This article explores the hurtfulness of the n-word, giving a background in etymology.
The author thinks that, "[t]he word nigger to colored people is like a red rag to a bull. Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously, of necessity for the sake of realism, or impishly for the sake of comedy, it doesn’t matter."
I agree with the author, but I don't think it is particularly offensive to the newer generation of African Americans, especially when they use it with each other as a replacement for the word 'dude'. Langston Hugh's opinion that the word is like a red flag feels a bit outdated.
N-I-G-G-E-R. I'll never forget the first time I accidentally used that word in mixed company. It was 20 years ago at the University of Missouri,...
Yusef Shaheen's insight:
This article is about the reasons why black people use the n-word casually. It explores the reaction of whites to the words as well as blacks, and the reactions held within. Finally, it identifies some examples where blacks have used it with beneficial purposes.
The authors main point is that, while the n-word is a harmful word, it's common use is not a bad thing. In fact, he believes it's a beneficial process of disarmament. He says that blacks have "In fact, went on to embrace it by using it to spice up poetry, rap lyrics, and many a comedy stand-up routine" removing power from the word (just like Kanye wearing that confederate flag apparel).
I think he has has an interesting point. While frequenting the use of the word may sound bad on paper, it actually does remove a lot of rank from the word. It becomes it's own 'new' thing, losing it's past definition. People will eventually let go of the older definition and it will die out.
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