“Nigger”—As Bad As it Sounds?

Michael Ayoob, Carnegie Mellon University

This paper has been removed at the request of the author.

Abstract or Description

I was watching the six o' clock news this very week, and guess what I saw—a black high school football player punched a white referee in the face. The referee fell to the ground and a nightmarish chaos swept the field. Players swarmed to the scene, other referees restrained the teen who threw the punch. Why? The football player claimed he was called "the N-word" by the referee.

By the time I sat down to do my second big interview for this paper, I was beginning to have doubts about my topic. Was it really worth writing a ten-page paper on a single word? But just as the interview was about to start, ¡paused. This is no lie. The eleven o' clock newscaster gravely announced that a teacher in a local school district was accused of—you guessed it— calling students "the N-word." As an American writer, I have to be fascinated by the word "nigger." It's a word that can trigger a violent outburst one minute and be used as a term of endearment the next. It's a word that blacks and whites often approach with different perceptions and feelings. The purpose of this paper is to explore those assumptions, to address the different contexts of the word in order to narrow this language gap between blacks and whites.


Published In

The Sloping Halls Review, 3.