The N-Word investigates the history of America’s most ambiguous†racial slur. By Dana†Stevens

Racial slur?  I say that it all depends on who says it.  Strangers don’t get to say it, period.

But, they have more to say about it than me.

By Dana Stevens
Updated Friday, July 2, 2004, at 1:35 PM PT

The N-Word, a documentary by Todd Williams that premieres July 4 at 9 p.m. ET on the Trio network, opens with a striking montage in which the word “nigger,” one of the most loaded sounds in the American language, is uttered over and over again, in tones ranging from affection to hatred, by everyone from The Jeffersons’ Sherman Helmsley to rap entrepreneur Russell Simmons to a hooded Ku Klux Klansman. The strategy: to bring us face to face with our culture’s ambivalent relation to the word through sheer exposure to it. A song by the spoken-word group the Watts Prophets repeats the word until it slowly transforms into “a gun, a gun, a gun.” We hear Samuel L. Jackson, his voice dripping with irony, reading out such Oxford English Dictionary definitions as “nigger jockey” ("a gentleman that trades in niggers"), “nigger-stick” ("an officer’s baton"), and “nigger heaven” ("the top gallery of a movie theater.") Yet later, Jackson embraces the use of the term in his own personal lexicon, announcing proudly: “I’m an actor, I’m a nice guy, but the first thing you need to know about me is I’m a nigger.”

Posted by SPN on 07/03 at 01:44 PM in Racism / Prejudice

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