Conversations surrounding the use of the N-word, who can say it and who cannot, are happening again in the beauty community — however redundant they may be.
Beauty influencer James Charles was previously dragged for singing the N-word in a YouTube video. Additionally, influencers such as Jeffree Star, Manny MUA, Laura Lee, Gabriel Zamora, Kat Von D, Kathleen Lights, and more have all been accused of racism in one way or another.
The latest culprit is makeup artist Paige Louise (better known as P. Louise), who rose to fame thanks to her eye shadow methods and her famous collection of eye shadow bases. The makeup artist recently attended a Drake concert, where she recorded herself rapping the N-word during the show.
The entire beauty community seems to be up in arms, with many people split on whether or not she should be able to sing the word if it's included in a song — and whether or not this means that she is a "racist."
Now is the time to clarify: Having black friends and a black boyfriend does not automatically mean you aren't a racist.
Stay with me here. I'm not concluding that Louise is a racist. Instead, I'm pointing out that when these situations happen, people who are called out for saying the N-word may want to avoid drafting up a list of all the black people they know; it proves nothing.
It's actually very possible to be a white person who surrounds themselves by black people and still ultimately consider black people to be an inferior group. That's complex, irrational, and stupid — but it's also a fact.
To make things even simpler: Yes, people hang out with people they don't really like all the time. Thus, throwing up the fact that you date and hang out with black people isn't the best defense. Your association with black people should never be used as a "proof I'm not racist" cover.
Your black "friends" should actually be schooling you on this.
It's also important to note that just because the black people in your circle have given you the OK to say the N-word around them doesn't mean it shouldn't be a problem for others.
Your black "friends" should be schooling you about this part as well. If they have approved your use of the N-word, then that is the business of your social circle.
That still doesn't mean that other people will not have a problem with your use of the N-word. You already know the negative reactions that people could have when they hear you, a white person, saying the N-word. Therefore, it would be wise to reserve your freedoms with the word for when you are around your consenting friends only.
When that behavior becomes public, you have to just deal with the ramifications of it. Freedom of speech has a price. That's what you sign up for when you accept that pass from your black "friends."
By the way, if you're wondering why I keep putting "friends" in quotes, it's because no real friend would give you the OK to say a word they know could have such a negative impact without also making sure you're aware that they cannot always control what happens if you say it around the wrong person or people.
Furthermore, it is no one's place to say whether or not any black person has the right to be offended by a white person using the N-word in any capacity.
The responses to this debacle with P. Louise have actually said more about the stance many white people still take on the N-word.
It doesn't matter if Louise was "just singing the lyrics" or that "black people use it themselves." The bottom line is that white people (historically and presently the oppressive group) do not get to decide how black people (historically and presently the oppressed group) get to use or feel about the N-word.
Lots of black people are not OK with white people using it. Period. This one word is something that white people typically are not welcomed to say no matter what the intent is. If not saying one word is going to make or break you, then evaluate why exactly you crave the right to say it so badly.