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July 18th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Etiquette of the N-word

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/11/art.jessejackson2.jpg]
Susan Chun
AC360 Producer

Debate over the N-word has intensified in the past couple years.

Remember when Michael Richards from “Seinfeld” was caught on tape two years ago using the n-word in a comedy routine? People were outraged and Richards had to apologize.

The NAACP last year held a symbolic funeral to bury the N-word. And the Rev. Jesse Jackson has called on rappers and entertainers to stop using it in their performances.

But Fox News says Jackson himself used the word in what he thought was an off camera moment. He was criticizing Senator Obama for “talking down” to blacks. The full quote from Jackson, according to Fox, is “Barack..he’s talking down to black people… telling 'n-word' how to behave.”

Jason Whitlock, columnist for the Kansas City Star, told us he thinks Jackson, like many other African Americans, is “addicted” to the N-word and struggles with giving it up.

Ebony Magazine editor Bryan Monroe disagrees, saying African Americans are using the word less because they are finally understanding how hurtful and damaging it is.

Some New Yorkers on the street told us they think Jackson is a hypocrite for using the N-word, though one young African American woman said she doesn’t view it as a derogatory term when used by black people. She said it’s simply a way to say “hi friend.”

We caught up with Jackson, who’s in Madrid for a conference. He has apoligized to Obama and to the American people, and a healing process has begun. But he didn’t comment specifically on his use of the N-word. That alone has sparked a fresh debate over this word so loaded with painful history.


Filed under: AC360° Staff • Race in America • Susan Chun
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. THOMAS HOWARD

    i am a 70 yr old BLACK MAN who can't believe that supposedly intelligent black people try to convince white people (and black people) that it's alright to say the N-word when talking to a black person but it's not alright for the white person so say the N-word to a black person. This kind of thinking is the most ignorant I've ever heard in my life.

    in my whole life, i've NEVER had anyone BLACK OR WHITE say the N-word to me as word of endearment. To the contrary, the use of this word meant to be mean and degrading NO MATTER WHO SAYS IT.

    The notion that black people's use ot this word gives them power and takes the power from white shows ignorance and only shows that racism is just bad in blacks and it is in whites.

    I feel sorry for the families leaders such as Martin L King, Medar Evers who I feel died in vain, because blacks today just to get it when they feel that it's ok to use the N-word in any context.

    July 19, 2008 at 12:22 am |
  2. Jill~MI

    I cannot believe what I heard when Al. Sharpton sat on AC360 and was arguing why this word that was a representation of this race, had to be subject to so many different meanings... As if, they would never release the ugly thing that happened to this race of people concerning this word. Forgive me, if I misunderstood what I heard, but Pleasssssse!!!

    Some people have different meanings to it; the word united with evil, no matter how you look at it though, not a race, evil...

    July 18, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  3. Jill~MI

    I personally don’t like being told I cannot say any ~ word(s) ~ in this, it is, my America also... as much as it is Blacks, Hispanics, Mexican’s, etc... My liberties are mine in this country, as well as any other human being. I want the same respect and acknowledgements in that as others want in theirs.

    The double standard we are getting here from the black community, as this a cultural “thing” with what is acceptable for them, is not acceptable to all; is as much BS, racism and discriminating as when they were told. They could not sit in the front of the bus, had to drink out of different fountains, and not allowed in certain businesses establishment in this country, etc... I don’t want to sit in the back of the bus, not drink from the fountain of my choice or be admitted to any establishment I may choose to enter in either, just because I’m WHITE. And, metaphorically speaking, that’s exactly what they are saying to American’s when they say as Sherri Shepard did on the View ~ “ I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH” in response to Barbara Walter’s asking, it’s then ok for blacks to say the word, but not for whites... Is there any word(s) that are banned from their mouths....

    This word, has been embraced by the black community in the same way the southern culture was pre civil war days to southernism, who seen no wrong in how thy lived their lives at the time either. It was a way of live a culture united, until others pointed it out to them, slavery and bondage are just that no matter how you look at it. A double standard, intimidations, prides... This word does not belong to anyone, who would want it...

    July 18, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  4. Kathi Z. Greensburg PA

    All races have offending slang words that refer to them, not just the Black Americans with the "N" word . All immigrants had a horrible time of it with discremenation against them when they came to America. So quit whinning about the "N" word. Grow up and deal with it.

    July 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  5. lampe

    Is CNN,going to have other specials like JEWISH or LATINO or how about WHITE IN AMERICA, seems only far to me.

    July 18, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  6. Jo Anne Cummings

    I agree with Tom. If things are truly to change, the rules need to be the same for all the players

    July 18, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  7. Teri

    I'm amazed at the comments I've read and heard from both famous and not so famous people regarding this verbage. Having worked for the past 15 years in our elementary school system, it's no wonder the change in the young children I see entering our schools. With so many black adults defending the use of the "N" word "on TV, in their families, their homes, their lives", how are we to teach children whats "right and wrong". It's not just the "N" word and it's not just black. Look at our movies, TV, public conversations at the malls where "F" this, t'shirts and shorts with "B...." for teens etc, There are too many double standards for the good of all mankind. Would the "REAL" adults please stand up.

    July 18, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  8. Mari, Salt Lake City

    Its despicable to use the "N" word, its wrong, its racist .... I don't care who uses it or why!

    I am disgusted with what Jesse Jackson said, this just confirms for me what I have suspected all along, that he is really a terrible person.

    Also, its so obvious that he is jealous of Sen. Obama's success. Why else would he have said what he did?

    Jesse Jackson, please retire you are insulting us all!

    July 18, 2008 at 7:55 pm |
  9. Alan

    What many people need to realize (white & black) is that black people only gain total freedom about 40yrs ago. It takes time for things to erradicate themselves. The "N" word will eventually wither away and die, but that may take another 40 yrs.

    Take the word "Yankee". During the civil war this word was used in offensive ways when Southners talked about the North. Now look at the word, its even the name of a highly popular baseball team.

    I'm 18yrs old and I can already see how the word has been diminishing. The more "heated" conversations we have about it the closer we come to killing the word.

    July 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm |
  10. Mike in NYC

    Cynthia wrote:

    “I would not advise white people to use it unless they need their clock cleaned if you know what I mean.”

    They’d also get hit with “hate” charges. No assault charges would be forthcoming for the outraged minorities, however. “Protected groups” and all that, you know.

    July 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  11. Fay, CA

    Mike, NYC , I'm well aware of the problems within the black community, but writing off an entire group of people based on "statistics" and a few bad personal experiences is a little extreme since you still are not truly getting a full picture of all African American people. I'm fairly positive that the black friend that you were acquainted with during your childhood was NOT an "exception", but since you are so rigid in your beliefs about blacks you're not likely to ever see anything but the negative aspects, which is unfortunate.

    July 18, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  12. Rosie

    How can a people, so blessed, spend so little time counting those blessings? Here we are, enjoying the benefits of living in such a blessed country, yet we are spending our time debating as to who has the right to use the N-word. Then we have some who seem to be offended because they desire the right to use the N-word.
    How many have taken the time to research this N-word, and know its origin? This N-word, which has become worthy of much discussion, came from the word-"Negro".
    A word, which because of lack of education among Slave driver's, was pronounced incorrectly. The word "Negro" went from its correct pronunciation to the incorrect pronuciation of having two (g's) and ending with (er), with the (e) given an(i) sound. It caught on among the African-American Negroes who, after being denied the right to an education, received their education from the Slave driver's.
    But today there is no excuse for the continued use of the N-word, by any people, because we all have been exposed to a higher education, and can pronounce the word-"Negro" correctly.
    We should count our blessings, but eventhough we have come a long way; I can tell, as I read the blog, that the umbilical cord which connects us to the past, though it has stretched a long way, it has not yet been cut.

    July 18, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  13. Larry

    Will CNN provide an audience alert if the racal slur word is used in Black in america; or just bleep it out?

    Looking forward to the day that CNN does an epic on what its like to be a Native American in america.

    July 18, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  14. Larry

    If Sen. Obama said that, nobody, including african americans, are allowed to use that racial slur; then would that put an end to it?

    What if Sen. Obama used the word, is that ok?

    Is it ok to use the word if its in a language other than english? Is their an american sign language symbol for it and is that acceptable?

    July 18, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  15. Mike in NYC

    Response to Fay, CA:

    I don't believe that all blacks are "criminals or uneducated and unproductive people," but easily available statistics provide a clear picture of group behavior, e.g., 70+% illegitimacy vs. 28% for whites, or 50% of murders committed by a group that is only 12.8% of the population.

    Feel free to rationalize away these numbers to your heart’s content.

    July 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  16. Fay, CA

    Mike in NYC, just keep in mind that you don't know EVERY black person on this planet (and from the tone of the majority of your posts on this blog, it's obvious that you don't want to). Blacks are NOT all alike or as you seem to believe, all criminals or uneducated and unproductive people, but apparently you have chosen to allow certain experiences to color your entire perspective on all blacks.

    I'm really looking forward to CNN's upcoming Black in America reports–blacks are a diverse group and I'm hoping that this program will show the full spectrum of black life. It's unfortunate that a lot of focus on blacks in the media tends to be in a negative vein when there is much more to their stories than just crime and poverty.

    July 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    I don't use the N word but know of black people that do use it as a term of endearment. I would not advise white people to use it unless they need their clock cleaned if you know what I mean.

    July 18, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  18. John

    Since you have asked.......this country is a very young country. We are only as strong as our citizens. Who is the weakest link?

    July 18, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  19. Lesli

    After reading the comments before mine it is apparent that the N-word divides us rather than unites us.

    Whites are not allowed to let the word past their lips because it is viewed as derogatory, while blacks can use it only when refering to each other with close affection.

    PEOPLE – THIS IS HYPOCRITICAL. Blacks want to be treated equally, but they insist it is their right to use a word that whites would not be tolerated using.

    Once and for all – if Blacks want to unite with Whites, Hispanics, Indians Asians and Martians, we have to give up the foolishness that says we can treat the members of our own race with the familiarity of what by others would be insulting. Everyone – treat each other with common and equal curteousy.

    I suggest if you don't want everyone to refer to you as the N-word, then don't refer to anyone else that way, or accept anyone calling anyone else that way. We are all better than our past – are we not.

    July 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  20. Larry

    Maybe music cds should be labeled that they contain the N word. Is even saying 'N-word' the same as saying the actual word itself?
    If I go to a Chris Rock show and the audience is composed of blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, etc and Mr. Rock uses the N-word in a joke, should everybody laugh or just the black part of the audience?

    When was the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves?

    July 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  21. Tony in Chicago

    This is not about Jackson being jealous of Obama, it is about the Senator's failure to acknowledge any positives within the black community when speaking to black audiences.

    Rev. Jackson's comments were given as a individual not in his official capacity. Anyone who does not understand this is guilty himself of making an issue about race.

    July 18, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  22. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Sharpton was on CNN and addressed this issue. The N word is used so much in the black community as something entirely different than when used by other groups.......in hate. Inner city folks use the term as a friendly address to eachother. But, as Sharpton said, it is the only word he has ever heard for a group of people that is said in hate and in friendship for eachother. It is no wonder Elizabeth Hasselbeck burst into tears trying to figure it out with Whoopie. But, c'mon............Elizabeth is one over the top GOP cheerleader most of the time......................

    July 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  23. John Gibbons

    I'll take Jesse Jackson over Obama any day

    July 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  24. penny

    "The "N-Word". People say that it is refers to Blacks. If they call Blacks the " N-word", why aren't whites also. Because they speak of the first man in the Bible as Adam. The scientist believe he came from Africa. So if Blacks are the N-Word then Whites are also. The etiquette of it is to know the origin of the 'FIRST MAN' on earth. Furthermore, he did go out and populate the world. Then it just might mean some common ground and a start to the demise of the word..

    July 18, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  25. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    American history has it's good & it's bad..just like all history. I went to differant parts of Mexico & the natives would call each other "Maya, Indian, or Aztec", & it's use as a put down or a hello, they too where slaves., here our history is "Wet Backs".. and the n~ word is part of Americans (white &black) History, good or bad it's there for ever..

    July 18, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  26. JC- Los Angeles

    As evidenced by the horrid examples set by many of our nation's leaders, executives, politicians and select members of the cloth, we have become a nation struggling to define right from wrong.

    As children, we seemed to grasp the simplicity of the definitions; as adults, we become fixated with a "what's in it for me" mentality and often times struggle to act accordingly.

    Regarding Jackson, there is no excuse for his actions; he is someone that is not happy for others success; he feels better about himself buy putting others down; he loses money if others succeed.

    Today, if you hold a door for someone, offer someone a compliment or just treat people well, you are often treated so poorly in return it's unfathomable.

    The same people who showed a lack of respect then go online and open their hearts and minds to perfect strangers; they engage in endless lies and then wonder why they are so unhappy.

    Right and wrong has nothing to do with skin color.

    July 18, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  27. carmen

    I don't care if gets used or not... but if and when it does, it should have universal meaning and universal connotations. It should not matter who says it. And a hypocrite is a hypocrite and Rev. Jackson is one in his life, not just in this one instance.

    July 18, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  28. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Why would a black person say they want to take ownership of the N word and change it's original meaning as a term of endearment etc. when it has such a horrible history? If I was black (I'm Asian), I would never utter that word. It's the most vile word and I personally have never used it and do not associate with people – no matter what race – who use it. How can this country move forward if the N word is used whether by black people or not?

    July 18, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  29. carl

    It's a disgusting, divisive, ugly word and the only place it is liberally used without backlash is the black community, so any negative results are the responsibility of that group. Self inflicted racism. If that's a bonding term they can have it but leave the rest of us alone.

    July 18, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  30. Loretta from California

    Contrary to popular belief, not all African Americans use the "N" word. Often, you will hear comedians, rappers, and todays youth using this word, but the "N" word is never used in my family, or among my friends. I am offended by Rev. Jackson using this word as well.

    July 18, 2008 at 12:19 pm |
  31. Susan

    Susan:

    The context of the "N" word has come to be a derogatory/racial slur. It is meant to hurt and divide. I can not see why anyone would want to use it.

    Susan
    Phoenixville,PA

    July 18, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  32. Marlon

    Unfortunately, just like it's difficult to bury racism it's difficult to bury those racial epithets. The "n" word is so ingrained in our history that it will take a generation or two for it to become extinct. However, for many blacks because the "n" word is so alive, the rationale for using it has change. When one black uses it towards another it doesn't have the same impact. It's almost like saying "your mama" to your brother or sister. It's not as offensive because you're in the same family...your mother is their mother. But if someone outside your family says "your mama" you would be offended and ready to fight. That's the rationale that many black people have. But the reality is, we can't expect others outside of the black community to respect us and not use the "n" word if we keep using it amongst ourselves. We just have to be diligent in breaking that traditional and bury the word for real. It going to have to start at home. Parents will have to stop saying it in front of their children. Rappers need to stop using it in their lyrics and so forth.

    July 18, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  33. M. Thomas Howard

    The argument that the 'N-Word' is a polite way to say "hi friend" if used by black people doesn't seem like a problem to some of you? Any term that is only appropriate if it is used and directed by and toward a particular race is only serving to alienate races even further.

    If blacks are arguing for equality if they feel it doesn't exist, then it is hypocritical to use the "N-Word" at all because that is only ensuring that a racial divide continues to exist.

    July 18, 2008 at 11:54 am |
  34. Dean Schindler

    Bottom line, Jackson was WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!! Why do people, black or white, go to this man's defense when he so openly did EXACTLY what he preaches you should NEVER do???? He is a liar, he is a racist, and I am shocked at how this man still has so many young people brainwashed!

    As far as Deanna writing that white people do not mix well with black people...please lady!!! Maybe in your little world where you are not very carful in choosing friendships that happens, but in my area of the country, and it is TEXAS for goodness sakes, that is the farthest thing from the truth. I have black friends that I have been close to my entire life, gone to school with, stood in weddings, and are you ready for this...even slow danced with. I have NEVER referred to them using the "N" word, nor will I ever!!! That word comes along with the uneducated person who cannot come up with a better term perhaps...by the way, how far did you make it through school?

    Back on the subject, it is time for people to see the Great Jackson for what he is...a fraud!

    July 18, 2008 at 11:46 am |
  35. KAB

    Michelle –

    Are you only insulted when you hear that word coming form a song you hear from a "young white teen's car?" Who is singing that song? Who wrote it? Who produced it? The young white teen listening is not the problem. The black man who wrote, produced, and is singing the song is the problem. Or now are we going to be told that white people can't listen to black music. What else can whites not do that black are allowed to do? Then what is the reverse? What are whites allowed to do that black can't do? Equality is equality. Both sides if the equation. One can ask for equality, but only under their conditions.

    July 18, 2008 at 11:30 am |
  36. Mike in NYC

    Deanna wrote:

    "It demonstrates to me how little white people and other races do not understand the black race."

    Having lived and worked in large East Coast cities my whole life, I've known, interacted with, or been acquainted with many blacks. When I was young, I had a black friend from a middle-class family who lived in our area. So did my brother. My experiences since then have shown me that these boys and their families were exceptions.

    The liberal dream of an integrated, “post-racial” society is just that – a dream. A fantasy. We are simply too different. There is no way to bridge that gap, and that is a fact.

    Deanna also wrote:

    "...that even they were moving on because of the gangs now forming within the black community."

    And they were right to leave. As are most whites who demonstrate their true feelings by moving to whiter areas. They do not want to subject their families to crime and failing schools just to demonstrate their "anti-racism."

    July 18, 2008 at 10:53 am |
  37. P. DItty

    Are Guns as harmful as Words? I believe them to be, however we still allow those that are permitted to have them do so... So even though Guns are harmful to all, not just a race of people, we allow those that are permitted to have them and sometimes mistakes happen. In a since we allow them a PASS to have something we know beforehand could be harmful to all. After all that Jesse has fought for and done for those that AMERICA deems to be the N-Word, if anyone deserves a PASS for using it, he would be one of them. Don't get me wrong I believe that the way Jesse referenced Obama using the N-Word was wrong, a clear mistake. Don't we all make them? Just watch CNN someone gets shot with a gun almost everyday!!!

    July 18, 2008 at 10:42 am |
  38. Minou, New York City

    Kristen- Philadelphia, PA :
    I don't think the problem is that white people WANT to use the word. The offense is, that it is so hypocritical of African Americans to say it's offensive for a caucasian person to say it, but that it's not at all offensive when a black person says it.
    It's not about " If we whites can't say it, you can't say it" . It's about a word that should have never been used to begin with, and should be completely eradicated from people's dictionaries. But with black people using it constantly, this word will never leave our lives.

    July 18, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  39. Bonnie

    Mr. Jackson,
    Please just get over your obvious jealousy of Senator Obama. Your time has come and gone. Just Shut your ridiculous filthy mouth Up! Your son was correct, Keep hope and positive thoughts Alive!

    July 18, 2008 at 10:24 am |
  40. Saad, Ramsey, NJ

    This is crazy, insane, stupid and idiotic. No one should be allowed to use a bad word and if some are allowed, then everyone has the right. I personally would never use it but if blacks use it among themselves, whites and all others should be allowed to. PERIOD!!

    July 18, 2008 at 10:21 am |
  41. bert

    I respect J.J., but I have to say it is hypocritical for him to use that word and then after being put on the spot, he missed a great chance to apologize for using the word. Black people can not get away from this word just like as a nation we can not ever seperate from our racist ways and history. But we can continue to dissplace this hate with love and gratitude for each other. J.J., is not significant in the Black community, his politics are not resonating in the rest of America as well. If this were not so, Obama would have put him on the team. J.J., is jealous and he simply let his emotions work against him in front of the world. THE YOUNG SHALL LEAD! Obama 08 & 12

    July 18, 2008 at 10:06 am |
  42. stan

    Recently, it has become almost laughable about what words are acceptable in our vocabulary... n-words, lynch, nappy, rope, and a lot more.... HOWEVER, it seems that when these words are spoken by one race, they are OFFENSIVE to another race..... yet, are allowable by that other race to be uttered.... That sure sounds like a double standard.... ask DON IMUS!

    July 18, 2008 at 10:01 am |
  43. Michelle in Atlanta

    I don't use the N-word anymore and certainly not in polite company. Used to use it cutting up with the girls–not anymore. And being addicted to using it is a ridicules premise. If we use it, it gives silent permission to others to use it as well. I am offended every time I hear it used–every time I am riding around and hear a song with that word blasting out of the car of a young white teen. Of course, I am very familiar with our history–and the struggles and degradation of our people so NOT using the N-word to me is a no brainer. How could I continue to use a word that caused such pain and separation. A word that caused such horror and reduced strong black men to being seen as less than a person. A word that was used on the selling block when blacks were being sold and a word that the KKK shout with glee. Words are not just words–words, the wrong ones, can cause pain and sorrow- separate families, provide the wrong perception, erode self images.

    Jessie has been around long enough to know better to be caught out there with this word on his lips. I would hate to think he is just talking loud and saying nothing.

    July 18, 2008 at 9:54 am |
  44. Deanna

    It demonstrates to me how little white people and other races do not understand the black race. How many have lived in the same community, how many have black friends, I don't mean casual friendships but, friendships where you actually go to each others homes, events, lunches etc. Not many, I can tell. And this is where the problem of not understanding anothers culture comes to play.

    I lived in such a community in California. At first the community was basically all white, but then came forced busing and the black race came and moved in while most whites fled south, we didn't, we stayed. Even though some of the more elite blacks would tell us to move, that even they were moving on because of the gangs now forming within the black community. But, I made a lot of good friendships that I have to this day that I don't even think of them as any different from me and this is what we all should learn to do.

    My take on the interaction of the blacks N-word, is pretty simple. Its what they have in common as brothers with each other, they call and use this word with each other, all the time. Although, we as whites can NOT use this word with them, even as a friend, it belongs to them. They understand its not a 'good' word, but its one of those things that bound them together. Its hard to explain to whites, or other races but, each race really has there own language as well. When Rev. Jackson used this word, he used in association with his 'own' race, its identity so to speak. To him, I think since I can't really speak for him, was a word that all could identify. Its there's, and only there's to use.

    Its a hurtful word because the whites used it as a put down to the black race, Rev. Jackson understands this too but, at the same time he and other blacks use this word as an identity to them, it is not for whites to use because to us whites its meaning changes.

    July 18, 2008 at 9:32 am |
  45. Kim in NY

    My kids (7 & 11) didn't even know what the "N" word was until they heard "N-word" on the news and I had to explain it to them. Are they in for a surprise when they have to read "To Kill a Mocking Bird," and "Huck Finn." Two great pieces of American Literature where each "N" is heroic in his own way.

    July 18, 2008 at 9:23 am |
  46. Antonio Pitchford

    I just wish people would let words just be words. The meaning that you give to that word only offends you and not everyone around you. As see by Jesse himself, if thought to be in a secure environment, your true colors will show. If Americans invested as much time into being real as they do into tearing down others, we would have a better society. It all starts within your heart. What you feed yourself, will show on the outside. Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 18, 2008 at 9:20 am |
  47. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    As an African American I personally have never used the word and don't find any reason to use it. If other black people want to refer to themselves or their friends with it then by all means help yourselves. I will not be referenced using it because I don't find it describes me by a long shot.

    As far as white people using it well you shouldn't and I can’t understand why that is even up for debate. Sometimes you don't have to understand something but just respect how people feel about it and accept it for what it is. I can’t find one black person that would think it would be ok for a white person to use the word. So just stop trying to reason with it. And why I will never understand why black people want to use it I definitely don’t understand white people caring that blacks say it and they can’t. Why would a white person want to say it?

    Jesse Jackson is getting old, he is a hypocrite and his whole political career revolves around race. He should just go sit down and shut up now because his time has come and gone.

    July 18, 2008 at 9:18 am |
  48. Tom

    How come only an apology was necessary from Jackson? Don Imus apologized, but lost his job anyway was thrown under the bus in the media. Jackson seems to skating through this unscathed. Racism is alive and well in this country. If it is okay for a black to say or do something, but not a white – that is racism.

    July 18, 2008 at 8:59 am |
  49. Cindy

    I don't think that anyone should say the "N" word! I don't care in what context it is used. To have a word that only one race can use and are offended if anyone else says it to them is dumb in my opinion. It just needs to be eradicated all together like Al Sharpton and them are trying to do. There is no good use of the word!

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 18, 2008 at 8:54 am |
  50. Annie Kate

    I'm sure Reverend Jackson has struggled with giving up the N-word. When he was growing up it would have been a common part of the vocabulary he heard each day from both blacks and whites. Its hard to break old habits especially when you are stressed. I have great respect for Rev. Jackson and what he has stood for in the last 40 years; I would like to see us try for some understanding and move on.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 18, 2008 at 8:43 am |
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