Last week Gwenyth Paltrow tweeteda photograph of Kanye West and Jay-Z performing in France along with the text: “Ni**as in paris for real.” The tweet started a conversation about her right to use the n-word, even with asterisks. Paltrow defended herself, claiming that it is the name of the song they were performing (which it is).
At Colorlines, Jay Smooth offers a characteristically entertaining and insightful analysis of the incident. What’s interesting, he observes, isn’t so much her use of the word, but her defensiveness about it. Here’s how he puts it:
No matter how justified you feel, as soon as you start arguing about your right to use the n–, that is a sign that you have become too attached to the n–.
He calls on her to apologize and move on with her life because…
The right to use that word is not a right worth fighting for.
A great watch:Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.