Aundrea Sayrie: ‘Can I say the N-word?’


Disclaimer: The following poem features strong language, and subject matter that may make some uncomfortable. Reader discretion advised.

Can I say the N-word?

Under the dark of night
Came Beelzebub’s own
Wild on horseback
Far from home
White sheets
burning crosses
Snarling dogs
Tear gas

Then the trigger

Murderous lot
A word steeped in darkness 
In case you forgot

Although I’m sure you haven’t 

Why the fixation
With keeping it in verbal rotation?
Why fetishize 
What was meant to terrorize?
And often
Black death?
A last insult
to accompany
the last breath

And YOU want to say it?


Don’t use it as a trump card
when all other racist attempts fail
Keeping it out of your mouth
Will serve you well
Tip of the tongue
But don’t let it slip
Have you not seen the backlash 
Of an ill timed quip?

Don’t say it flippantly 
Don’t say it on a whim
Don’t say it to her 
Don’t say it to him
Don’t yell it into a seashell down by the sea
Don’t shout it in the forest, 
surrounded only by trees
Don’t say it up high
Don’t say it down low
Plausible deniability 
Won’t save you no mo’

This is my advice 
Do what you feel is best
If you choose to say it
Take accountability for what happens next

A native of Phoenix, Arizona Aundrea Sayrie is a firm believer in the power of words, faith and a strong spirit. Her greatest desire is to encourage those around her to discover and honor their truth, and to passionately live on purpose.