The N Word


It’s one of the English language’s most inflammatory pejoratives and has lingered like a smoldering fire in America’s collective consciousness for more than 100 years. This illuminating documentary looks at the “n” word’s history and ever-changing usage — which runs the gamut from a repugnant slur to a term of endearment. A slate of celebrities and other familiar figures are interviewed, including Quincy Jones, Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Rock.


6 thoughts on “The N Word

  1. Just like I do not use other words I will not use this word. I teach my children that swearing is wrong, name calling is wrong, and being disrespectful is wrong. Terms of endearment need to be agreed by both the recipient and the carrier, if not then there is disrespect. There is never any reason for me to even think about this language.

  2. This documentary is on the list to go deeper past the surface. Each documentary is what it is but usually it is about something more. Why are words offensive and why do we decide to use them or not use them. Is there a link between this documentary to those that we have watched so far? Will there be to the those that we will watch and what could be those connections?

  3. Words and their meanings grow along with the people who use them, the word is so powerful to some because of its past, not so powerful to others who either don’t think about or have forgotten about its past. People’s knowledge affects their reaction, or absence of action, this idea relates to what was discussed in The Corporation. Understanding in the first step of take action/making a difference

  4. But how to make a difference when the media bombards us with it?

    How music casually drops such language in our laps – how people absorb it like a sponge and repeat it without understanding its connotations….

    Even if there are many that are knowledgeable of the words history, it worries me that through music, television, etc, it will be an ongoing battle of who gets to spoon feed who first. What if your elders tell you the history, but your buddies say it all the time? Does that cancel out the past?

    I agree with Mary that the Corporation and the N Word do bring light to both subjects – and that the media is not helping to ease the situation. I just wish that everyone was required to see both films!

  5. The power of language is sometimes forgotten. You might be walking down the street and laugh at some dumb joke or blurt out something unawarely. A person might take offense to this. Even though there is no negative meaning behind the word, its history might have some.

    —- Oh the other hand—-
    We are able to process these words and understand their present meaning. Using F word for fuck is pointless. No matter how you “sugar coat” it , the word means fuck. Same for N word or G.D. Even if we change it the whole word as in Gosh Darn It. It still means God Damn-it. As a living person we are going to hear these. Get over it. These words are going to be hear as long as we live. Most people realize these are bad words, hence the reason we say them.

  6. I find it so interesting that any one, regardless of race, still uses such a word. With such a deep history, it is hard for me to take it out of its context and see it as a term of friendship.
    It is difficult for me to understand that this word changes meaning depending on who said it.

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