It’s “the nuclear bomb of racial epithets,” a word that whites have employed to wound and degrade African Americans for three centuries. ...more
It’s “the nuclear bomb of racial epithets,” a word that whites have employed to wound and degrade African Americans for three centuries. Paradoxically, among many black people it has become a term of affection and even empowerment. The word, of course, is nigger, and in this candid, lucidly argued book the distinguished legal scholar Randall Kennedy traces its origins, maps its multifarious connotations, and explores the controversies that rage around it.Should blacks be able to use nigger in ways forbidden to others? Should the law treat it as a provocation that reduces the culpability of those who respond to it violently? Should it cost a person his job, or a book like Huckleberry Finn its place on library shelves? With a range of reference that extends from the Jim Crow south to Chris Rock routines and the O. J. Simpson trial, Kennedy takes on not just a word, but our laws, attitudes, and culture with bracing courage and intelligence. less
I first read this book my freshman year of college. I found it to be both poignant and full of wonderful insight into the history of the word and how it has evolved over the years. Randall Kennedy is a wonderful writer who manages to keep the readers attention along with providing a non-biased look at his subject.
didnt really change my mind on anything because i already agreed with everything kennedy had to say
a word is just a word
malleable as dough
flexible and ready to take on whatever meaning it is given
it's silly to attack or try to prohibit a word