Personally I find the N word more offensive than the F word because it connotes hatred for a race of people. I will never understand what it's like to be called that. To explain, here are a few excerpts from various sources:
The saga continues with the "forbidden" word. In (Randell) Kennedy's book, "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word," he explains that he has “invested energy in this endeavor because nigger is a key word in the lexicon of race relations and thus an important term in American politics.” Kennedy does do an excellent job of approaching the subject of its inception. "Nigger is derived from the Latin word for the color black, niger. According to Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, it did not originate as a slur but took on a derogatory connotation over time. Nigger and other words related to it have been spelled in a variety of ways, including niggah, nigguh, niggur, and niggar. When John Rolfe recorded in his journal the first shipment of Africans to Virginia in 1619, he listed them as 'negars'. A 1689 inventory of an estate in Brooklyn, New York, made mention of an enslaved ‘niggor’ boy. The seminal lexicographer Noah Webster referred to Negroes as ‘negers.’ In the 1700s niger appeared in what the dictionary describes as ‘dignified argumentation’ such as Samuel Sewall's denunciation of slavery, The Selling of Joseph. No one knows precisely when or how niger turned derisively into nigger and attained a pejorative meaning. We do know, however, that by the end of the first third of the nineteenth century, nigger had already become a familiar and influential insult."
Additionally, in A Treatise on the Intellectual Character and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the United States: and the Prejudice Exercised Towards Them (1837), “Hosea Easton wrote that nigger ‘is an opprobrious term, employed to impose contempt upon blacks as an inferior race…The term in itself would be perfectly harmless were it used only to distinguish one class of society from another; but it is not used with that intent…It flows from the fountain of purpose to injure.”
Which is a perfect lead-in into another issue — a white person's use of the N-word. Kennedy believes that it is acceptable for white people to use the term because “we are the masters of words.” There is an infamous sketch from Saturday Night Live featuring Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase. Chase is interviewing Pryor for a job as a janitor and administers a word-association test.
“White,” says Chase. “Black,” Pryor replies. “Bean,” Chase continues. “Pod.” “Negro.” “Whitey,” Pryor replies. “Tarbaby.” “What did you say?” Pryor asks. “Tarbaby,” Chase repeats. “Ofay,” Pryor says. “Colored.” “Redneck!” “Jungle Bunny!" “Peckerwood,” Pryor yells. “Burrhead!” “Cracker.” “Spear-chucker!” “White Trash!” “Jungle Bunny!” Chase repeats. “Honky!” “Spade!” “Honky, honky!” “Nigger,” Chase replies, fully aware that he has one-upped Pryor. “Dead honky!” growls Pryor with a threat of violence.
There are many people who believe that no matter its spelling, the N-word is not a privilege extended to whites. This is a tricky matter only because white people account for the predominant share of rap and hip-hop sales (70 percent) and are thus very much exposed to its usage. What about the whites whose black friends don't mind them using it
...but I do understand white people being confused. How does a race of people have jurisdiction over a word in the English language? Can we do that? Are we the word police? Last month, 27-year-old Walter B. Kizzie Jr. was found hanging from a tree near the McIntosh county town of Stidham. Despite the mumbles, the family doesn’t believe it was suicide. They believe that he was lynched because he was reportedly found with two rubber tie-down cords taped together with electric tape. Kizzie’s family fears that there will not be a thorough investigation. You might ask what this has to do with the N-word. Well, when have you ever known anyone to be lynched and the word was not used?
(excerpted from The history, origin of a powerful word, May 1, 2002 )
says...' I've never owned a slave, "you've" never been a slave, my great-grandparents were never wealthy enough to own slaves... so maybe it's time we ALL get over it. The whole argument has lived past its prime, and if it wasn't for politics (poli, meaning many and tics, meaning bloodsucking creatures) it would have been dead long ago. ' (paraphrased)
How can people be equal? Has this argument outlived its use? Does no one REALLY want to hear about it any more? Are people simply tired of it? It's easy enough to say to simply move on, but in reality some things are easier said then done. How can one explain politics in the realm of the KKK? Running around in white robes, what is the difference between them and the Nazis of Germany? To sit by and know that there is hatred and the wish to rid the area of a certain race is almost as bad as those people doing the hating. (paraphrased)
A fence always has two sides. How about the Black Panthers ? They're as biased as any "white pointy hatted boys."(paraphrased)
Rock stars, Nazis, KKK and the Black Panthers. It's the grossest of ironies that so many people mistake political correctness for some sort of social justice. Having been in all but two states I can say with plenty of evidence that prejudice is alive and well in the US. Here are just a few examples that come to mind.
Kansas- After being seen out on a date with another college student who was black--And I call him black because I ASKED and he said preferred it that way. I was fired from the dress shop where I worked.
Delaware- As a matter of fact, when I was invited to visit him and his family in Delaware the police came to his sister's house. Living with a boyfriend, she was single mother of three wonderfully smart and downright adorable kids. When the door burst in at three in the morning looking for another brother (there were 13 siblings) the ONLY person the police would talk to was ME. I am sure that it was because I was the only white person there. Never mind that the kids were screaming in fear for their lives, I was SO obviously not related, and from out of town.
Kansas- A few years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, during the militant black movement of the 70's, the College Dean in all of his infinite stupidness made me a Resident Advisor putting the ENTIRE population of black girls that lived on campus on my floor. Why? He said it was because I was dating one of "them"; he could control "them" better with a white girl in charge. It was an insult to all, just a sick way of thinking.
Kansas- More than one 'white boy' told me I was "spoiled meat" because I was dating a black man. A long-ago wrong that still stings like a frozen lash.
Missouri- Only a year ago an employee of my husband went to Kansas City, Missouri to help train employees at a Coco's. She observed that there was an unspoken 'white section' and unspoken 'black section'. Regulars would come in and request a table. She tried seating black people in the 'white section' and all refused. When she finally did succeed in seating a black family from out of town in the 'white section' there was a cold silence and many white people she said stopped eating leaving in the middle of their meal.
Texas- It was only a mere four generations ago that my ancestors were slave owners There is a family Last Will and Tesatament with a black woman and her child are listed as part of the kitchen supplies, in alphabetical order as a 'n****r woman and child' between the ladles and oven. She was worth 200 dollars and the infant boy, because he was male was considered more valuable, he was listed at 300 dollars. The image is mind boggling.
I think about that a lot. That my life and livelihood has been made possible upon the back of slavery. It's important to remember these people and the sacrifices they made. I tell my children about this and I will tell my grandchildren. To ever forget that would condemn them to making the same mistakes.
Carl Sandburg told of presidents and prejudice. One particularly stirring drama unfolded on the night of an inauguration ball. Abraham Lincoln was enjoying the beginning of a second term in office and just delivered the blazing address in which he made famous the words,
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work that we are in.”
That evening, in a White House reception room, the president stood shaking hands with a long line of well-wishers. Someone informed him that a close friend was at the door, but security wouldn't let him in because he was black. The President broke off from high-level protocol and had his friend shown in at once. The crowd of guests hushed as the great leader appeared at the door.
In a booming voice that filled the silence, Abraham Lincoln unashamedly announced, “Here comes my friend Douglass!” And then turning to Fedrick Douglass, Lincoln said, “I am glad to see you. I saw you in the crowd today, listening to my address. There is no man in the country whose opinion I value more than yours. I want to know what you think of it.”
Those who see and respect the rich human qualities in individuals whom others reject blaze pioneer trails through thick jungles of bigotry. May the next generation walk on the path of such giants.
Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
~ (Acts 10: 34, 35