Warning: Explicit language is used throughout this project.

The n-word

An interactive project exploring a singular word

The n-word may be the most divisive word in the English language, and its spread in popular culture has been the subject of renewed academic focus in recent years. After the National Football League made the controversial decision to ban it on the field this year, a team of Washington Post journalists explored the history of the word, its evolution and its place in American vernacular today.

The n-word may be the most divisive word in the English language, and its spread in popular culture has been the subject of renewed academic focus. After the NFL made the decision to ban it on the field this year, a team of Washington Post journalists explored the word’s history, evolution and place in American vernacular today.

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We asked the questions we thought should be part of the conversation; now it’s your turn. Add a question or use one of the submitted questions to start a conversation with your social network. These questions should reflect authentic conversations; therefore, the n-word has not been filtered from submissions.

Add a question or use one of the submitted questions to start a conversation with your social network. (Note: The n-word has not been filtered from submissions.)

Is it only that sensitive in the United States or do other countries face this problem as well?

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what makes the n-word a problem for some people?

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What is the point of using the n-word in your conversation ?

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What's the purpose of us using the n-word in music when it is offensive to some people?

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Do you believe the word Nigger can be used in a comedy sense? What about white comedians? If Katt Williams can do it why not Kramer?

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If the word "nigga" as in slang terms was banned how would our conversations change?

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I think they have had some success banning the word "retarded" and I think it's worth a try to ban the "N" word as well!

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Does banning a word, such as 'nigger' lead to a lack of appreciation of our history and language?

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If your not part of the demographic this word (or any slur) affects do you have the privilege of using it towards that demographic?

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Are technology, social permissiveness and media causals for cultural breakdown of black identity to accept Nigger as a casual pejorative?

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The word used today is "nigga" no -er. It seems the -er changes the dynamic. Is there a difference?

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I'm a white woman teaching at an all-black school. Students use the word negatively and positively. How can we talk about this? Should we?

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Why can't we just stop using the word its outdated and hurtful to some jus stop using it

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Does using the word reclaim it and create a new meaning, or does still using it only foster continued racism?

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Using a word with a history so full of hate and evil, over and over again, won't get rid of the history. Why are you legitimizing it?

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My school is 85% Mexican and Central American. Most kids use the word a lot. Think it ok?

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why would a black person even like using a word that was once used to deface our race. -

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How do you feel about the n-word in literature (i.e. Huckleberry Finn or black poetry)?

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Is the anthropological usage Negroid also taboo (such as Caucasian, Mongoloid, Proto-Australoid...)? Would Blacks be comfortable with it?

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Is it possible to change the meaning of word that has the history of violence and hate associated with it unlike any other. I think not.

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Should we know the meaning of words? Hmmm... Do you want to repeat the worst parts of history?

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If the N-word was derived from hatred and we get mad if a white person says it to us, why do we say it to each other like it's okay?

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Isn't the fact that this word is okay to say for black people but never for white people is a continuation of its legacy; racial conflict ?

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The colloquial use of the word has the youth confused of its original meaning whether white or black, is this progress?

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If the goal is truly "Equal Rights" shouldn't utterance of the word or variations thereof be accepted regardless or race?

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they want to end the word from being used , great, i'm all with it, but how will they do that , know we all have the freedom of speech?

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Will the use of the n-word ever be completely diminished?

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If the N-word is offensive when a particular race uses it, then what makes it acceptable to use it amongst the African American race?

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Why is saying the word "nigga" such a big deal in today's society? There's more important things than this.

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How does it feel to be called a nigger by an outcast or someone you think shouldn't be saying the n-word.

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These days, people of color feel as it they can use it; it's no longer exclusive to black people. And most black people allow it. Thoughts?

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Why do we try to ban the use of the word 'nigger,' when we could instead respect others by not using offensive language in public?

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Since this word has a Base from our Slavery days, doesn,t anyone feel that we use it because we Suffer from Post Tramatic Slave Syndrom

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Why is the word not made illegal accross the board? In any law court itcould never be argued that it is essential in getting a message over.

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Why continually use a word and then try to ban other races from its use? Why isn't that expectation considered racist?

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If white people could say the word nigger without repercussions in boardrooms, print and other public forums would this be an issue in ?

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Why would anyone want to use a word intertwined with racism/slavery? Why would any race or gender co-opt justify using a derogatory term?

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How and why is the N word considered a term of endearment?

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Isn't it illogical/hypocritical to ban a race from using a word that is so commonplace in popular culture? Either everyone can say it, or no one

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is it socially acceptable to use the 'n' word in a comical nature?

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why have we allowed white America to alter Nigger to take on another language and we now call it the "N" word...what's THAT?!!!

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Many say that no word can be banned, can society just have the same severe repercussions for using Ni**er/a as there is for using Faggot?

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Why does permission from one African-American to use the word with them allow you to use it with every African-American?

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Where does the n word come from?

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Why do black people continue to use the word and get mad when white people use it? They just show white people they are okay with it.

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Why does this word still have any power? In my view, it has been fully co-opted. Racism may not be dead, but this word is...

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Why is it not okay for two white friends to call each other nigger as a word of camaraderie? The word's meaning has changed.

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How can I let Nigger have so much power over me? Let it define me? I won't. I am black. Call me what name you want but it won't change me.

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Are there data to show that the use of this word has, in fact, increased? Do the data suggest which sectors or society have increased use?

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The word is obnoxious, but if young blacks continue to use it, will it not become more acceptable? Can we have it both ways?

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