Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

Just a word?

with 3 comments

I saw this video a little while ago on a music blog and I thought it brought up a topic that has always been controversial. Around 1:25, Oprah and Jay-Z talk about their differing views of the use of the n-word in music and in everyday life. Jay-Z defends his use of the word as taking the power out of the word. By using the word he says it takes away the negativity and the power that whites had behind it before. Oprah, on the other hand, says that for people that fought for the civil rights it brings back the pain and bad memories. She goes on to say that he will have to wait for her generation to die out before the word becomes less problematic. This problem is central to many minorities as words such as spic, wetback, refs, fobs, chinks, etc are used in derogatory ways, but also among friends and in jokes. Have we reached a point where these words have lost their meaning or have we just become desensitized by the media?


Written by brecal

October 11, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Of the words spic, wetback, refs, fobs, chinks I only know what wetback means. I’ve been called a spic once though by a friend and I still don’t know what it means but I guess I was supposed to be offended. I HOPE this means that these terms are falling out of use and I think they are for the mostpart. However, the N-word is not, in part because of rap songs. In fact, my little brothers think it’s cool to call thier friends “niggas,” claiming that it’s a very different word from “niggger.”


    October 12, 2009 at 3:16 am

  2. I’m often left quite confused about the acceptable use of the N word in today’s culture. As an Asian-American, I feel as if I’m sort of like a third party in this debate and don’t quite understand how the meaning of an offensive word can change depending on who says it where or when. It’s my understanding that this word is offensive regardless and don’t quite see how it can be used anytime or anywhere if not never or nowhere.


    October 14, 2009 at 2:56 am

  3. It’s hard to say why people in our generation still use this word. They say it to friends, family, and just random people and it’s ok with them.


    November 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm

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