The N Word.


That’s right.  The “N” Word.

Unlike The F Word, the N word was totally acceptable at my house growing up.


It was a word used careless and fancy free, without a flinch from anyone.




All of that changed when I was 19.  When I got on a plane and flew several thousand miles around the world.



All of a sudden, it was inexplicably a curse word in my brain.


It had history and meaning and baggage.


I couldn’t say it anymore.  That’s right.  I couldn’t say:




“Ugh, you’re such a grammar Nazi.”




“What are you, the recycling Nazi?”




Even said strictly within the company of Americans, it just felt wrong to say Nazi in Germany.


Silly?  Maybe.


It’s also when my increasing fascination with the elderly began.   Suddenly I couldn’t help but wonder, couldn’t help but curiously peer at every old man that walked down the street.  Had they been children during the war?  Did they remember?  Did they want me to call them the takes-a-walk-every-day Nazi?


Perspective does funny things to you.


What perspective shift changed your viewpoint as a young person?  Or old, for that matter.


Do you say the N word?




  1. I do say grammar Nazi but I definitely see how that would change when put in that context.

  2. We don’t use the N word, but not because we feel any way about it . . . we just don’t. BUT a word that I’ve ex-nayed from *our* household, since it is common and not a “bad” word, per say, is “tight” as in something that is good. *That* paradigm shifted while I was 19 and with a non-believing boyfriend and he explained to me how guys . . .well, . . . you know, like it “tight. *cough* Hence the association with tight=good. Since then I just can’t stand it.

    • I can’t stand that word. UGH.

    • Jessica says:

      Once I left Germany it didn’t bother me so much anymore. But I definitely had a heightened awareness of using it while I was there.

      And thanks, now you’ve ruined “tight” for me. Lol. Not that I actually used it. But still.

  3. No, I don’t say it. I am trying to think of words or things I have changed my perspective on, but truthfully, my brain is fried.

  4. As a born-again Jew, I don’t much care for any expression using the “n” word. Even that Seinfeld episode bugged me. I sometimes wonder if Jewish people’s DNA is especially wired to cringe against any persecution, name-calling, etc.

    • Jessica says:

      Most Americans really don’t think twice about using it. That whole thing is just so far removed from the current generations, I guess.

  5. I totally get what you are saying. I try not to say any words that have an evil connotation. To me, Nazi is one of the worst.

    • Jessica says:

      Sort of related, when Husband went to India there were swastika’s everywhere. Except it means something totally different over there.

  6. My father came over from France because of the Nazis but I’m not too sensitive to the word. However I would not use it. I love to read and study WWII. If people didn’t have family involved, I think they are very removed from the war.

    On another note, I just discovered your blog from Some Girl’s Website and love it! I’m excited about your book. I have two out and love being part of the publishing process!

    • Jessica says:

      I’m excited about my book, too! Though I basically don’t know what I’m doing. ;)

  7. Guilty as charged…but, truthfully, I only use it in one context: Soup Nazi. Thanks, Seinfeld. ;)

    • Jessica says:

      I pretty much missed the whole Seinfeld era. As soon as it’s instant viewing on Netflix I’m so gonna be on that bandwagon.

  8. Man, I somehow missed this post of yours, but found it at the bottom of one of your recent ones.

    I say “the (whatever) Nazi” all the time. Even though my grandma’s family were German jews! It’s really not something to joke about, is it.

    I had a realization about the other N word when I was a kid in elementary school.

    I grew up in East St. Louis, in an area where whites were the minority. All around me people were tossing out the N word, and it wasn’t a big deal. It was just part of the soundtrack of my little kid life.

    One day some black friends of mine, Abdul and Omar, came knocking on my door. I didn’t get there in time. When I opened the door, they were walking away. I yelled, “Hey! Were you nigger knocking?” And Abdul replied, “No! Were you HONKY knocking?!”

    And suddenly I knew what the N word meant. I guess I’d thought it meant something like “dude.” People said, “What up, nig?” all the time. I really didn’t get the meaning behind the word until then.