Use and nonuse of N-word
The Paula Deen episode prompts this letter.
The N-word definitely relates to black slaves. The British, French, Spanish, and Portuguese took slaves from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and probably other countries along the Niger and Volta rivers on the west coast of Africa.
Tribes sold the men, women and children of other tribes they had beaten. The sold slaves were black. The Spanish and Portuguese word for black is “Negro.” I suggest the N-word we despise came from mispronunciation, misuse and time.
How do we get people to stop using it?
I suggest adults stop using it and tell their children not to use it because it hurts the people they use it against. Singers and songwriters could also stop using it. Tell me how much uncontested usage there still is of the following slang terms that were highly offensive and used in a contemptuous manner: Cracker, Dago, Fairy, Guinea, Homo, Honkie, Kike, Lesbo, Mick, Pig, Polack, Queer, Redneck, Towel Head, WASP, Wop.
Is it possible that both social media and people that want the spotlight keep the N-word alive? Yes, people that lived in the era when all the aforementioned contemptuous terms were used in everyday speech will probably still slip up, but that does not mean the arguments against the usage should become national news and cause the ostracizing of the offenders.