The debate over the N word touches almost every aspect of American
popular culture. Does it ever have an appropriate place in the
media? Are rappers justified in using it? Should Huckleberry Finn,
which repeats it 215 times, be taught in high school?
As the cultural critic Jabari Asim explains, none of these
questions can be addressed effectively without a clear knowledge of
the word's bitter legacy. Here he draws on a wide range of examples
from science, politics, the arts, and more to reveal how the slur
has both reflected and spread the scourge of bigotry in America
over the last four hundred years. He examines the contributions of
such well-known figures as Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain, W.E.B.
Du Bois and Margaret Mitchell, Dave Chappelle and NWA. Through this
history, Asim shows how completely our national psyche is affected
by the use of the word, and why it's such a flashpoint today.
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