The visceral reaction to the "N" word.
It played a pivotal role in two of the biggest headlines this week - the George Zimmerman murder trial, and the allegations surrounding celebrity chef Paula Deen.
But what is it about the dreaded "N" word that sets it apart from other offensive racial slurs?
Erin Burnett and Don lemon tackles the race words used in the two biggest stories of the week.
I am a black man and I hate that word. it is a shame when all of these rappers use the word and get made when a white person use the same word. I do not let my kids use that word at all.
Hmm- –as much as I laugh aloud when listening/watching Chris Rock, I cannot imagine that printing or saying the "N word" on CNN is worse than the language in the clip. Again- – – you have an interesting country, America.
Dear CNN – Why is my original comment still awaiting moderation when others have commented since without difficulty?
Right On! We hear it on rap, in Sports and African American use a LOT!!! among themselves, BTW I am a Cuban-American and when came to this country in the early 60's at school blacks and whites America'n used to called us lots of names. We as a community GOT OVER IT! So People should stop using the word and that's it! and I am talking starting with??? Them! So my friend You are So Right!! THANK YOU!
Its very evident that you have no knowledge of the history of the N word! Your family came here willingly, Africans were brought here forcefully and enslaved. Your people weren't oppressed, killed, beaten, raped, burned while having that word screamed at them by MOBS of white people. So there is no getting over that!
And yet there is another view. Consider this if you will. There is a definition in the dictionary for the n-word. If you think about it, what would you or I have done in their place? Take longer to do a task than is required? Do whatever what one could to slow the process down. This is a form of resistance used by the people in work/slave camps throughout time. There is no justification for slavery of anyone anywhere anytime.
Excuse me, but where you in any way involved in the horrible treatment slaves got many years ago? NO, so you have no clue what it was like and yet you act like you know everything, not every black was treated this way and many white supported the civil movements and such so stop acting like there is a race divide because there isn't! People like you act like we are in the 50's and that minorities are treated in a poor manner. Grow up get the heck over it you are slowing progress because you keep on focusing on the past and not moving forward together. And you would think that if it was so bad that slaves where brought why did none go back to Africa after the end of slavery, maybe because the chance of survival in Africa was a lot lower even as a slave in America. No justification of slavery but move on and get over it.
What's the big deal about the N word? Just because it has history behind it? The sp word for mexicans is just as offensive, but the media doesn't make a big deal about it.
I also think Ch#nk is just as offensive as the N word. But since the Asians are such a small minority, the media doesn't make a big deal about it either. Many black people call asians the CH word.
Would Paula Deen be fired if she asked for a bunch of ch#nks to tap dance wearing bowties?
I believe she would be fired for the transgression you mention.
Yes it is so hypocritical that the ch*nk word is never seen as bad as n*gger, even though most Asian minorities where treated with the same disrespects as Blacks back in those days.
I saw the last half of "The "N" Word and enjoyed the frank and honest conversation. When will it be broadcast again? This should be a history lesson.
How I wish people would read beyond the headlines and go in search of the actual truth. The Paula Deen case is about so much more than the N-Word. It is the media who simply focused on this. Also the person who filed the case was WHITE!!!!!
The same way the media is portraying the "importance" of race in the Trayvon Martin case even though Zimmerman is HISPANIC, trying to make this like the OJ trial all over again just with a young black kid as victim instead of a grown white woman.
Is it acceptable for one race to use the word, but not others? – No. It is my belief that to have true equality in the world, we need to treat everyone equally…no exceptions. You can’t tell me I can’t use it but you can – no matter your rationale – that is called discrimination. Isn’t that what we are all working to move beyond? People who practice and preach this form of inequality are only causing hidden anger and hatred, a true effect of racism. Time to stop it.
Does the alternative pronunciation and spelling of the word make it OK? Personally, I feel that trying to turn something bad into good is completely acceptable behavior. World history is full of horrible events and hatred between races, religions, and nationalities. Moving beyond these events does not make the history OK, however people will rise above these events so we all may heal.
People, let’s move forward.
You’re 100 percent wrong. I have Italian friends and Irish friends who sometimes refer to each other as "Guido", "W*p", Da**o, but I would never say it. Why, because I'm NOT INTALIAN, and it is a cultural thing between the two of them. I would never call my Irish friend a "M**", which they sometimes use. Why? Because I'm NOT IRISH, and I know it's a cultural thing between Irish people. If you are not Black, Asian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, etc, then you cannot say something’s that are specific to another person’s cultural because you do not identify with it CULTURALLY. I do not understand why it is so hard for Caucasian people to get this point drilled into their heads. This is basic understanding of cultural acceptances and differences.
Go to any country of another ethnicity and cultural and you will see there are things SPECIFIC to that country, the people, and their cultural. But White Americans, notice I said "White Americans", and not White people, they still struggle to understand and comprehend cultural differences between 1 group to other. How does me not being able to say "Chink", like I hear two other people of Chinese decent qualifies me or us socially and as a country not all being equal?? You are unintelligent plain and simple.
Why do you want to use the word? It seems awful immature that you want to use a word just because some else uses the word.
Don't let the name fool you. I'm only 32 years old. And as a young, Black woman, I despise the "n-word."
I scoff at the notion that the negative "power has been taken out of the word." If it truly had, this conversation would have never happened because the use of the word would be a non-issue. It's obvious that we cannot, no matter how hard we try, erase the painful, ugly history of this word. No matter how many times we try to find an endearing way to use it, it does not change the fact that people heard that word as they were being verbally and physically abused – beaten, lynched and torched. How can you continue to use a word that, I'm sure, was one of the last words so many heard as they took their last breath, their lives extinguished by unimaginable, unreasonable hate? There is no good excuse, in my opinion, for the use of the n-word. Ever.
Not even by African Americans?
When children of any ethnic background hear the 'n' word – or any other word – they learn the word. They hear it used in music. They buy the music and listen to it over and over again. They sing the lyrics they hear. They pay to watch movies and hear the 'n' word spoken by actors they like. Millions of children hear it daily in our country. Adults make money off of them learning it, and they are not learning it in the context of its past history.
That word will always have a powerful, negative connotation. It has the same impact to African Americans that the word "Squaw" has to us Native American women. There are so many derogatory words out there, for all races, not just African Americans. It makes you wonder when these small minded people will grown up and learn to speak without trying to belittle others.
been called the n word more times than i care to recall....and im white
Either your a liar, or you grew up in a poor area. Because you won't be called N****r, " More times then you can't count" like you say, in a Middle Class, Upper Middle Class, or Rich Class environment. So which one is it. Are you lying, or did you grow up in a impoverished area, aka, a Slum\project? It is well known that racist slur terms are used frequently in impoverish area's of ALL kinds, so what are you insinuating? What is the point of your statement? I've been called it more times then you. So what's your point?
If anyone in the South says he or she has not used what would be regarded as a racial slur at some point in their lives, they are liars. Black, white, hispanic, jewish, etc. Deen is being crucified by the politically correct Nazi-like police whereas she should be commended for her honesty. The PC police are not interested in honesty, just what they think is fair. It's a small mind that thinks that someone is a racist because they may have used a racial slur in the past. I ate a Deen's restaurant in Savannah and for someone who is supposed to be a racist, there were far more blacks working there than any other race. Think about it: what are they going to do for jobs now? This is more evidence that liberalism is a mental disorder.
Actually, classic liberals are accepting. Most of the PC is leftists Doing Business As "liberals".
THIS WORD WAS USED AFTER A TERRIFYING ARMED ROBBERY. I CHALLENGE ANY OF THESE CORPORATE BULLIES, THAT CHOOSE TO DESTROY ALL PAULA DEEN HAS BUILT, TO DENY WHAT DESCRIPTIVE WORDS THEY WOULD USE TOWARDS ANYONE PUTTING A GUN IN THEIR FACE. IT IS FRIGHTENING TO ME THAT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE'S WORK AND FINANCIAL SECURITY COULD BE DESTROYED FOR A PRIVATE, LONG AGO MOMENT OF INDISCRETION
I think Chris Rock said it best, as to the only time white people can sat the n-word (though even then I would not):
But though I didn't watch the entire segment, I hope the word "co-optation" came up. It means a commandeering, appropriation, or taking over, with the intent of neutralizing something that is harmful. I think that sums up the use of this word by African Americans, and in that case, I can understand it.
It is a real problem when a word is readily used by one group of people and others are judged so harshly if they use it. The divide is mostly along racial lines, but age is a factor also. As an older west-coast white woman I find the word very offensive no matter who uses it. I think using the N word shows real ignorance no matter who you are. There is no equally offensive word.
When the definitions of what is offensive becomes relative and arbitrary, anything can be called 'hate speech' and debate is dead.
The truth of your statement is validated here on this heavily-censored, nanny- "moderated" forum.
"But what is it about the dreaded "N" word that sets it apart from other offensive racial slurs?"
Absolutely nothing. Using any other racial slur is still racism. So, are some racial slurs more racist? Give me a break...
They are just words. Grow up.
One other note.
If someone - whether white or black - called me a "H" or a "C," I wouldn't laugh it off or find it any less offensive than the "N" word. I'd be disgusted and tell the person off.
The N-word was used back in slavery instead of a person's name. The only time they weren't usually called the N-word was when they were referred to as "boy." Just as African Americans evolved amongst society, the N-word has also evolved. In present day America, the N-word is used as a positive noun because it still describes a person, place, or thing. My opinion is that people should agree to disagree to the use of this word. Many people still think it has a derogatory meaning when in fact, the intent behind the word should actually be derived from the sender and recipient in the conversation. I feel the reason why Paula D. is being crucified is because of her perceived intent by the people. Though she may have meant well, you don't follow that word by describing a wedding in a plantation sense with blacks dressed as we may have been dressed during slavery. I use the word at times towards certain people in certain environments. I wouldn't go in front of television cameras using the word. There's a time and place for everything. Ultimately, I think that the N-word is in the eyes of the beholder.
Does this mean we have to go after Mel Brook's for using the "N" word in his movie "Blazing Saddles".
Then every rapper and comedian who ever used it ever should never have any of their products sold ever again,ever!
Sure it's a bad word. It's a terrible word. But it's just a word. It's no worse than any other racial slur or four letter word in the English dictionary. Don't give the word the power and it won't have the power. You can't just remove it from our language. If a word effects you that badly, then you have an inferiority complex. If you don't feel inferior, then that word is just a word and has no effect. I don't want to hear the word, but at the same time, I am not gonna pretend like it has the power to effect me. I better than that.
Black Americans have been desensitized to the N word...White Americans never are faced with the need to desensitize to a word like the C word...there is not a word that carries the same pop as the N word sense it was used as a means of oppression and brutal abuse for centuries.
When I was a kid, it was sticks and stones. You ignored words meant to insult. My mother used to tell me, "If the other kids call you a chair, it doesn't make you a chair. No matter what they call you, it doesn't change who you are."
You can't take any thing you say back. The damage is already done. How about we ban the use of these words all together, starting with the rappers? Kids are growing up listening to this music, singing along with it and thinking it's 'ok' to use. You can't have it both ways. Stop all use of it or get over it.
Maybe the blacks should stop using the very words they criticize others for.
My thoughts exactly-there is never any mention of this in conversations like the one in the CNN video
why do you want so bad to use it?
Learn and understand the history of this word instead of trivial blame on 'the blacks', again....
very GOOD POINT!
As a black man, I, totally, agree with you. The self hate has to stop.
"Lemon: You can't take the "N" word back."
I'm sick and tired of the double standard. The N word is wrong. The C word is wrong. The H word is wrong. They're ALL wrong and no matter who uses them for whatever reason be it rap song, comedy sketch, friendly banter or racial slur they're ALL wrong for using them. There are no gray areas or free zones. It's all for one and one for all.
So if you're going to crucify one person for using the N word, then you have better crucify them ALL for using it.
I dont feel comfortable with Bryant Gumble white ass using that word.
Why is it ok for musicians to use that language, namely, rappers? I know the difference between the 'a' and the 'er', but all kinds of kids are raised listening to it and assuming that it's 'cool' for them to use it. Stop the use of the language all together or get over it.
So am I racist if I used the work fired chicken? Maybe Col. Sanders needs to be hauled into court for being a racist! Oh come on this is getting completely out of hand. You people are so sensitive!!!! This country is becoming a joke politically on every front!!!
If African Americans do not have enough respect to quit saying the "N" word why would other races not use it. Maybe if African Americans stop the other races will follow.
The national media does not seem to care about the racist term Redskin, which is used by the NFL team representing our Nation's capital.
How can it be said that paula dean had no reason to use a Hateful word against a Man that had put a GUN to HER HEAD.....?
Whether it's the N word or the C word, you can't have it both ways. Both are raciest! I am sick of the double standard. My family was too poor to own slaves so I never knew about this issue until I was much older. Now I find the whole issue difficult when you have one standard for the black culture and another for the white culture. Enough is enough. Either you a raciest or you are not no matter what your skin color
So, does this mean that anytime a derogatory word is used, the "victim" files a hate-crime charge?
And... can one use all the words against someone of "mixed race"? Is there a precedent for which one to use first?
What about a Indian-African-NorthEuropean-Saudi-Latino-Russian-SouthEuropean-Chinese-NativeAmerican-PacificIlander?
Where is Kat Williams in this discussion?
Hummm, wouldn't it be funny if the Exodus of Human Beings really meant to free the "N-word" from within ...
Your so called experts saying, "whites are racist" and black people are not.
You black people and liberal idiots look in your hearts cause, "black people are the most racist anywhere."
Quit looking at yourselves as victims black people, and please start leading your fellow black people in
a positive and encouraging way. Start letting your fellow black people understand that rap music that
demeans and denigrates others is not to be tolerated. Instead you make them famous and praise them.
a few issues about this bother me , 1) you don't hear other groups ( jews/italians/irish ) using slurs against there own foks like blacks do 2) as a black male born and raised in NY metro area it was used against me by large groups of whites as they chased me and threatened me with physical Harm... so NO .. i don't use it .. when your attacked by a large group and they use it during the episode ..its not funny
The most toxic word?
The most racist people on the planet now are the inner city blacks and the "reverends" that rile them up. 1. i have a right to verbalize any word in the dictionary. 2. being a racist is not a crime. Perhaps if the parents of the black people that act out would discipline their children, maybe they would get more respect. 3. The blacks are no longer African Americans. They are Americans. The sooner they understand this the better. In my circle, there are blacks and there are ni###rs. The blacks are educated and productive. The others are parasites working the system so they don't have to work..
Going stupid over a word, that certainly making a mountain out of a mole hill. That its OK for some people to say the N-word but not for other's is a racist act. I just retired from law enforcement and I can tell you that the number racist people I deal with in a average day would really suprise
Yeah this is a terrible problem, people should stop saying the n-word!!!!!
I realize that words can inflame, but we've taken this to a who new level of stupidity. Words do NOT control who I am or what I personally think of others. Respect is earned by actions. A few years ago when PC this and that was obviously becoming an issue that literally controls us as humans...and where is is controlling history itself, I bought 12 copies of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in order that history is not erased in our family, in at least this one small part of life.
This is ridiculous, and it's not news. Much like 'Black in America' or 'Muslim in America'. In this country everyone has a chance – stop complaining and Move On. I'm a liberal by the way.
I hate the word. I hate it with a passion. To me it's a word that would get someone either hurt or killed. One week ago, my husband own boss (whom, is also a black man). Came out of his mouth and called my husband The "N" word and then when my husband asked him nicely to please stop calling him out of his name (because its not the 1st time it happened). His boss yelled at him and fired him. My husband in turned called the main office and made a complaint and nothing was done,even after he threatened to call The NJ Labor Board on them, he did get his job back and the boss still has his job.
The "N word" is no more offensive than countless other words. It's all a matter of opinion. People have a right to be offended by what others say, but have no right to expect others never to say anything offensive, unless they also never say anything that anyone finds offensive.
In any part of the world there are certain words that hurt people and make others angry. When said with the purpose to cause pain and anger, its horrible and uncalled for. If the person who says them asks for forgiveness and is remosefull, then we must forgive and move on.
You would hate being a woman. Our language is LOADED with terrible put downs on women.
Give me an f'in break! Since when does a word used so often by any race become the worst word on the planet? This is the stupidest double standard b.s. the non-black world has ever seen. All racial slurs are profane... Get over it and grow a pair!
I get the feeling that she may have just seriously misunderstood Mark Twain.
Most offensive word: racist. No one likes to be called that.
What ever happened to "Stick and Sotnes, etc,etc" This country has become to PC!
Let's treat others as we would like to be treated and get on with life.
The Reign of Terror continues...we must ban the N word so that African Americans can no longer use it in rap or their art or as a friendly term to one another.
This can be wrapped up easily, there's no need to produce a special. If you are non black all you have to do is walk up to a black person and call them the "N" word. You'll get feedback right away...it may hurt a bit.
I am an AMERICAN first, of African decent. I hate it when CNN has these "specials". I hate when afro americans use
this word against each other. It sounds worse because they degrade the race worse than any klan member could. I wish
the rappers, and others who are tools of the propaganda machine whould stop using it. They have done more damage to
the race as a whole which makes Paula Dean's comment a joke in comparison. If we really care what we are called, we
must show it in action, not words, and quit referring to ourselves without respect. It begins with us, not Dean.
The only people who have the right to be offended by abusive language are those who do not use it themselves. For example: How about those Washington Red _ _ _ _ _ ? Or do native Americans get less rights because they are less powerful?
It's disgusting how often this word is used as a way to legitimize violence. It's just a word, it gives you NO right to injure someone. Grow the heck up already.
Since we apparently live to be offended these days, how about another fitting word...
I know FAR more A youths who use the N word, then I EVER heard white people using it. Went to Kings Dominion a few weeks ago, and there was a lot of folks there diverse backgrounds. The ONLY ones I heard using the N word were BLACK. Over, and over, and over....."N Please!" "N, you better don't!" "N who you kidding?"
There I am, with my three year old, trying to get these kids to stop using a word I'd rather my daughter never hear, but it is impossible to avoid.
Black folks, if you want the word to go away, TEACH YOUR KIDS TO STOP USING IT!!
I'll never use it, but I can't swear my 3 year old won't repeat it, and when she does, it WON'T be because she heard it from me.
I feel your pain brothers and sisters, but help me to help YOU!
The problem with the N-word is not only with what it resonates with the negative connotation of slavery, but it is also the one word that is used most often to either identify someone derogatorily or to degrade an African American. The n-word can compare close to the defamatory term for jews, but not for Hispanics or whites, since slang terms referencing them does not have such a egregious history to its origination. N-word ties in with the unjustified atrocities of slavery and since slavery of African Americans can never be justified, neither can the word or its use.
The N word is dreaded because the liberal media will make you front page news if you say it. However, if a black person were to use a racial term against a white person then it's no big deal. They get a pass for being black.
The N word- Black people can use it freely among themselves yet God forbid a white person uses it. NOBODY should use it. People who do use it do so out of a lack of respect for the other person no matter the color.
People have to find god in themselves and top using bad language, stop insulting and stop been resist, N word should no longer exist. We all the same and we all should respect and love each other.
Grown adults complaining about people using bad words. It's pathetic.
It takes more intelligence to form a sentence without bad words than it does to use them.
Did you miss the point about how the intent or purpose for which the word is used is as important as the word itself?
please stop using “white trash” / “red neck”, and lot of N words come from entertainment people so be first to set a good example.
But there is also the uneven backlash...Paula Deen admits to using a slur years ago, and her career is ruined. Chris Rock has a well known bit using the same word and is rewarded. If we take offense at a word, we need to pitch the political correctness and be offended no matter who says it.
I want to know why the N word is racist only if white people say it but all the racist terms they have for white people aren't "as bad" when used. Why the double standard???
sick, that we have to pay "in taxes' for those who refuse to work and contribute to our 'machine' but scream 'foul' when they cant get what hey want..and one 'n' word stands in the way of making things right..double standarads rule this world.face it get over it and get back to the facts,work, live , love and provide for you and your kids ..you have them, make the means to provide for them and quit leaning on the "gubment'.. to make the means for you and your etc.etc.survivail..and what about me.....doing it on my own since 1966.with no help from your '******'asses. thank you two evils
As a african american, I don't like it when blacks call me the 'N' word. it's very ghetto, demeaning and offensive.
Everyone gets upset about the "N" word and rightly so BUT why is there no protest about "MF". This is a very degrading phrase and yet no one has protested against it. It targets a particular group, mothers, and it is usually said in an angry or violent way. Is this not hate speach also ? This should be discussed in a special......you would be the first.
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