Ask McFartnuggets: “I Know You’re Not Allowed to Say The N-Word But Can You Type It?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
Alright so I know you’re not allowed to say the N-word unless you’re Black, sometimes not even then. But what if you’re just typing it like in a text message or email or on a message board? Is that okay then? I’m not talking about calling someone the N-word I mean just typing it out in a general way like a song lyric. Thanks for the help! -- Doug from Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Doug:
This is a little complicated. While the N-word can’t be said out loud in any capacity without offending someone, typing is a little different. It really depends on where it’s being typed, by whom, and in what context . If it’s being typed in a text or even a forum as part of a song lyric it may not be such a big deal if it’s not being directed toward a Black person. On the other hand, regardless of the context if it’s being typed on Twitter or Facebook, you likely will get into some trouble since these are online environments more reflective of an actual social landscape. There are parts of the internet that no one takes seriously like MySpace or Tinder, but if you’re in one of the places that people treat like real life like Amazon or LinkedIn then you should avoid using the N-word at all costs there. For example, you can get in trouble for typing the R-word on Twitter and even though there are far more R-words on Twitter than N-words, you can bet the N-word will cause more problems. I usually stick to never saying or typing anything with an initial followed with a dash and the word “word.” As long as you follow that advice you’ll be safe at least until we can read each other’s minds.

Any time you have a question about the N-word, the answer is usually no.

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