Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let's Make a Deal on the N-Word

By: John McWhorter - The Root

It's a delicate business to declare a racial slur taboo. Today a non-black person calling a black one the n-word is treated as morally equivalent to photos of naked children being discovered in one's desk drawer.

Yet all societies have taboos, and the way we now treat the n-word is, in broad view, merely a sign that American taboos have shifted from the sexual to the racial. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have their cardboard cut-out scamps in South Park dwell on every imaginable form of scatology. But even they would never dream of having a character actually utter the n-word; the closest they have come is coyly ending an episode cold just as a character was about to do so.

It is a more delicate business, however, to decree that black people can sling the n-word all over the place while white people are burned in effigy for saying it. That's the ritual that Dr. Laura Schlessinger was complaining about in her "eruption" on her radio show. She, like most Americans, doesn't get why black people can but white people can't.
Full Article Here

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The Blackest White Folks We Know

Race relations have gotten a little crazy lately. An all-white basketball league? Glenn Beck's black-history lesson? An over-the-top flight attendant? The Root takes a look at those who claim "blackness" and those we think make the cut -- whether they like it or not.

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