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04:48 PM on 03/20/11 
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EasySkankin
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Language changes over time. The fact we can use n*gga as a positive today is progress, not regression. People who label the word as racist are the ones making the distinction between race. You don't have to be black to be a n*gga. One day I won't have to use that asterick, and the world will be a better place for it.
05:02 PM on 03/20/11 
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EasySkankin
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There's a difference in opinion on this word but I feel as though activists from the 60s probably have the most relevant opinion. From what I've seen, the use of n*gga in common vernacular arose as a mockery of racist Americans using it on blacks during the times around or prior to the civil rights movement. I'm not sure how it then grew into the equivalent of "man" (in the way hippies say "hayy mannn") but yes, ideally it should either be accepted by all parties or not used at all.
That's interesting, never knew that. I think realistically speaking, it's both impossible and immoral to try and ban a word, and it's only a matter of time and progress before the word is accepted.
07:04 PM on 03/20/11 
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in one of my classes we recently discussed the fact that the "N" word and the word "indian" are being taken out of every new printing of the book huck finn and replaced with "black person" and native american.....what is everyones thoughts on this? i kind of feel like in this instance it will take away from the book, and leaving the words in the book almost gives us a chance to learn from our past and the ugliness of this language. i dk. a lot of people in my class thought it was good that they took it out though.
I remember this. Reminded me why orwell's work is still extremely relevant. Such a blatant example of doublespeak. Completely spits in the face of the point of the novel, too.
07:52 PM on 03/20/11 
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EasySkankin
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I think a rather brilliant episode of South Park satirizes this issue, I believe it's "N*gger Guy", I'd suggest you check it out.
pon the dl
08:39 PM on 03/20/11 
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EasySkankin
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haha no one seems to know it! Just means i'm downloading it.
10:55 AM on 03/21/11 
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EasySkankin
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I'm hispanic, and maybe i've been discriminated on job apps because of my name, but i've never faced discrimination, at least not racially anyway.

I admit that for a small period of time in high school I was a full-blown racist. I made a dumb decision and trusted some people I shouldn't have and ended up getting held up at gun point with my best friend in a very scary location. I lost my friend because of it. It was just from pure anger and frustration that I needed something or someone to blame. It wasn't so much I hated all black people, but I hated black people who fit a certain image and persona, the kind of people that held me up, and in my town there are plenty of them. In hindsight, it might sound cliche, but I do think being a racist reflects heavily on a person's own insecurities and low self-worth. It was really my own lack of good judgment and naivete that I ended up losing my best friend.
11:35 AM on 03/21/11 
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Sorry to hear that man. Good for you for getting over it.
Thanks, man.
11:24 PM on 03/21/11 
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EasySkankin
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...that "should" matter. use the n*gger in common conversation and see how people (of all races) react

And why do they react that way? It's stupid. If I yell NI**ER out loud and people get angry about, it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with a word. Do you really think you're actually combating racism by attacking a word? It boggles my mind how ridiculous that is. You are only furthering people's distinctions between races.
06:37 AM on 03/22/11 
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EasySkankin
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Meaning is all about context, and the context of n*gger is such that its meaning IS racist. It's never JUST a word. Words are never JUST words, ever.
Words are just words. It's the meaning represented behind them that have any substance at all. N*gger doesn't mean the same thing anymore, if that isn't obvious enough. You contradict yourself in your first sentence. Even if we strip back the meaning of the word to only include black people, it still isn't racism in and of itself, no more than calling someone black is racist.
08:25 AM on 03/22/11 
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you're implying that we should divorce words from their meaning. n*gger has a very negative context when anyone but a black person uses it due to it's etymological growth. people are getting angry because you're using a racial slur, whether it's to prove a point or put someone down. you're acting like you shouldn't be held accountable for the words you use.

furthermore, there's a difference between staying empathetic to others' feelings and trying to "combat racism by attacking a word."

@bold: how is this true at all? Where does that come from? White people use it in almost exactly the same manner black people do, with a sort of camaraderie. You're completely ignoring context. It isn't racial anymore, it's the objectors that keep tagging race onto it because they don't want it to change from its historical use, which only goes to further racial divides.

I should be held accountable, but give me a fair trial. N*gga is just a "dirty" word, like cunt or motherfucker, but it most definitely does not mean i'm racist. You can judge me for using it if you want, the same way you can judge me for using dirty words, but don't assume i'm racist because that's wholly ignorant and incorrect. I use the word among both white and black friends, and they know when I call them n*gga it's because I love them, not hate them. If you think that's wrong then you're free to judge. I think it's great.

It isn't empathic at all, it's a total front. Like other people have pointed out, it's mostly white people who will actively object the use of the word.
03:05 PM on 03/22/11 
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Ha. Yeah, except for the white people who still use it with hate and venom...which is why some black people (and people of any race) object to white people using the word.

If you can't see how some people would see a white person using the word in any context as offensive due to the history of the word...well, then you're either playing dumb or actually dumb.
Ah, the old "wow, you don't agree with me. You're dumb" ploy. Well played.
09:55 PM on 03/22/11 
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Aaah, the old 'act crucified because I said you were dumb if you can't understand the underlining venom involved in the word' ploy.

Do you feel like commenting on the rest of the post? Feel free to ignore the 'you may be dumb' part if you get a break from un-bunching your panties.
Nothing you said isn't addressed in my post, and like usual you can't make an opposing point to a non-regular without slipping in some condescending comment. I know from experience you're only trying to get a hostile reaction from me and that's not happening.
n*gger became a term of camaraderie amongst black people as a way of banding together in terrible conditions. as racial segregation grew from slavery into economic issues (ghettos, hoods, projects, whatever you want to call it), the word was still used for those purposes.

you have the audacity to tell me that I'M ignoring context, and then say that the word n*gger doesn't have racial implications? what world do you live in? whites have no right to a word as convoluted as n*gger without understanding it. you can't equate it with obscene words that aren't racially motivated. also, I've never called you racist. you can use a racist word without being racist...just understand that "implications" aren't enough to combat centuries of racism. if your friends are comfortable with your using the word in reference to them, that's great, but don't try doing it to your black boss someday.

the bolded is straight-up ridiculous.
You say you can't judge a word without addressing context, yet you say n*gga is a racial term regardless of context. The word only implies race if you use it negatively. The world I live in is one where both white and black people say n*gga without regards to race, where it's much like just saying "dude" (Dude itself was a negative term until society altered it).

Of course there's a history behind it, but that's history. Centuries ago, germans used to shout "hip hip hooray" in the streets to rally their people so they can wander into the ghettos and abuse the jewish populace. Looking down on the term and chastising people who use it doesn't do anything for the jewish community, but in the modern day the term is a used in celebration and no one thinks anything of it.

A black person has the right to be sensitive to it of course, I don't say it in front of them unless I know they're cool with it. I just think they don't have to (and tbh I think it's silly), and the sooner people disassociate words from being "racist" we can start forgetting about these superficial things, race itself, and think of black only as a skin color. I think more than anything, the idea that "whites have no right to a word" is only going to discredit the cause, as if giving the blacks privilege to a word does anything for them and completely sidesteps the fact the word is still in heavy use. The point should be to erase any distinctions between us other than skin color. Instead we have to treat them as poor helpless black folk who need "special privileges". It's the 21st century and I think society in general is ready to leave these silly nuances of race behind.
So you think there is a positively determined meaning that words gesture towards but they themselves are mere mediators? Can you give an example of that? Of a word whose meaning is not defined by context?
You mean wholly defined by context? That's what I'm getting at. Anyone who's paid attention in english or touched on the subject of linguistics knows the meanings of words can drastically change over time. Historical context is virtually meaningless and only useful in historical study. It's how we use it today that determines the meaning and what it will mean in the future.
10:49 PM on 03/22/11 
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EasySkankin
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you misunderstood the difference between etymological context and usage context. both are present . I'm fully aware that when you use that word with your friends (Where do you live btw? Illinois? I'm interested in this magical place of racial harmony) it's not meant as a racial slur and they accept it as such. but you're the exception, not the rule. you can't ignore the hundreds of years of bigotry that this particular word carries with it in the real world.


this is a straw man argument. a more apt comparison would be the word 'kike,' which is still virtually unusable today.


your "21st century acceptance" argument wrong, plain and simple. we're still extremely segregated by race, carried over from the historical prejudices inherent in our country since before its founding. you're thinking idealistically, naively...not realistically.
Kike is only unusable in the public domain, but so many words are anyway. It's anecdotal, but I know this jewish DJ who gets called kike all the time by his friends and it's never meant negatively. I guess it comes down to what kind of person you are. I personally think that if you are so sensitive and believe someone is being hateful towards you whenever they call you spic, n*gga, beaner, chink, gringo, etc. it seems a bit insecure. But that's just me and if someone feels different it's just better to hold my tongue and let it be.

I live in rockford, which ranks in the top 20 on forbes' worst cities to live in in the U.S. We're heavily segregated with blacks on the west side who are mostly poor which is rife with gang violence. Lots of crack and heroine too. In a city of about 150,000 we get at least 1 murder every day. A couple years ago chicago transferred a bunch of imprisoned gang members into the area and it's gotten worse because of it. We were one of the last cities to desegregate our schools, and when my parents moved in they were still having KKK rallies in the streets. Race is a very real issue here on almost a daily basis. Unfortunately you have to recognize little things like race and gang symbols and mannerisms associated with them just to avoid getting jumped, especially if you're still in school.

Even with all that, most of the black friends i've had had no problem with calling each other n*gga because it isn't racial, it's between bros. Of course there are the kids who would want to start throwing fists the moment they heard a white guy say it. Maybe I do live in a bubble but something tells me it's a trend, and I think it's a good trend and I believe history gives evidence to that. I'm probably playing like a broken record but I just see hypocrisy in trying to be "sensitive" to race when I think the way forward is to be insensitive. And like others here have put much more eloquently, the real racial divide comes from socio-economic issues. Racists will still be racists and black people can still be disenfranchised whether or not you let people say n*gga. Real solutions to the problem lie elsewhere.

Sorry that was a little longer than I meant it to be...
08:59 PM on 03/26/11 
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Bolded is incorrect. How a word WAS used provides context for how it IS used and thus how it WILL be used. You can't separate past from present & future as such; it's just plain daft. And furthermore, something like racism is built into the superstructures we live and operate within. It's not so simple as to individually change how we use/define a word. There must be serious systemic change. N*gga has to do with race always because it is part of a system that made it a racial signifier.
So you're saying the meaning of words have remained constant throughout history? That's just incorrect. I've already given a couple examples.
11:22 PM on 03/26/11 
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He was making the point that words do shift in meaning over time, based on historical/social/cultural contexts.
I get that. Dude used to mean an ignorant, snobbish city person. Spook used to mean a black person. Pussy just meant cat. Gay meant happy. The way we use these words today has little to do with how they were used in the past.
 



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