Friday, February 25, 2005

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 25

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 25: Read Nigger by Randall Kennedy

Here's a controversial one for you. Whether you have said or heard nigger, nigga, or "the N-word," it's undeniable that this word is a powerful one in our society. Some African-Americans chastise others for using the word. Others use it frequently in various ways. Its impact may change depending solely on the race of the person speaking it. And it's a word that so far-reaching that it doesn't even have to refer to African-Americans anymore as I found out in college. A person wrote the words "sand nigger" on the door of a student of Arab descent.

Given its power, I think that you should read Nigger: The Strange Career Of A Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy. It's a book that gives the history of the word, its various usages, and the opinions of various people on how it should (or shouldn't) be used. The book doesn't actually promote its usage and it's pretty fair in its portrayal of the multiple sides of the issue. The book is pretty small and it's inexpensive. The full price of the paperback is $12 but you can probably find it cheaper than that online (or for free at your local library). No matter what you think of the word, you will be enlightened about it by that book.

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