Straight Talk about the N-Word

The n-word is unique in the English language. On one hand, it is the ultimate insult- a word that has tormented generations of African Americans. Yet over time, it has become a popular term of endearment by the descendents of the very people who once had to endure it. Among many young people today—black and white—the n-word can mean friend.

Neal A. Lester, dean of humanities and former chair of the English department at Arizona State University, recognized that the complexity of the n-word’s evolution demanded greater critical attention. In 2008, he taught the first ever college-level class designed to explore the word “nigger” (which will be referred to as the n-word). Lester said the subject fascinated him precisely because he didn’t understand its layered complexities.

©Jason Millstein

“When I first started talking about the idea of the course,” Lester recalled, “I had people saying, ‘This is really exciting, but what would you do in the course? How can you have a course about a word?’ It was clear to me that the course, both in its conception and in how it unfolded, was much bigger than a word. It starts with a word, but it becomes about other ideas and realities that go beyond words.”

Lester took a few minutes to talk to Teaching Tolerance managing editor Sean Price about what he’s learned and how that can help other educators.

How did the n-word become such a scathing insult?
We know, at least in the history I’ve looked at, that the word started off as just a descriptor, “negro,” with no value attached to it. … We know that as early as the 17th century, “negro” evolved to “nigger” as intentionally derogatory, and it has never been able to shed that baggage since then—even when black people talk about appropriating and reappropriating it. The poison is still there. The word is inextricably linked with violence and brutality on black psyches and derogatory aspersions cast on black bodies. No degree of appropriating can rid it of that bloodsoaked history.

Why is the n-word so popular with many young black kids today?
If you could keep the word within the context of the intimate environment [among friends], then I can see that you could potentially own the word and control it. But you can’t because the word takes on a life of its own if it’s not in that environment. People like to talk about it in terms of public and private uses. Jesse Jackson was one of those who called for a moratorium on using the word, but then was caught using the word with a live mic during a “private” whispered conversation.

There’s no way to know all of its nuances because it’s such a complicated word, a word with a particular racialized American history. But one way of getting at it is to have some critical and historical discussions about it and not pretend that it doesn’t exist. We also cannot pretend that there is not a double standard—that blacks can say it without much social consequence but whites cannot. There’s a double standard about a lot of stuff. There are certain things that I would never say. In my relationship with my wife, who is not African American, I would never imagine her using that word, no matter how angry she was with me. …

That’s what I’m asking people to do—to self-reflect critically on how we all use language and the extent to which language is a reflection of our innermost thoughts. Most people don’t bother to go to that level of self-reflection and self-critique. Ultimately, that’s what the class is about. It’s about selfeducation and self-critique, not trying to control others by telling them what to say or how to think, but rather trying to figure out how we think and how the words we use mirror our thinking. The class sessions often become confessionals because white students often admit details about their intimate social circles I would never be privy to otherwise.

What types of things do they confess?
In their circles of white friends, some are so comfortable with the n-word because they’ve grown up on and been nourished by hip-hop. Much of the commercial hip-hop culture by black males uses the n-word as a staple. White youths, statistically the largest consumers of hip-hop, then feel that they can use the word among themselves with black and white peers. … But then I hear in that same discussion that many of the black youths are indeed offended by [whites using the n-word]. And if blacks and whites are together and a white person uses the word, many blacks are ready to fight. So this word comes laden with these complicated and contradictory emotional responses to it. It’s very confusing to folks on the “outside,” particularly when nobody has really talked about the history of the word in terms of American history, language, performance and identity.

Most public school teachers are white women. How might they hold class discussions about this word? Do you think it would help them to lay some groundwork?
You might want to get somebody from the outside who is African American to be a central part of any discussion— an administrator, a parent, a pastor or other professional with some credibility and authority. Every white teacher out there needs to know some black people. Black people can rarely say they know no white people; it’s a near social impossibility. The NAACP would be a good place to start, but I do not suggest running to the NAACP as a single “authority.” Surely there are black parents of school children or black neighbors a few streets over or black people at neighboring churches. The teacher might begin by admitting, “This is what I want to do, how would you approach this? Or, how do we approach it as a team? How can we build a team of collaboration so that we all accept the responsibility of educating ourselves and our youths about the power of words to heal or to harm?” This effort then becomes something shared as opposed to something that one person allegedly owns.

How might a K-12 teacher go about teaching the n-word?
At the elementary level, I can imagine bringing in children’s picture books to use in conjunction with a segment on the civil rights movement, because students talk about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Look at some of the placards [held by white people at 1960s civil rights] protests and see if some of them have been airbrushed or the messages sanitized. Talk about language, about words and emotion, about words and pain. Consider the role of words in the brutal attacks on black people during slavery, during Jim Crow, during the civil rights movement. Consider how words were part of the attacks on black people.

Depending on how old the students are, a teacher might talk about the violence that involved lynching and castration, and how the n-word was part of the everyday discourse around race relations at the time. Then bring in some hip-hop, depending again on the age. If these are middle school students or high school students, a teacher can talk specifically about hip-hop and how often the n-word is used and in a specific context. … There are many ways that a teacher can talk about the n-word without necessarily focusing on just one aspect—like whether or not Huck should have used the n-word when he references Jim [in Huckleberry Finn]. Any conversation about the n-word has to be about language and thinking more broadly.

What should teachers keep in mind as they teach about the n-word?
Remember the case of the white teacher who told the black student to sit down and said, “Sit down, nigga.” And then the teacher is chastised by the administration and of course there is social disruption. He said, “I didn’t say ‘Sit down, nigger,’ I said ‘Sit down, nigga,’ and that’s what I hear the students saying.” I’m thinking, first, you are an adult, white teacher. Secondly, do you imitate everything that you see and hear others doing or saying? At some level, there has to be some self-critique and critical awareness and sensitivity to difference. Just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean that I do it even if and when I surely can.

In my courses, I’m more interested in raising questions than in finding answers to them. I think the questions lead to potential self-discovery. It’s not about whether or not a person uses the n-word. I try to move the class beyond easy binaries—“Well, blacks can use it, but whites can’t.” That line of thinking doesn’t take us very far at all. What we are trying to do, at least the way I have conceptualized and practiced this discovery, is so much more. The class strives to teach us all manner of ways to talk about, think about and to understand ourselves, and each other, and why and how we fit in the rest of the world.


Respect Yourself & Others

Submitted by Anonymous on 26 June 2015 - 6:07pm.

The first time I heard the n-word, I was in elementary school. When the older kids would say it, it wasn't used in an offensive manor, it was more like a friendly title like "homie" or "man". Where I grew up, the n-word wasn't made into a huge deal, it was just another piece of slang, nothing more nothing less. It was during Black History Month, in elementary, that I finally understood the background and meaning of the n-word. Even then, people didn't give much thought when they used the word. We differentiated it by the pronounciation. It should end with an "a" rather than "er". The way we used the word depended on how and where you were raised, regardless of your race. I can see how the double standard can and has caused numerous problems. I feel that everyone should take Mr. Lester's advice and "go to that level of self-reflection and self-critique". We should stop using the word altogether because it's roots comes from a dark and horrible time.

All my life, I grew up around

Submitted by Rachelle Nonan on 21 June 2015 - 7:41pm.

All my life, I grew up around the n-word. Ever since, the word has become part of everyday conversations with my generation. I agree that the language we use reflects our inner most thoughts and the use of the n-word is controversial. I think it all depends on the context that you use is it but I wouldn't want to use it around African Americans out of respect. Also that in order to say it, you should know what it means along with the history. 

Does it make sense?

Submitted by Obvious on 21 June 2015 - 2:24pm.

My reaction was that I was a little confused about the word. However, I thought about how it's okay for some people to say it but not others. It actually makes sense. I thought about it like me and a group of friends. MY close friends can call me mean names and it okay but if someone I didn't know said that to me, I would be offended. I actually learned about the word in 7th grade when my sister said she learned a new bad word and she whispered it to me and said it was illegal to say it. After that, I didn't really give it much thought until I learned about how it was used during slavery in 8th grade. 

Re: Does it make sense?

Submitted by Anonymous on 26 June 2015 - 6:47pm.

I understand your conection between the two situations. It does make sense for there to be a double standard. Something said between friends can be taken lightly, but if were said to a stranger then it could most definitely be seen as an insult. 

Respect goes to everyone.

Submitted by Cher Lin on 12 June 2015 - 2:46pm.

This article appealed to me in many different ways and now I understand a point of view from both sides. I first learned about the n-word in the third grade. Before then, I have never understood what it was or what it meant. But it was in the third grade, when my teacher read off posters off the cover of a book about Black History Month. Of course she didn't say the actual word, but she referred to it by saying "n-word". From then on, I always knew of that word as derogatory and in a sense, rude to use. However, after reaching high school, I noticed that lots of people actually use that word. People of all races. And to be honest, it confused me. I always thought that the n-word was a horrible word to use. However, after reading this article, I realized that although it may be a derogatory word, people in different communities may use that word for it has spurred a new definition: "friend". I feel that everybody should just build respect for one another. Like what the article said, we should all "think about and to understand ourselves, and each other, and why and how we fit in the rest of the world". 

I agree

Submitted by Obvious on 21 June 2015 - 3:09pm.

I agree with what you said about we just need to respect eachother. We all think a little differently, so we should just cooperate and keep the other's feelings in mind. 

Respect should go both ways.

Submitted by Anonymous on 27 January 2015 - 7:40am.

Good point. However the respect is needed on both sides. For example, I was the only white person in my middleschool class. On a daily basis i was called everything from Caspar, Q-tip, Whitey, Slave holder (when in actuality my ancestors are Italian and were never slave holders), and their utmost favorite name to call me was White Devil.
That does not instill trust. But as a white person who grew up in homeless Shelters, and public housing projects, i just got used to the names. I got to the point that i just automatically assumed every African American person i met would hate me because i just happen to be white. It took a while for me to believe my new classmate in High school (who was black) actually liked me and wasnt just playing a joke on me by pretending. Over time he became my best friend, then later my boyfriend.
My point is, that the respect needs to go both ways, or one side will feel jilted, and it will become hard for them to respect the other.

it is all about respect...

Submitted by Anonymous on 25 January 2015 - 4:45pm.

I believe that if a white (Caucasian) person has self respect as well as respect for all human beings that this word and the use or understanding of it is never an issue.
I grew up in public housing, a child of a white couple. We were a minority among our neighbors and yet that did not phase me. Of course at 4 years old I asked my mom questions about my friends and why their skin or hair were different than mine. She always explained things to me in a way that never encouraged hate or intolerance. I probably heard the n-word for the first time at around 6 years of age, the use of it immediately caused the angry exchange of words among several adults who were standing nearby. Later that evening I asked my mom what it meant and why it made so many people angry, She told me "it was a very hateful word used against black people for a very long time and that it was a word I was not to use."
That was all it took for me to understand.
Today, I have a few close friends who are African American and I also work with several co-workers of the race. I am respectful to each one as I am to people of any other race or ethnicity. There have been times when I have heard the n-word exchanged between my African American friends and can tell you that the feeling between them when they use it is different from when a person of another race uses it. There is no hate or disrespect, it is almost used the same as the terms "buddy" or " bro", "pal" or "homey".
I can honestly say that due to what my mother instilled in me at an early age I feel connected to everyone that I interact with and I do consciously think about what I say when I speak to everyone. I wish everyone would be so conscious and just understand, without question ,that this particular word is " not to be used".

TMZ - Gulfport, FL

Students of all races using the N-word

Submitted by Anonymous on 16 January 2015 - 10:39pm.

I hear this in the halls of the predominately White high school that I teach in. Today, I had a student walk by my classroom with the door open and shout into the room, "Ms. W, What's up my N***a!" You know what happened? Nothing. The Administrator tried to have a nice calm talk with the student and tell him to apologize, then proceed to blame the use of the word on "pop culture" and then proceed to conduct an MLK assembly encouraging students to promote justice, equality, and tolerance.

Not a term of endearment

Submitted by Anonymous on 14 January 2015 - 10:29pm.

I've heard that "term of endearment" nonsense before from people such as Whoopi Goldberg and others. I absolutely disagree with the notion that this can in any way be a harmless word, and I believe that it is MOST harmful coming from the mouths of our black youth. I'm basing my opinions from insights gleaned from reading works by Dr. Shad Helmstedder (What To Say When You Talk To Yourself) and Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics). When a white middle-aged man such as myself calls a black person a nigger, it's easy to dismiss the comment as coming from an ignorant, hateful bigot. But when a black person (particularly a young, impressionable black person) uses that word, knowing full well all the negative societal cannotations of it, it becomes part of their self-talk. Its meaning gets internalized and creates a lens through which they see themselves. It hurts me most to hear people such as Cat Williams and even people I see at the grocery store and such addressing their children, toddlers and all, using that word. When those kids learn the hate behind that word and hear it in that context, how can they be expected to differentiate between a father or older brothers off-hand comment and a strangers disdain and negative expectation?
The easiest way to keep a people down is to control how they see themselves, and the easiest way to do that is to control the words they use. Is that what we're seeing?

Interested Reader

Submitted by Anonymous on 22 November 2014 - 12:33pm.

The word in America simply raises too much controversy regardless of what context or who is saying it. In a crowd one should be very concerned about using any form of the N-word. Most black people have at some point in their lives been confronted with this word in its most negative context, Racism, hatred, and as an inferior. It is my opinion that an intellectual person of any color in America would simply not risk stirring up hurt, even if it were just one person in a thousand.

Teaching Youth about this word

Submitted by Anonymous on 27 July 2014 - 8:18pm.

This is a timely find! I work at a summer program coordinating activities for children ages 5-14. With such a range of ages, there is a lot to consider in regard to language. In particular, there are two boys, they are around 12 or 13 and they use the n-word almost like a period! I have expressed my frustration to them and asked them to watch their language while at the program. Coming from a young white female, my opinions of their usage with this word are not taken seriously.

After reading this, I feel more confident that I can handle this. I will talk with them privately stating that I can't stop them from using that word outside the program, and I know that they aren't using the word maliciously. However, I'll tell them that for centuries, that word has been used to communicate hate, and it stirs up visions of bloodshed and vicious cruelties. I will ask them to be mindful of the young children at the center who don't understand the word and should not be saying it. If I put it on them to show maturity, maybe they'll want to live up to that.

Otherwise I'll just send them home.

Hopefully I'm on the right track, and if anyone has any advice, I'm all ears. Thanks for the article.

Helping my 13yo white son understand the gravity of this word.

Submitted by Anonymous on 19 July 2014 - 10:21am.

I am searching for resources to help me in explaining the n-word to my son. He has recently started using the word in his private videos and talking to himself. He understands that "nigger" can be offensive but he hears "nigga" in the videos and music he seems to be having trouble understanding the difference and how inappropriate it is for him to say this. We are a very accepting family and a many of our friends and family are black and mixed race. Does anyone have ideas of you tube videos that portray a positive message explaining this topic? I ask for you tube because that is a source he would relate to. Thanks in advance for any ideas!

The N Word Ringing in My Ears

Submitted by Anonymous on 22 April 2014 - 1:40pm.

When I taught in primarily Black schools this was a constant topic of discussion, one of the most humorous a discussion with a group of boys with language disabilities. I tried to start with the logic that they wouldn't want me (a white woman) using this term - to which they all shouted encouragingly, nah, man! You can use it too! Finally after more discussion I said it was a street word, like so many other words we discussed that year, and it should remain on the street. But there were years I taught when I heard it so much it was never absent from the inner voice I heard when reflecting on my teaching. Is that really a good thing, regardless of who is appropriating the term and for what purposes? Folk walking around with the n-word in their heads?

The word "gay" as a generalized insult was even more of a problem. Kids would get shocked and angry when I would respond that I didn't want to hear about anyone's sexual orientation. They had lost all context for the meaning of the word they were using. Same with "retarded." I found it hard to think it was an improvement though when they started using "LD" as the insult of choice. Trying to police language became a constant and exhausting task - and seemingly futile.

I've read many scientific

Submitted by Anonymous on 19 April 2014 - 6:47am.

I've read many scientific definitions of where this word came from and how popular it has become to use it now days. They say it became from "n-g-r" in ancient Egypt, or that it maybe derives from the word "Negro" in Spanish.

Personally I believe that, because of the history o hate, disrespect, discrimination loaded behind that single word and any other variation.... that word(s) SHOULD NOT BE USED.

It does not matter if the original meaning (in ancient times) was candy or angel or whatever; Nigger (Nigga or any variation) became a pejorative, derogatory epithet.

In the same way that Mother-Fucker, idiot, faggot, ugly, stupid, retarded are ALL insulting words; Nigger IS an insulting word. No matter how often we heard them on the streets, or in songs o in the movies.

If we consider ourselves decent people, WE SHOULD NOT USE insulting words against other person. And if we are to do our job well as parents, teachers, authorities, etc... we should TRY to teach our kids NOT TO USE THEM EITHER. Not even call names to other people or use any kind of negative epithet against them.

too British????

its the fear of using the

Submitted by Anonymous on 7 August 2014 - 5:25am.

its the fear of using the N-word!!! people are berated (to the point of a witch hunt) for simply using the N-word. aiming the word at some as an insult is wrong but aiming any word at someone as an insult is wrong.

No not too British. Makes

Submitted by Anonymous on 28 May 2014 - 5:45pm.

No not too British. Makes perfect sense.


Submitted by Anonymous on 31 March 2014 - 1:56pm.

You want to talk straight about a word you ain't even writing. Let's start with not assuming is offensive to use the word "nigger" when making a reference to the word or arguing about it or quoting. That's just ridiculous.

meaning of the "n" word

Submitted by Anonymous on 22 March 2014 - 2:07pm.

I had read somewhere that there were 2 different definitions to the "n" word. One based on skin color but the other having nothing to do with skin color, but rather the type of person one was. Like a low integrity, bad character, crude or cruel with no standards or morals, having nothing to do with ones race or color of skin. In other words, any ethnic group could be applicable to the "n" word. But this must be incorrect, because I cannot find that definition in any of the dictionaries

re second definition

Submitted by Anonymous on 23 October 2014 - 10:30pm.

The reason why the second definition defines the n word as a person of low quality is because back in the day (and to an extent today) being black meant that you were automatically associated with those negative qualities. Therefore to use the n word as the second definition is still racist because that definition was created from a racist structure where if you were black you were considered to be inherently bad.

The N-word

Submitted by Anonymous on 19 March 2014 - 9:19pm.

People should be happy nigger turned into nigga to mean something more positive like a brother I agree you shouldn't use it in public, but with your friend privately(if they don't care) what's wrong about it ?

the n word

Submitted by Anonymous on 8 October 2014 - 4:59pm.

If they should be happy about it, then why should they only say it in private? Shouldn't even black people be ok with white people saying it in public since it is a word of endearment? The plain truth of it is no one under any circumstance should use that word whether it be blacks, whites, Mexicans or Asian, etc. Nigger/Nigga, it is the same thing. It isn't any different from someone using the word fellas instead of fellows; gangsta instead of gangster. Whatever value or lack there of was put into a word at the time of creation, that's what it will always be. IT IS AN INSULT!! It always has been and it always will be.

The N-word

Submitted by Anonymous on 26 September 2014 - 11:40pm.

In the history of time, African Americans have died from the word, so either way it still counts as offensive but your right in many ways If they don't care you still can't say it cause your making a seen to other people around you making it, ok for them to use it and it will get over hand.


Submitted by Anonymous on 15 April 2014 - 10:18am.


The word can't be positive

Submitted by Anonymous on 20 March 2014 - 5:19pm.

The word can't be positive anymore. That's the thing, it just can't. most people use the argument that it is another way to say friend or brother, but the truth of the matter is that if you yell friend or brother at someone angrily it doesn't turn it into an insult. The word is held down by ignorance and just because some people decide to use it because "Words don't hurt" or "I can say it cause I am black" isn't going to suddenly make the word take on some special meaning. There is so much hate pushing that word that letting it come from your mouth is poison to society in secret or public. If you say something often enough,you begin to believe it, whether it is true or not. That's why we as African-Americans don't have the right to be angry because someone of some race said the N word. You should be angry that ANYONE can still say it and it be "okay"

it can positive depending on usage & pronunciation

Submitted by Anonymous on 28 August 2014 - 10:59pm.

Words are constantly in flux. Fags still are cigarettes in Briton & 60 odd years ago gay just meant you were happy. Nigger may not be able to become a positive but "nigga" can & has. When I call my homie "my nigga" im not insulting him nor do I intend to. Nigga is pronounced differently, spelled differntly & used with a different connotation & definition thus technically its a different word with a common root as nigger. Im against using it outside Black cultural circles & using it with friends from other groups & calling them nigga thus opening the door for them to use it in turn but "nigga" has become a nuetural or positive term.

A word of such positive

Submitted by Anonymous on 4 January 2015 - 2:37pm.

A word of such positive regard that you are against its use outside of "Black" cultural circles and using it with friends? Critical thinking doesn't seem to be as...critical... as it us to be.

I can't agree

Submitted by Anonymous on 28 October 2014 - 8:48am.

Nigga is still derived from the term Nigger, which is negative and always will be.
No matter how you look at it.
If it is a positive term then all should be able to use it right? But no, then the whole derogatory meaning of it and oppression comes into play again linking it back to Nigger.
If it is innocent enough to be used in your social circle, then you should be comfortable using it in all situations if you deem it okay.
Even you yourself know it has to be used in a certain way, just proving it's relevance to Nigger.
I don't find it fair that one race can use the word and it is casual and friendly, whereas whenever someone else does it is extremely unnacceptable and rude.
For this reason alone I don't think it should be used at all, by anyone.
It makes no sense to use a word related to torture, frustration and pure ignorance, adapt it but still have the same conditions and restrictions as if someone was still using Nigger.

I hope you understand what I mean.

Damn right

Submitted by Anonymous on 20 June 2014 - 5:26pm.

Well said.

the n word is unacceptable no matter who uses it

Submitted by Anonymous on 9 February 2014 - 12:12pm.

The n word represents disrespect and dehumanization of our race. I am black and I am very hurt by this word no matter whose mouth it flows from. I don't understand why our people would want to call each other that as a term of "endearment." My sons are 13 and 11 (both in middle school) and I teach them how inappropriate this word is. Last year my oldest said that word with a group of friends we had a talk about racism and how it's unacceptable to use that word. I know they will inevitably encounter the word in their high school years, whether through music, friends etc. and I think schools should educate youth that the word is unacceptable no matter who uses it.


Submitted by Anonymous on 4 March 2014 - 6:49pm.

a word is a word and cannot hurt you unless you allow it to.

you're the one who's wrong.

Submitted by Anonymous on 8 October 2014 - 5:07pm.

whatever amount of value or lack there of was put into that word at the time of creation is what the word will always hold. The person who first thought that using the n word as a meaning of friendship was obviously an ignorant and stupid person. It clear that he has done more harm than good. Think of all the people who were killed because of that word. People who lost their lives just for saying that word in the presence of a black person. That word holds no value of friendship. It holds nothing. It was created to be an insult and it always will be an insult regardless of how it is used.

It's true that a word cannot

Submitted by Anonymous on 17 March 2014 - 3:15pm.

It's true that a word cannot hurt you unless you allow it to, but that doesn't mean that the origin of the word changes and nor does its meaning.

the "N" word

Submitted by Anonymous on 7 March 2014 - 11:10am.

However as adults it is important that we teach our children how to be descent people. And, just as we teach them that profanity is not acceptable the use of the "N" word should be in that same conversation. Our children are being bombarded with language that too often is inappropriate, constantly they are being influenced by the "music" they are listening to on their cell phones or other devices. I honestly feel that as adults we have dropped the ball and so I don't blame the children. The fault lies with the adults in the room who have not paid attention to what the children are listening to, saying or doing. Words do have power and certainly have influence. Learning to disregard harmful words is a learned skill. Using language that some may feel acceptable I think is simply peer pressure at any age in life.

what is the origin of the N-word in a positive way?

Submitted by Anonymous on 3 March 2014 - 4:08pm.

I agree that any historically horrible, dehumanizing word should not be used and the use of the word is now like a stick of dynamite, even if it has 2 opposite meanings. What ever happened to the term "brother" or "bro"? That seems to me to be the endearing word that was replace by the N-word?
Perhaps in black culture the term 'bro' or brother became too widely used by young white men and was no longer used just by blacks so the N-word became a popular replacement that could not be sued by whites as readily? Not certain but I think it would be best to regress back to using bro/brother?

I agree

Submitted by Anonymous on 25 February 2014 - 10:57am.

I agree totally. If a word is considered to be bad for whatever reason, it should be considered a bad word for everyone equally.

I go to a small school, so

Submitted by Anonymous on 21 February 2014 - 11:26pm.

I go to a small school, so most students are white, and you won't believe how many boys use the n word. It's a lot of the more "punk" type kids, the ones who pants sag and wear their baseball caps backwards. They don't do it around teachers, just around each other. I've overheard them saying it before, and I think it's wrong of them to do it.

Book Aimed at Healing the Ontological Wound of the N Word

Submitted by Anonymous on 5 February 2014 - 12:47am.

MY NEEG'-ER: Healing the Ontological Wound of the "N" Word,a recently published book by Caliph Zaphnathpaaneah El, traces the history of the N word back to its original Hebraic and Amharic roots. A word that meant divinity, royalty, or nobility was redefined to mean an inferior social class of people. "The intent of this book is to bring about awareness and restore a biblical identity to a people who are the only people in the history of mankind whose identity the world has concealed! It is time to challenge the assigned meaning of the word "NEEG'-ER" . . .


Submitted by Anonymous on 7 July 2014 - 5:10am.

Nice book


Submitted by Anonymous on 24 January 2014 - 4:48pm.

My teenaged daughter is exposed to the N***a word constantly on social media. Her middle school friends, even black friends use the word and even have that as part of their instagram name. She never uses the offensive word, but she's become tolerant of seeing and hearing the word since it's so common and no one seems to mind.

i drive a school bus and all

Submitted by Anonymous on 1 September 2014 - 12:24pm.

i drive a school bus and all the kids call each other that black,white,hispanic says it does not mean the same thing to them

A 20 year olds thought

Submitted by Anonymous on 19 January 2014 - 10:19pm.

After we have established that in our world today the N-word is used by the black community all the time, for endearment and insult; my question is why do we have this ignorant mind set that we should slaughter anyone other than us who uses it when we abuse it everyday, all the time? We preach about racism towards us and talk about how people, especially "whites" need to change and neglect the fact that we need to have some respect for ourselves and our perception and knowledge of ourselves to know that the N-word, no matter who says it, is down right wrong, in any given context.

Ignorant and Offensive in Any Context

Submitted by Anonymous on 2 December 2013 - 11:54am.

I find the use of this word ignorant and offensive in any context.
I and my family are primarily of British and Irish descent. I was raised by both of my parents, most specifically my mother, to NEVER use racist words or to judge people by their skin color in ANY way.
This is driven home even further by the fact that my wife's half-sisters are mixed Polish/African American among other things.

It has been a sobering process throughout my life to see exactly how hateful and ignorant people can be. I am not a "white" you are not a "black" we are all just people.

It is extremely offensive to me when I hear racial slurs, and I do call people out (as calmly as I possibly can). This is true in defense of African Americans (whether any are present or not) and also when my own ethnicity and ancestry are cast in negative light. I am proudly Irish, and we are not all just drunks.

To me, racist is the most ignorant thing you can be.

High School

Submitted by Anonymous on 18 November 2013 - 9:16am.

As a white teacher in a predominantly white school in St. Petersburg, Florida, it's simple. I don't care what color you are, no one uses that word in my room with any variety of endings. No -er, ga, none of it. Period. You can't say the F word either, and that has far less baggage.

my son is only 9, and is in the fourth grade

Submitted by Anonymous on 26 September 2013 - 12:32am.

I got a call from my sons principal today he's in the fourth grade I guess recess he was in an altercation with some students happy to be black and my son said the N word.I've had a sick feeling in my stomach all day thinking about it he was suspended from school for a day in only the 4th grade I know my son is it racist his siblings are biracial I don't understand why he would use that word how do I handle this situation he says he just got so angry that it came out but he doesn't hear it at home nor and his father's house. I don't know what to should I deal with this? please help

When a Mexican kid uses it

Submitted by Anonymous on 12 September 2013 - 12:11am.

I teach at a middle school that's 65% Latino, 25% African American, and 15% everything else. Yesterday one of my Mexican kids (yes, he really is Mexican) said the N-word. I asked him not to say it, so he said it again, to a black girl. He was surprised I asked him to stop and said it wasn't racist for him to use it because he's Mexican, not white. He's also strongly into hiphop and that's part of the environment.

I sent him to go talk to our security man, who's an African American minister and civil rights worker, and he said his talk had almost no impact on the boy.

How do you have this conversation with kids who aren't white? The kid doesn't feel like he's doing anything wrong, but some of my African American kids feel he has no more right to say it than a white person does (he's co-opting culture), whereas others feel that because he isn't white, he can use the word because there's no racist intent or history between blacks and Mexicans. (Which there is, but it would be lengthy to explain and he would reject hearing it so I doubt it would do any good). And what can I, as an outsider in the community, do? I've already invited a black friend to come in and talk to the class, but he can't come for a week.

Prejudice and ugly has no color

Submitted by Anonymous on 24 May 2014 - 10:02pm.

I am a first generation American (human), I have been to many countries and worked and played with people of all types. The "N" word is just plain unacceptable for any purpose, regardless of who says it. The word represents a time in society that humans disrespected our fellow humans. We as a society of humans need to focus our time and energy on improving ourselves. We waste so much valuable time and energy in the cycle of negativity.


Submitted by Anonymous on 4 February 2014 - 6:17pm.

Having been an advocate for Latinos and also a teacher of Spanish and also ESOL for many, many years, have his parents talk to him about how they feel when someone calls them Wetbacks or Spics, or even more when someone refers to them as "Illegals", a term that I equate to the N word. As someone who is part Native American the term Injun is also along those lines. He and all children need to understand that we are not white, Afro-American, Latino American, Asian American, or Native American. We ARE HUMAN BEINGS. God Bless America All the Way from Alaska to Argentina.

Dre ostine

Submitted by Anonymous on 28 February 2014 - 12:03pm.

I agree totally. If a word is considered to be bad for whatever reason, it should be considered a bad word for everyone equally.

Mexican American Kids Learning the N-Word from Hip Hop

Submitted by Anonymous on 2 January 2014 - 3:33am.

My husband and his family are from Mexico. He has a niece who was born here. She's 12 years old and is always glued to her phone. The other day she was spewing out lines from a song or show that included the N-word. I was so disappointed and offended. I'm Filipino-American; being born and raised in California, I grew up believing that the word is a racist slur. The word is a slap in the face to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's and the freedom and opportunity all Americans enjoy. I tried to talk to her about the N-word, and she kept saying it a couple of more times. She asked how could it be wrong if they use it in a song she listens to. I just ended up sounding like an out-of-touch adult. With 42 of her social media friends to contend with, I wished I had more support in engaging her in a more meaningful discussion about the N-word. She pointed her phone at my face and attempted to videotape me lecturing her for laughs with her friends later. I pushed the phone away from my face, and that ended the conversation. Who knows? Maybe I'll take her to The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. But, I also feel like just staying away from her and minimizing my son's interaction with her too.