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Uprooting the N-Word


Uprooting the N-Word

Robert C. Koehler

The word, inappropriately uttered, has the news value of a bullet fired off at the mall. One word. It’s the ticking time bomb of American history. It pulsates with paradox.

I want to take a moment to honor at least that: the paradox. How come its meaning changes depending on who says it? Some Americans can say that word with a sort of joyous irony, indeed, find a triumphant sense of empowerment in its use, while others can’t say it even in solidarity without risking an avalanche of censure?


Whatever happened to stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?
Maher didn't have any bad intent, why are people going nuts over this? (ans. because people are nearly uniformly irrational idiots)


The Hawaiian word for caucasions is haole ("how-lee") meaning without breath. Dead...soulless. Maybe they had read Kipling's Great Manifesto...and knew the future.


George, the Hatred that this word embodies is so great that it still 'cuts like a knife'.

Countless numbers of Blacks were murdered just for being Black in the History of our country, and the Hatred behind those who committed those murders, lives in that word.

If you were Black you would understand what the 'big deal' is. I am white and was raised in the 50's, and my folks taught my brother and I to respect everybody. If we were ever caught saying that word, we would get our mouth washed out with soap.

Bill Maher got a lesson in Respect from Ice Cube.
I bet he learns from it.


Not letting a certain segment of the population use it precisely because they are accepting of you is the reverse of what is required. Those who avoid interaction with you are using the word on a regular basis in every possible context, and the cultural ayatollahs look away helplessly when that happens.

I can't even type the word on Common Dreams.
Please allow me my freedom of speech.

I did not know what had happened and was shocked when Dyson and poor Maher spent half an hour on his show scrubbing the issue. I could not listen to it.

Ice Cube is a hero in my eyes.
Did not think he would be a regressive on the subject.

There are those condescend with every breath of their existence. They could call you "supreme holy angel" and the hate would be clear.
Please allow those who care about you to breathe, and distinguish the two.
It is up to you.


Hey ZPF, are you sure that the n word will prevent a comment from being posted here? I ask because I have composed a long comment that uses that word more than a half-dozen times. All germane to Koehler's article and addressing his query. I would not want to be banned, but feel my comment and the purposeful use of that word goes to the heart of Koehler's remarks and the Maher controversy that prompted them.


try it


I doubt it. This is the same guy who spews anti-Muslim diatribes regularly on his show.

“It’s a word that has been used against us. It’s like a knife, man.”

"That’s our word now. And you can’t have it back."

i get the message, here. the word when uttered by a white person---even one not intending to offend---implies a judgement that darker skin means a lesser human. this word comes from the latin word for black but in this nation especially has been used to insult and dehumanize. should be enough for us to know that the word cuts like a knife and out of respect for the feelings of our black brothers and sisters we avoid that word. just like we women abhor the "c" word. don't say it, gentlemen---not funny! :open_mouth:

we cannot eradicate racism because too many white supremacist types refuse to grow a heart. i suspect their hatred comes from fear and an unresolved inferiority complex. we must however speak up with as much kindness as we can muster when we hear any hateful and demeaning language. when we remain silent hoping not to start an argument our silence to the bigot indicates tacit agreement.


Decided to send it to Mr. Koehler instead, because he asked a question, and I'm responding. Only have broadcast TV now, so I don't watch Maher, though I have in the past. Would like to get Robert's opinion because I trust his sentiments.

Wait, oh hell, had a power loss in an electrical storm here and the clipboard's gone. It's a sign from god ! Washed my computer's mouth out.


This is not accurate. He does often spew anti-Islam diatribes though (most of which I agree with). As I understand it, Muslim is the person, Islam is the theology, and neither are equivalent to race which is what we are talking about here.


Thanks Dara for bringing clarity to what was said.


I sense a lot of hypocrisy going on - american style. While the word is tragic - the actions of the american state against black men are the true abomination. They are massively over represented in the prison population and seem to be a target for trigger happy police who are rarely held accountable. What might be better is if we all understood the systems that worked on plantations and how they are still in operation in a different form today. How many of us betray our own people and best interests? How many of us buy into and support a system that still oppresses. The plantation is a very good model for learning how our current system works. Massa Trump and his overseer - Jeffery Beauregard Sessions - are working to take us backwards in so many ways.