My boyfriend says the n-word

I’m a liberal. Is that a problem? 

I see a whole bunch of red flags, says our elder.


Dear EWC

Hello. I recently got into a relationship, and we are getting to the point where we are asking questions about each other’s beliefs. I found out that he is a Republican. He doesn’t necessarily support Trump, but I know that he is against abortion. I also know that he says the n-word sometimes, but he doesn’t say it often. Only with his friends. I am a liberal so I have kind of opposite beliefs. He is a good person, and I’m just having trouble grasping his opinions. I accept them and I understand them, but do you think that this is a problem?

Scriber replies

From what you’ve described in your letter, I see several serious red flags.  

First, if your boyfriend is white, he should never use the n-word, and the fact that he does use it speaks volumes about him. This is your first major red flag. This tells you everything you need to know about him. Look within yourself and decide what your values and views are, and if his values and views align with yours. Downplaying it and/or trivializing it by pointing out that “…he doesn’t say it often” is something that you should also look at within yourself. One time is too many. He shouldn’t even be thinking like that. I’d never be able to fully/adequately explain, via this forum, why your boyfriend should never be using the n-word. This is the most vile, filthy and historically loaded and derogatory word, with so many negative connotations. You have to be able to see and understand that for yourself. I fully understand all the reasons why some people choose to use this word, especially some performing artists and so forth. And yes, your boyfriend has freedom of speech, which he can choose to exercise at any time that he likes. But there are also consequences to what we say and do. 

I believe you would be making some serious mistakes in judgment if you allowed your boyfriend to feel comfortable in using this word. I know how some people talk when they are in the comfort of their own homes and all that. But that still doesn’t make it right or acceptable, for your boyfriend especially, to use this word. It shows you who he is and what he’s about. If it doesn’t bother you because “…he doesn’t say it often”, and you allow your boyfriend to use it, then this is all a moot point, right? If you don’t understand and/or agree that this word shouldn’t be used, then there isn’t too much more I can say. I don’t know if you closely studied our history in this country, but I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and I can attest that many of us paid some serious dues so that people wouldn’t be using the n-word, and so much more. If you know anything about what’s going on in this country right now, you’d know that this is not a time to be using this word, nor is there ever an acceptable time to be using it. It’s filthy.

What allows him to feel so comfortable and assured that he can let that word come out of his mouth? And why does he use this word? How does he not know that this just doesn’t fly? Allowing him to use that word in your presence, and knowing that he uses it in your absence, tells you all that you need to know about him.  

You say that you’re a liberal. I don’t know how you were raised and what your parent(s) explained to you or taught you, but I know that you’re making some bad choices if you continue to accept that your boyfriend uses this word. It’s your choice. There are always consequences to our actions and words.  

Maybe you heard of the movie Glory that came out in 1989. If you haven’t seen it, can you do one favor for me? Can you and your boyfriend watch it together and talk about it? The story tells of an all-Black regiment of Civil War soldiers who fought for the Union, and starred Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick. The story in Glory is a well-told, well-acted depiction of what it was like to have been a slave, to be freed, to fight for a United States that did not see you as equal, and paid you less than a white person even though you wore the same uniform … to fight for a nation whose countrymen called you the n-word.

The other red flag is that you don’t share similar political views. He’s also against women having free choice for abortion. These are big issues. 

He’s entitled to his opinions and views and likewise, so are you. In other words, you can agree to disagree. Where the conflict comes in is if or when you argue about these issues and it causes irreparable friction or damage in the relationship. If both of you are unwilling and/or unable to bend, or are not willing to listen to the other viewpoint(s), or if you’re both very rigid in your position, then that’s where problems begin. 

It seems to me that many people, in general, like to argue, fight and debate about everything. That’s why people often stay away from topics like politics and other topics. Each person seems to think his/her way is the right way or the only way. I don’t know anything about you or your boyfriend, aside from what you shared. I do know, based on my experiences and observations, that when two people do not share a lot of the same similarities in values and interests, the relationship can suffer and often ends. So, for example, if one person is a staunch believer in God, and the other person is a stone-cold atheist, what do you think the chances are of a successful relationship? If one person values money and materialism and the other person doesn’t, what’s the chance for a successful relationship? What’s bringing the couple together? I think you get my drift. 

So, in terms of political beliefs, we have elected officials that we put into office based on many different things. In theory, they are put in office to represent our best interests and so forth and so on. Ideally, we vote for the people that we think may support our interests. If you compared the Republican party’s beliefs/values versus the Democratic party’s beliefs/values, what are the similarities and what are the differences? If you hold onto certain beliefs and values that are vehemently opposed to your boyfriend’s beliefs and value system, how do you come to terms with those differences in the relationship? Some beliefs are open for interpretation, and sometimes there’s an overlap where one can select certain beliefs from one party’s position and other beliefs from another party’s position. We’re not robots where we’re programmed to just incorporate one party’s beliefs and that’s it.

I’m not a fortune teller and I don’t have a crystal ball. All I know from experience and observation is that like minded people seem to do better with other like minded people. There are always exceptions. If you can respect each other, and not get into regular, heated arguments about important issues, then I suppose the relationship could work, but again, your boyfriend using the n-word is a major red flag and would be an immediate deal breaker for me. But you have to decide who you are and what you’re about. We’re all complex people, and imperfect human beings. 

You may have gotten more than you bargained for in this letter. Even if you avoid discussion of politics and so forth, these issues will still come up in other ways in your relationship. If your boyfriend is a racist or prejudiced, and you aren’t, how would you be able to respect him? You may make a comment, based on your beliefs and values, that your boyfriend finds offensive, or vice-versa, which can negatively affect your relationship. I tried to provide some insights and ideas about the topics you presented in your letter.   

Human beings are not perfect people, so despite our best efforts at times, we still fall short in treating each other with respect and decency. Sometimes we observe hypocrisy, or a double standard, which further supports the notion that human beings are very complex and complicated. And sometimes human beings can be very mean and cruel. I don’t like labels, but I think I’m about the most open-minded and liberal person I know. I don’t like any kind of racism, sexism, ageism or any kind of “ism” and that’s how I live my life. You have to determine, for yourself, how you want to live your life. 

I hope you received something worthwhile from my letter. Take care and please feel free to write to EWC any time you’d like more advice. 

Article #: 496260
Category: Dating/Relationship

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