In our History 265 class, we too talked about the intrapersonal relationships with the “N-word” and our feelings surrounding it. We have heard it used but rarely in its original form. The “letter-a” version, “nigga” is used most often, cleverly denoting the harsh “r” that
the Ninth Circuit Court described as “the most noxious racial epithet in the contemporary American lexicon.” … “the [N-word] as applied to blacks is uniquely provocative and demeaning and there is probably no word or phrase that could be directed at any other group that could cause comparable injury” ( Kennedy 1). In federal courts around the nation it was used to exemplify the d...
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...Is it okay when NWA does it? The group represents a middle finger to the establishment, to cops, and to the poverty that enraptures their world of drugs, sex, and being black. What does it mean when Quentin Tarantino does it vs. Spike Lee? Who owns it and why would they want to. Is it to be the cool white guy or to establish, similarly to Eric in Bernard’s office explained in reference to the word “Queer”, a reclamation of a once toxic racial slur. The work which we do to unpack the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and its implications as reflected on the use of “the N word” makes us think why we shouldn’t talk about it in class? Should we go so far as to utter it like Bernard urges? That jury is still out on that one, but until then the “N-word” will permeate our world both as a word to never be utter and one that can be called out on the street.
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