A friend of mine — let’s call her Sassy — faced a dilemma this weekend that almost has her ready to tear her lease up and head for the hills.

After a day out, Sassy came home to her white, male roommate having a conversation with a friend of his (also white). She only caught the convo on its tail end, but she did hear him say “…then I’ll just be like, ‘whatever, nigger,’ and charge her the rest.”

Sassy was sure he’d heard her coming, so she was shocked both that he was using the word and that he didn’t even bother editing it out before she came in. She stopped short and looked at him like he must be crazy, but he didn’t apologize or even seem guilty, just asked her what was wrong. Because neither of the guys had guilty faces on, Sassy figured she must have misheard him and kept it moving. But the n-word is a pretty hard one to mis-hear, so now she’s not sure what to do. She’s pissed, confused, feels uncomfortable in her own home, and has no idea if or how to start a conversation about it.

Keep in mind that this roommate is a self-professed Southern liberal with a “formerly racist” father, black in-laws, and relatives that are racist enough that their existence makes him feel like he must be doing ok with the whole race thing. Sassy and this guy have always been pretty cool, and they live in a slowly gentrifying area so he is not isolated from the black experience (and of course, who doesn’t know not to use that word, especially in the presence of black folks?).

Should she confront her housemate and ask what’s up with that? Or should she just let it go to avoid the tension?

What would you do?


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  • Tiffy

    I had an ex that just refused to understand why it wasn’t ok to say nigga bc his friends black friends in his very small mostly white town constantly used it with him.This among other things put the nail in the coffin on that relationship and im not trying to say dating white is terrible but alot whites think they can get away with saying what they want to and if we don’t check em they are gonna keep thinking its ok so when the girl in the incident above didn’t say anything her roommate probably thinks its ok she should set him straight

  • unbelievably hurt

    u know i just spoke to my friend who is not black about this.. we are besties and i told her she throws it around like it’s nothing and it’s offensive.. i asked her how would she like it if i started referring to her as a spic, i’m sure she wouldn’t like it 1 bit.. her excuse was she’s almost black (she looks a lil black, she’s has darker skin then other spanish folks, her hair looks like ours when it’s permed, and she has half black kids), i told her that don’t mean shyt. she hangs w/many black ppl, (that don’t mean shyt either), she hears other ppl saying it (that don’t mean shyt either), i told her many ppl may think she’s black and don’t care that she says it but i told her it’s offensive.. i’m not trying to curb her vocabulary but i told her be your own person, don’t repeat everything you hear and don’t refer to me as a nigger, you wouldn’t refer to your son as a spic so don’t refer to me as a nigger.. i blame this shyt on black ppl.. we use this word like it’s the word “THE”, and when other ppl of other races say it, we get offended.. i just told her not everyone likes that shyt.. it’s racist and we all know that when it’s said you are referring to black ppl.. her other excuse was she says it when she’s angry.. i was so upset w/her, i told her stop making excuses for herself.. she was like she’s not racist and she’s not white.. i told her well she sounds like a racist white person.. just a hot asss mess..