(Gainesville, Ga) On Feb. 22, 2017, Brenau University students gathered in Thurmond McCray for an event hosted by Brenau Greek Life including both Panhellenic and NPHC Sororities, and the Black Students Association (BSA). The event, “Can I say the N-word” was created to provide students at the Brenau Women’s college a safe environment to learn and discuss the topic. A once national problem is now more relevant than some students thought.
BSA provided the event with a PowerPoint presentation to go along with the panel of speakers. Peyton Edwards kicked off the evening by sharing the history of where the “N” word came from. It was a word used to discriminate against blacks as well as other non-whites. Then went on to discuss why the black community felt like it was not okay for anyone else to say the word outside of artistic related instances. She even explained why the word is still used often as a greeting or form of endearment when it is such an oppressive word. She told the students that when they use it in that context it takes the sting away from when a person would use it to cause hurt.
There was a short discussion on whether someone should be allowed to say the word if an artist included it in the lyrics of a song. Some students believed that it was okay as long as it was just while the song was playing. On the other hand, some members of the BSA disagreed saying that it was uncomfortable for them either way.
The Presentation included words that were even used to discriminate against white people to show the microaggressions both races face. Towards the end of the presentation they opened the floor for questions and comments. A national problem hit close to home for students on this campus and although it took nearly three years to address, Brenau and its students are taking action.