By Gary A. Johnson
The Washington Post has a fascinating interactive project exploring the use of the N-word. Written by Dave Sheinin and Krissah Thompson with contributions by Lonnae O’Neal Parker, this N-word project is described by the Washington Post as follows:
“Following several incidents involving players using the n-word, the National Football League this year instructed game ofﬁcials to penalize players who used the word on the ﬁeld of play. The policy, though, was widely criticized as being heavy-handed and out of touch. As the league wrestled with the issue, a team of Washington Post journalists examined the history of this singular American word, its spread through popular culture and its place in the vernacular today.”
In short, this project features 34 people, 9 questions and 1 word.
According to search data on the social media analytics website Topsy.com, the word is used 500,000 times a day on Twitter — as “nigga.”
The N word project allows you to select several topic areas that lead to a custom video. You can also watch and listen to 34 conversations or start a conversation by posting a question about the N-word and sharing it with your network.
Here’s a sample of some of the aspects of the word explored in this project:
- Are we giving the word too much power or is the word just that powerful?
- Why would anyone willingly use a word that’s only meaning is one designed to make someone feel bad for being born the way they are.
- Why do white people want to use a word that would only make situations awkward in the context of their skin color?
- Does avoiding the word actually deconstruct racism, or does it simply hide ongoing prejudice under a veneer of political correctness?
- Why is it okay for African-Americans to say it, but only okay for whites to say the n-word when an African-American gives them a “pass”?
Photos courtesy Nikki Kahn and Michael S. Williamson
Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” To learn more about Gary click here.