "fag," "queen" and so on, while the straight guys they made over stuck with "gay." (Even the title was a bit edgy, since positive uses of "queer" weren't much heard in the straight world outside of academia.)
- The creators of Hogan's Heroes cast Jewish actors for many of the characters (particularly the German ones) to dispel any potential complaints that the show's lightheartedness was a disservice to the victims of the Holocaust.
- Hip Hop: Black rappers say the N-word constantly. White rappers do not. Hispanic rappers, oddly enough, do say the N-word, however.
- Curtis Mayfield's work often touched on themes of racial strife. See: "Mighty Mighty (Spade and Whitey)" with the Impressions. The N-word turns up in "Pusherman" (sung from the viewpoint of a ghetto drug dealer) and "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go" (a protest song).
- In 1969, in the U.K., in the course of being interviewed by a Nova magazine reporter, artist Yoko Ono said, "... woman is the nigger of the world"; three years later, her husband, John Lennon, published the song "Woman is the Nigger of the World" (1972) - about the virtually universal exploitation of woman - proved socially and politically controversial to U.S. sensibilities. It's worth noting, though, that many prominent black entertainers of the day were among the most ardent defenders of the song.
- Almost subverted by Eminem, who refuses to follow his rap peers and use the N-word in his hits, even though he used the derogatory term on a tape he recorded as a teenager. The rapper has repeatedly apologized for the slip-up, which was recorded when he was 16, and he insists he's far from comfortable about using the N-word in songs these days. He says, "It's just a word I don't feel comfortable with. It wouldn't sound right coming out of my mouth. If a white kid came up to me and said it, I probably would look at him funny. And if given the time to sit down with him I'd say, 'Look, just don't say the word. It's not meant to be used by us.'"
- Averted then played straight with the reaction to Elvis Costello's song "Oliver's Army", which contained the lines "All it takes is one itchy trigger / One more widow, one less white nigger." The song came under fire in the US, as many felt the slur was targeted towards blacks. The song was actually about British imperialism and oppression of the Irish by English loyalists ("Oliver" being Oliver Cromwell), the "white nigger" slur referring to the Irish as a common insult (still) used by their oppressors. Elvis's father soon came out in his son's defense, as Elvis is of Irish descent. The song is hardly censored when played on radio stations in the UK.
- Marilyn Manson is infamous for pushing arbitrary boundaries, and that includes dropping the N-Bomb in his songs. With Manson being very white and wearing makeup to make him seem whiter, one would think this would cause controversy...except the most famous example was probably his cover of Patti Smith's "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" (see below) on the Smells Like Children album. Smells Like Children was right about when he blew up and became known in the mainstream consciousness, and people were already incensed over his "satanic" imagery and lyrics. (This was the mid-90s, queerrecall.) That being said, it still didn't stop people, even his fans, from occasionally getting pissed at him when he'd sing it on tour. The video Dead to the World covers his Antichrist Superstar tour, where he was threatened with incarceration if he said the dreaded N-word, or did anything else the cops didn't like, so he had a black man cover his cover. During another performance of it, someone managed to bean him on the head with a glass bottle.
- The word also appears in "Irresponsible Hate Anthem," where it was much less controversial, partially because the lyrics are borderline-incomprehensible anyway and partially because it was used in an obviously non-racial context. Whether this makes it okay or not is up for debate.
- Patti Smith's "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" drew criticism, though generally not outrage, at the time. Most people understood that Smith was trying to redefine the word, but she didn't have the clout for the idea to gain traction, which it probably wouldn't have even if Bruce Springsteen had recorded it and sent it to #1. There were no widely known covers of the song until it was featured on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, after which a handful emerged, including Marilyn Manson's.
- Demonstrated by the NOFX album White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean, referring of course to the members of the band.
- Speaking of the term heeb, that's an in-group reclamation of the anti-Jewish slur "hebe" (from "Hebrew"). Its original and most notable use is in the title of the counter cultural magazine Heeb: The New Jew Review. The founding editor, Jennifer Bleyer, claimed that the staff chose the new spelling for "design purposes," but it seems more likely that they wanted to avoid misplaced protests from Jewish advocacy groups (which they've gotten anyway).
- The album was originally entitled White Trash, Two Kikes and a Spic, before one of the band member's grandmothers complained.
- NOFX exhibited this trope during a live show recently. Fat Mike, the Jewish lead singer, told this joke: "Why do German shower heads have eleven holes? Because Jews have ten fingers." Ouch.
- Similarly, dc Talk had an interlude on their "Free at Last" CD that said they were "just two Honks and a Negro, serving the Lord."
- Also, the interracial R&B band Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers was originally named "Four Niggers and a Chink", referring to the fact that four of its members were black, and one was Chinese. The "Chink" in question was Tommy Chong, who would later become a comedian and half of Cheech And Chong.
- Tim Minchin has a song a song about prejudice and words that impart it. The first part of the song gives the letters "a couple of G's, an R and E, an I and an N..." It then averts the "n-word" in favor of the word "ginger" (which Tim is), making this also a T-Word Euphemism song.
- "One In a Million" by Guns N' Roses. Axl thought he did... he doesn't.
- Ice-T defended the song, saying that he wasn't offended because he didn't think Axl was racist. Guns N Roses were early supporters of Ice's metal band Body Count.
- David Allan Coe's come under fire for this. His 1977 single "If That Ain't Country" contains the line "workin' like a nigger". Furthermore, he released a pair of underground comedy albums through the back pages of a biker magazine, Nothing Sacred (1979) and Underground Album (1982), containing, in addition to a lot of sexually explicit humor, a couple of songs that have been slammed by critics as being racist, after Coe started selling the albums through his website, particularly the track Nigger Fucker (at the beginning of DAVID ALLAN COE - 18 X-Rated Hits ). It's noteworthy that Coe's drummer on these albums was African-American and married to a white woman, and Coe himself also said in defense of the albums that he has long, dreadlocked hair and dresses like "a New York pimp". "Nigger Fucker" arguably comes across most clearly as satire because of its raunchy sex jokes, but Coe's other controversial underground song, "Rails", is pretty unnerving due to containing the lyrics "niggers made me vote for segregation" and "the Ku Klux Klan is bigger, so take the sheets off of your bed and let's go hang a nigger". The fact that Coe had a black drummer on that song doesn't help.
- There's also instances of Fan Dumb related to these songs, and you can find some idiot fans on YouTube videos of Coe's songs expressing racist viewpoints. Mainstream journalists weren't much help, either, as a New York Times piece was so poorly researched that it incorrectly identifies a lyric from the white supremacist singer Johnny Rebel's song "Some Niggers Never Die (They Just Smell That Way)" as being from one of Coe's X-rated albums, even though country biographers had identified Johnny Rebel as a Cajun singer named Clifford Joseph Trahan, and neither this song, nor any other Johnny Rebel song, appear on Coe's albums. (In fact, the Johnny Rebel song in question was featured in Crispin Glover's avant-garde movie What Is It?, if you want to confirm the performing credits.)
- Coe's collaboration with Pantera, Rebel Meets Rebel, contains a song called "Cherokee Cry", which reeforces Coe's statement that the racially-themed songs from his X-rated albums were satire, as "Cherokee Cry" is very sympathetic to the plight of Native Americans in the United States.
- Public Enemy's "I Don't Wanna Be Called Yo Niga".
- In Blaze Ya Dead Homie's "Juggalo Anthem": "Niggas kick the anthem like this / Juggalos up in this bitch".
- Also Twiztid. In Blaze's "Here I Am" (which featured Madrox and Monoxide), they got in on the fun. Here's a piece of the chorus: "Here I Am / I'm right here, dawg. Well here I am / Right here, nigga!" And let's not even get into "Old School Pervert".
- The Dead Kennedys song "Holiday in Cambodia" uses the word, though it's mocking the type of rich, spoiled kids, who would brag that they "know how the niggers feel cold and the slums have so much soul". Also worth noting, that the Dead Kennedys had a black drummer for a period of time.
- Though when Serj Tankian and the Foo Fighters covered this song live, they opted for the word "Brothers" instead.
- On The Firesign Theatre's comedy album How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All?, there is this song "What makes America Great?":
It's candied apples and ponies with dapples
you can ride all day!
It's girls with pimples
And cripples with dimples
that just won't go away !
It's spics and wops and niggers and kikes
with noses as long as your arm!
It's micks and chinks and gooks and geeks
and honkies (Honk! Honk!)
who never left the farm!
- Pink Floyd used the word "coon" in "In The Flesh" and "Waiting for the Worms" to represent a stereotypical neo-Nazi viewpoint. No huge controversy ensued, largely because The Wall's second half is a pretty obvious Take That at neo-Nazis.
- Randy Newman's "Rednecks" and "Christmas in Cape Town", both sung from the viewpoint of racist characters, feature the n-word among other slurs.
- X used several such slurs to describe the thoughts of the racist protagonist of "Los Angeles".
- Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy avoided the trope, but occasionally wrote lines such as "down in Skid Row, where only black men can go", that would be considered inappropriate if sung by a white man.
- One notable and controversial violation can be found in the Murder Remix version of the Jennifer Lopez song I'm Real, where Jennifer drops an N-bomb completely out of nowhere and unprovoked. Her excuse was the fact that the song itself was written by Ja Rule.
- The Offspring's song "LAPD" from their album Ignition. It's actually part of the chorus, "Beat all the niggers, beat whoever you see. Don't need a reason. LAPD!" This song while using it in a derogatory sense is supposed to be from the point of view of the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Wale's song "The Kramer" addresses the issue of rappers saying "nigga" in songs they know are being listened to by white kids who repeat it and say it themselves and around their black friends.
- Japan got away with it in "...Rhodesia", mostly because a line like "Oh, Nazis in full attack/Burning niggers in a cotton field" can't really be construed as endorsing Rhodesia's then-racist government.
- The Swedish Rap Metal band Clawfinger has a song titled "Nigger" on their debut album, the song itself has a lot of anti-racist lyrics and anti-racism is a common theme in their music. But due to the fact that the band members are all white this caused a lot of controversy and caused the track to be pulled off of North American releases. The track was replaced by a song titled "Get It" which the lyrics contain a slew of the most vulgar and angry words they could come up with, but none of it could be interpreted as racist so it was okay.
- Kreayshawn, the (white) rapper who did "Gucci Gucci" is getting in roughly one shitstorm per week over this, thanks to her so-called "White Girl Mob."
- When Anya Marina (a white singer) covered T.I.'s "Whatever You Like", she changed some of the lyrics from "niggas" to "brothers", presumably because of this trope.
- Because of Unfortunate Implications, Nigga, a singer from Panama, is known as Flex in North America.
- Nas' self-titled/untitled album was originally going to be titled Nigger.
- Nigga Nigga Nigga by Gangsta Rap takes this Up to Eleven. Every second line consists of the n-word repeated 8 times.
- The song Everyday Normal Crew by Canadian comedian Jon Lajoie features the following exchange:
"This is my nigga K.C.!"
"What the fuck you just call me?"
"Sorry... I'll say friend. This is my friend K.C., the only black friend in the group[...]"
- When all-white rock group Dynamite Hack had a novelty hit with their calm, acoustic-guitar-based cover of Eazy-E's "Boyz N The Hood", they kept the line "young niggas on the path throwin' up gang signs", although the version played on radio of course blanked it out along with other potentially offensive language. This didn't go without controversy, but the band defended it as an effort to not tone down the content of the original.
- The song "Elvis Ate America" off of the Passengersnote album Original Soundtracks 1, has Bono naming different things attributed to Elvis Presley, and includes the line "Elvis, the white nigger".
- Sort of with Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, who is bisexual and frequently uses the word "fag."
- Cracker, a band led by Camper Van Beethoven's Davide Lowery, are named after a racial slur aimed at whites because he admitted that their country rock sound was "totally white". It's a subtle example, since the word can mean other things.
- Real life subversion: One early Pearls Before Swine strip had a joke about a ridiculously unhygienic Greek restaurant. A lot of people missed the memo that Stephan Pastis is Greek and complained.
- This is fairly common, when one considers that Borat has been labeled anti-semitic (Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish), and so has Family Guy (which has a number of Jewish writers).
- The Boondocks usually censors it but the practice is still in place with the characters. At one point, two opposing sides of the debate N.G.R.O.E. and N.G.G.R. are presented and contrasted. The author himself uses the word in real life.
- WWE Diva Ashley Massaro once said in an interview that Kelly Kelly, who is reportedly Jewish (though with her blonde hair and light blue eyes, she doesn't look it), is a big fan of the movie Borat - which is chock-full of anti-Semitic "humor" so vicious that even Mel Brooks probably wouldn't touch it.
- Eddie Guerrero: "You wanna be Latino? If you're not cheating, you're not trying!"
- A more literal example from Booker T.
- While talking with John Cena at the 2005 Survivor Series, Vince McMahon said "What's up my nigga?" Meanwhile, Booker T was watching from a short distance away as Vince walked off, and said "Tell me...I did not just hear that."
- Montel Vontavious Porter's song, Ghetto Strong Style, which he and Shelton Benjamin used as their tag team entrance music for New Japan Pro Wrestling, makes liberal use of these privileges and includes a sampling of Booker T's infamous line.
- Subverted with Rich Swann's Back Flip Nika Kick. Nika, with a k, kay? The fact that he calls one of his finishing moves the "Fried Chicken Driver" might be a straight example though.
- Deconstructed by George Carlin.
There's a different group to get pissed off at you in this country for everything your not supposed to say. Can't say Nigger, Boogie, Jig, Jigaboo, Skinhead, Moolimoolinyon, Schwarzer, Junglebunny. Greaser, Greaseball, Dago, Guinea, Wop, Ginzo, Kike, Zebe, Hebe, Yid, Mocky, Himie, Mick, Donkey, Turkey, Limey, Frog. Zip, Zipperhead, Squarehead, Kraut, Heinie, Jerry, Hun, Slope, Slopehead, Chink, Gook. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those words in and of themselves. They're only words. It's the context that counts. It's the user. It's the intention behind the words that makes them good or bad. The words are completely neutral. The words are innocent. I get tired of people talking about bad words and bad language. Bullshit! It's the context that makes them good or bad. The context. That makes them good or bad. For instance, you take the word "Nigger." There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word "Nigger" in and of itself. It's the racist asshole who's using it that you ought to be concerned about. We don't mind when Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy say it. Why? Because we know they're not racist. They're Niggers! Context. Context. We don't mind their context because we know they're black. Hey, I know I'm whitey, the blue-eyed devil, paddy-o, fay gray boy, honkey, mother-fucker myself. Don't bother my ass. They're only words. You can't be afraid of words that speak the truth, even if it's an unpleasant truth, like the fact that there's a bigot and a racist in every living room on every street corner in this country.
- George Carlin actually got away with using the word nigger during one of his HBO specials, while mocking the founding fathers. "This country was founded by white slave owners who wanted to be free. 'All men are created equal' - yeah, except Indians and women and niggers, right?" Note that despite being white, the context of this quote resulted in a lot of black audience members clapping and/or nodding along with what he was saying.
- Carlin once said if he had to choose what race he was, he said he never liked Caucasian, because it sounded like a shoe style (Gimme a pair of Caucasians, size 9!) or an illegal operation (She's had to go to Mexico for 3 Caucasians already!), and he always preferred the term "blue-eyed devil".
- Richard Pryor also deconstructed the trope a lot in his act. He ended up renouncing his n-word privileges following a trip to Africa in which he found no... you know.
- Reginald D. Hunter likes to include the word in the titles of his standup tours.
- Rich Vos, following a tasteful joke about Obama's black heritage to an audience filled with black people enjoying the show, only to be called out by one black audience member. Naturally, he chose to question it:
They're all upset about the white guy talking about black people. Loosen up. Turn on any black comedy and watch black comics trash white people for an hour. "White people crazy! They pay taxes! Crazy ass crackers!".
- Brazilian group Casseta & Planeta had a Black and a few Jews on their squad, so they used this as a justification for any politically incorrect humor with slurs. A skit had said the black member doing a soliquoly and being interrupted:
-Shut up, nigger!
-Nigger like those who built Brazil...
-Shut up, darky!
-Darky like Pelé
, who even screwed Xuxa
-Shut up, spook!
-Spook my ass, motherfucker!
- Louis C.K. has said in a routine that he prefers for people to just say the word, rather than saying "The N Word". His reasoning is that it forces the person hearing "The N Word" to think of the actual word, so you might as well just say it and take responsibility yourself instead of making others think it involuntarily.
- Donald Glover talks about this, saying that some black people just can't say the n-word.
(Imitating Obama) "We stand here today, there are still some Americans who don't believe I have their best interests at heart, and I'd like to put those fears to rest today. But before I do that, I'd like to talk about how niggas be trippin'. They be trippin'. Niggas be trippin. Especially when bitches be around."
- He discusses it again in his hour-long special, saying that Charlie Sheen has N-word privileges after he had the audacity to call his white wife a "nigger", and that in order to remove the stigma, more white people have to start using the word casually, even though "we will lose some of you in the process".
- Gary Owen has a pretty creative way of getting around this problem, while admitting to using the word quite frequently when he and other whites are not around blacks.
- Eddie Gossling put it simply:
"Some people wonder why black people can say the N-word and white people can't, and I think it's because we haven't always used it properly in the past. Yeah, we got a little bossy with it. Our N-word privileges have been revoked."
- Elon Gold says that he can say "fag", because he has a brother who is gay and he loves him and accepts him, and that's how it works. He goes on to say that if you have a black family member and you love and accept them... well, then you can say "fag" too, because "you don't want to mess with that other shit".
- Chris Rock has two routines on the subject:
- Comedian Mike Birbiglia inverts this with a small skit on Two Drink Mike. "This black guy came up to me after a show and he says, 'My cracker.' 'Actually, you can't call me a cracker. You can say 'cracka ', but not 'cracker
- Another comedian to have gotten away with it was Bill Hicks, whose "Officer Nigger Hater" routine from Arizona Bay is a big Take That at the LAPD (it's the last in a series of three tracks dealing with the LA riots of 1992). Much like Carlin above, no controversy ensued due to the context (specifically, mocking the acquittal of the officers who beat Rodney King).
- Middle Eastern-origin comedians Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader and Maz Jobrani formed the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, the very name of which invokes this trope. Their acts frequently revolve around the Middle Eastern/Muslim equivalent of N-Word Privileges—terrorism. Jobrani has a joke about how "we're making progress! Because I'm starting to see Asian Drivers in car commercials. But you'll still never see a Middle Eastern pilot in an airline commercial."
- Tim Minchin" "Only a ginger can call another ginger ginger."
- Comedian Lisa Lampanelli, a white woman, claims to have this. Pretty much all of her material revolves around it, though. Gays, Mexicans, Asians...pretty much any separable group aren't safe either. This is mostly because she is, in her words, an equal-opportunity insult comic in the vein of Don Rickles; she's a regular at Roasts and is nicknamed "The Queen of Mean."
- Subverted in a Eugene Mirman joke:
Sometimes people say "I can say fag because I have a gay family member, thus it's okay". That's a horrible reason! See, It's okay for me to say fag, because I am full of hate!
- In Rifts' Underseas, members of the Amphib race (humanoid mutants with fish- or frog-like features) are sometimes teased with names like "Froggy" or "Fish Face" as children. But since Amphibs have been accepted in Tritonian society since before the Great Cataclysm, it's treated as no big deal, and something that the kids eventually outgrow. In other words, Tritonia has F-Word Privileges.
- In Warhammer 40,000, mutants refer to each other as "twists", however a non-mutant use of the word is considered an insult.
- In Shadowrun, the word "trog" (referring to orks and trolls) is used in much the same way as "nigger", including by certain orks and trolls who are trying to defang it.
- In a old psone game called Bust a Groove, two songs, Pinky's theme "I Know" and Hamm's theme "I luv Hamburgers. Both use the n-word.
- Fire Emblem Path of Radiance employs this. The Beorc (humanlike folk) refer to themselves as "human" and the Laguz (beastmen) as "sub-humans", with the latter being an ethnic slur. The Laguz have turned that on its head towards the Beorc. Thanks to the racist member of the party giving him the wrong impression, Ike thinks that "sub-human" is the correct term for Laguz but after realising its real connotations he stops using it and starts addressing both races by their proper terms.
- Arguably in Fallout 3, the term Ghoul referring to anyone whose flesh has been flaked away by radiation. They've also been called zombies due to their appearance, not to mention many ghouls refer to normal looking people as smoothskins.
- In Psychonauts, the term spoon-bender, an offensive term for psychics, is used by the psychics themselves. In their community, it implies the use of psychic powers in petty ways.
- In Zettai Hero Project, after repeatedly referring to himself as a "loser underdog", Bizarro Frank gets very mad at Etranger when she does the same (because, unlike him, she isn't a loser underdog herself).
- In Mass Effect 3 you can find Joker talking with EDI about an old Rachni Wars joke (2,000 years old), dealing with a Salarian and a Krogan and playing off racial stereotypes. The Salarian is twitchy and nervous while the Krogan is bloodthirsty and callous. EDI comments on how insensitive the joke is but Joker points out that the joke is one that is told equally by both Salarians and Krogan, commenting on the idea that being able to share a joke like that helps you get past your other issues.
- Played for Laughs in Skullgirls; Cat Girl Miss Fortune has this reaction when someone asks her if she can haz cheeseburger. She says it herself to (relatively-normal human) Filia without comment.
- When Tatsudoshi hosts his Spam Plays, he and his guests usually leave their humour completely uncensored...except for "nigger", which only The Khold One is allowed to use because he's Southern. Hilariously inverted during the Spam Play of Mirror's Edge, where Khold becomes a bit too trigger-happy with his Cluster N Bombs and Tatsudoshi takes away his "nigger privileges" for a few episodes, and later imposes a limit on the number of N-bombs per episode.
- But apparently, the constant flow of Asian jokes were just fine, except when Khold said 'Rice N*** er', that counted as two. (Ding)
- The image board 4 Chan defies this trope, using the word "fag" to refer to everyone. Anonymous who draw are "drawfags", writers are "writefags", and there are even a few Christians on the boardnote who refer to themselves as "Christfags". They also like to use the word "nigger" to refer to certain black people, much like the Chris Rock routine mentioned above. Interestingly, some Anons have forsaken the "-fag" suffix in favor of "-friend".
- Most likely those people are newfags.
- The term's use as a suffix meaning "person" is also taken to its logical conclusion, and in threads about sexuality, you'll see "straightfags," and yes— "gayfag."
- "Limey!? How dare you!"
- Taken literally on Immersion where one of the insults shouted in Online Gaming Distractions actually is "N-Word!" (by a white man to a white man)
- "Ninjaology" concerns the privileges of a different N-Word altogether.
- Averted in Snoop meets Parappa, a mashup of Snoop Dogg and Parappa The Rapper, by having the player "miss" the lyric instead of causing Parappa to successfully repeat Snoop's N-word.
- Diamanda Hagan, despite being portrayed as (almost) utterly evil, still doesn't have these privileges, as she found out when trying to review a film with the n-word in the title.
- In that same video she is pissed when the censor machine goes haywire and it lets pass many other racial slurs, but one word is censored that she does have privilege to say (possibly 'mick', as Diamanda is Irish).
Diamanda: I can't say *BLEEP*? I am a lesbian *BLEEP*! Who built that damn thing?!?
Minion: You did, mistress! I think you were drunk!
- The Nostalgia Chick, a self-admitted bigot who likes to thinks she's a Sassy Black Woman, threw a bit of a sulk when Nella turned the hoover on just as she was about to say the N word.
- "Oh, come on, I can't say m[beep!]t?"
- The Rap Critic has it, but chooses not to say it directly out of choice - at the end of his "Bitch Bad" review, he lectures the audience on the song's belief that reclaiming slurs for which you have these privileges (like the song's use of "bitch") just reinforces the need for the ugly version of the slur to exist, and then adds, "isn't that right, ni - " before being cut off by the end credits. However, he has used the word in writing, while criticising songs (using macro images). He also sung it in a skit imagining Black Rob experimenting with his sexuality, quoting from his song "Whoa".
- In contrast, Todd in the Shadows censored out the word in his subtitles when reviewing "N***s in Paris", or attempted to - the subtitles instead censoring out "P***s", much to his frustration.
- Beached Az had the koalas that refer to everyone as "bear" but that's their word and the whale is not allowed to use it.
- From Ultra Fast Pony:
Dragon: What's a pegger like you doing out of the fields?
Fluttershy: Oh, hell no! You can't say that word! Only pegasus' can say that word!
- In the Let's Play series Mario Party TV, the Ztars (or Dark Stars, or Shadow Stars, or whatever you call them) are nicknamed 'nigga-stars' by most of the players, and the phrase is used liberally. Lampshaded at one point when one of them (the Token White) argued that they should be more 'politically correct' and call them "African-American" stars. It should be noted that the majority of the MPTV cast members are black.
- This was played around with in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, where "flatscan" is a derogatory term used by some superhumans for normal human beings. When the supervillain Armageddon, leader of a metahuman supremacy group, dismissed Diamond (a Powered Armor wearing heroine) as "an uppity flatscan in a tin suit", she told him flat out that he didn't have "F-Word Privileges" before blasting him with her lasers.
- Homophobic slurs get dropped from time to time in Where The Bears Are, but from the gay cast members.
- In Yahtzee's "Let's Drown Out" series of videos, his co-host Gabriel has used his own past history dealing with severe clinical depression as a basis for taking "reactionary" positions on "culture of victimhood" issues.
- Disney Theme Parks reviewer Some Jerk with a Camera is a Jew. So he has multiple jokes about Jews, Jewish stereotypes, Michael Eisner being a Greedy Jew, and a few jokes about the Holocaust. His N-Word Privileges are lampshaded in a crossover review with Animated Analysis on The Black Cauldron.
Jerk: You're just jealous because I'm allowed to make Holocaust jokes!
Stephan: That doesn't matter!
Jerk: Hey everyone! Stephan just said the Holocaust doesn't matter!
- Team Fortress 2 YouTuber Muselk enjoys taunting Snipers about being a "dirty Australian", being Australian himself.
- Spoofed in South Park in quite a few episodes.
"STUPID FAT MOTHERFUCKING JEW!!"
- A whole episode of The Boondocks is devoted to the subject when a white teacher calls Riley a "nigga", who complains that Riley himself uses it so much that it loses all meaning to those around him. Riley and Grandad celebrate what they see as a chance to sue the school district, but nothing comes of it and nothing is resolved. Considered Truth in Television, since this was a parody of an actual event.
- Subverted when Ed and Rumy, who are white, address each other as the n-word, and no one seems to think that is odd. Of course it helps when your dad 'owns the police'. Of course, Ed and Rumy are voiced by Samuel L. Jackson and Charlie Murphy, who enjoy the privilege in Real Life.
- The whole concept of a "Nigga Moment" or "Nigga Synthesis" (which, when combined, equals a Complete Disaster).
- The infamous "Return of the King" episode takes place in an Alternate Universe where Martin Luther King, Jr. was only rendered comatose by his assassin, and woke up in 2000. Long story short, while he is pleased in some ways he's aghast at many others. At the end, he delivers a scathing speech, starting with "WILL ALL YOU IGNORANT NIGGAS PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP?!" after failing to call the audience's attention more diplomatically. (He then almost immediately apologizes after using the word again, calling it the ugliest word in the English language, but proceeds to use it for emphasis several times during the speech.) He attacks many aspects of the prevailing culture, including Black Entertainment Television, certain aspects of rap music, and the movie Soul Plane, and lists a number of negative qualities of "niggas," and concludes by telling them:
"I've seen what's around the corner. I have seen what is over the horizon, and I promise you, you niggas have nothin' to celebrate! And no, I won't get there with you! I'm going to Canada."
- The episode attracted considerable controversy, including demands from Al Sharpton for a public apology for having King use the phrase "niggas."
- Of course the creator of The Boondocks, Aaron McGruder, is an African-American who feels he has N-Word Privileges. The entire series makes good use of this trope, every episode. In DVD Commentaries, McGruder defends it as something black people hear and say on a daily basis, so to leave it out is a disservice.
- Inverted on The Simpsons, Homer complains about a gay character using "queer." "That's our word for making fun of you. We need it!"
- Also parodied in the "The Haw-Hawed Couple" with the word bully, which only bullies are allowed to use.
- An episode of Family Guy briefly parodies The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn with Peter reminiscing about his ancestor "Huck Griffin". We then see (you guessed it) Nigger Jim — which, despite common belief, he was never called in the book — shouting at Huck for using "their word" when referring to him ("I thought that was your name!"), followed by Huck tentatively asking "N-Word Jim" to pass him the oar. The punchline is that Jim finds this substitute completely acceptable and thanks Huck for his sensitivity.
- Also parodied in Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball where Lois and Peter's recreation of Leia and Han's sniping from the start of The Empire Strikes Back ends with Lois calling Peter a "nerf herder"... at which point Peter punches her in the face and yells, "You can't use that word! Only we can use that word!"
- Shortly after that, we see Peter and Brian are playfully calling each other "my nerf herder".
- In one more recent episode, everyone thinks the world is ending so they're living for the moment. Peter tells Lois that he's going to go to a majority black neighborhood and shout "that word" to see what happens. He returns wearing Requisite Royal Regalia and a sash that reads "King of the Black People", informing Lois "They respected me for it."
- Amazingly not abused on Drawn Together, despite the show sometimes careening into episodes full of Vulgar Humor. In fact the only outright racist things said are all said by resident Cloud Cuckoolander Wooldoor Sockbat when he's in scientist mode and the satirically naive and gated Clara. Neither one of them use slurs either, just use old 'white' justifications and reasoning in their rants/research. They do, however, work stereotypes into show canon, like the one episode with Minstrel Foxxy. Possibly because they couldn't come close to topping the South Park examples without being canned. (Unfortunately, they did anyway!)
- That may be true with regard to black slurs, but there are other examples of the trope in evidence. Both creators are Jewish, and the show is filled to the brim with jokes about Jews and Judaism. (This is also an example of Self-Deprecation.)
- Referenced in a The Cleveland Show episode: When Rollo accuses Cleveland of breaking his leg, eating all his fish sticks and tater tots, sitting in his chair, and calling him the N-word, Cleveland shrugs and says "I'm allowed to, right?" In another episode Lester, mistaking every black person he sees in New York as Cleveland, uses "that word you call Rollo all the time" off screen. He is going to be killed until Cleveland turns up to rescue him and invokes an apparently well-known rule to the crowd that he gets one free pass on use of the word if he has one black friend.
- WARNING: Results may vary.
- The show has to tread somewhat lightly in this department, largely because Cleveland himself is voiced by a white guy. It even drew flak before the first episode aired for referencing his "happy black-guy" face in the theme song.
- In a non-verbal example, one episode features a situation where Cleveland has disguised himself as Lester, complete with whiteface; Holt enters dressed as Cleveland in blackface, to which Cleveland angrily responds "We may dress up as you, but you may NEVER dress up as us!"
- In another episode, Cleveland, having been recently crowned "the whitest black person in America," responds with horror to the word "cracker" that "that word is just as offensive to them as the N-word is to us!" Token White Guy Federline corrects him that it's "not even close."
- Played with in American Dad!, episode "White Rice." Francine has a budding stand-up comic career based on her experiences growing up... as a white girl adopted by a Chinese family (she performs under her unmarried name, "Francine Ling"). Her catchphrase is "I can say it; you can't!". Her privileges are later revoked, however, as as her sitcom is pulled after one Asian joke.
- Subverted on King of the Hill. Khan, a Laotian, attempts to make a good first impression on some of his Asian friends by making jokes about his heritage. Turns out they're not amused.
Khan: (showing off his pool) My redneck neighbors built it for me! Maybe I'll make them build a railroad next- how's that for revenge?
Ted: Khan, the railroads were built by the Chinese, not Laotians.
Khan: Same difference.
(The other Laotians gasp)
Khan: I-It's a joke! (beat) Maybe too far?
- There's also Bobby's innocent but horrible "Amazing Jesus" escapade in front of an entire Methodist church... and nobody is amused.
- John Callhans Quads would have been yanked off the air in seconds for the way it mocks disabled people... if John Callahan himself weren't a quadriplegic who draws with his mouth. His comics are even worse.
- Indian Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh was famously put in charge of a Chicago drug gang for a day. In his book, Gang Leader For A Day, he describes how his attempt to talk the part became awkward when he asked a man to "talk to me, nigger" who had just been perfectly okay with the real gang leader saying the exact same thing seconds previously. Needless to say everyone else involved was black. In fact the real leader drew a class distinction between Black, African-American and Nigger and had earlier refused to identify as black.
- Dan Savage's original name for his column was "Hey, Faggot!", partially because at the beginning he was mostly interested in giving straight people shitty dating/sex advice (much like how straight advice columnists gave gay people shitty dating advice), and partially to show his allegiance in a debate raging at the time in the LGBT community about whether or not to reclaim the words "faggot" and "fag" (Savage being on the reclaiming side of the argument) He eventually changed it to "Savage Love" when he got more serious about the advice giving game.
- Controversy ensued at the 2011 Slutwalk NYC after a white woman was photographed with a sign quoting the "Woman is the nigger of the world" lyric from John Lennon. The situation only got worse after other white feminists sided with the sign's creator rather than the offended women of color, claiming that her intent was valid even if it was badly mishandled.
- The English Premier League has a curious example involving Tottenham Hotspur FC. The club are from an area of London with a traditionally high Jewish population, and some of the supporters, and at times owners, have been Jewish. This has led supporters of other teams, often those with particularly strong extreme-right-wing tendencies, to insult Spurs and their supporters as "Yids". Some Spurs supporters embrace the name, whether they are Jewish or not, and call themselves the "Yid Army". As a result, there has been ongoing debate about whether it is OK for Jewish or non-Jewish Spurs supporters to call themselves "Yids" or whether it's an anti-Semitic slur that shouldn't even be used affectionately or as a self-definition. Even David Cameron found it necessary to weigh in on the subject.
- Ghanaian-Italian footballer Mario Balotelli got in trouble in December 2014 with the English Premier League due to their non-acceptance of N-Word Privileges. Balotelli tweeted a joke about his namesake, Nintendo's Mario, saying "Don’t be racist — be like Mario. He’s an Italian plumber created by Japanese people who speaks English and looks like a Mexican, jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a jew." As a black man with a Jewish foster-mother, Balotelli might reasonably have expected to have N-Word Privileges here. The FA disagreed.