Is there anything more fatuous than the debate over the "N-word"

Is there no end to the debate over who can or can't use the N-word? It has flared up again with Tim Allen's recent argument that white comedians should use the word “nigger” as opposed to “n-word,” arguing that the euphemism has become more offensive than the word itself.

Students at University of California demonstrate at the historic free speech movement protests at U. of C. Berkeley in 1964.

Students at University of California demonstrate at the historic free speech movement protests at U. of C. Berkeley in 1964.

I guess the argument will continue for as long as the standard for use of the words depends on who it offends. So, I suggest that everyone stop using "fuck," "mother-fucking," and assorted variations because the word offends so many. The preferred usage, if there is any at all is the "F-word." Or, "frigging," which is close enough.

So, how do we settle this debate? By the number of people it offends? By who it offends? (If it offends African Americans we can't use the N-word, but offending modest people by using the F-word doesn't count?)

If you value free speech, you may remember the "Free Speech Movement" at the University of California at Berkley in which "..nine people, only 3 of them being students, were arrested for displaying the word 'fuck' on a poster around campus."

My own practice is that I don't use either word in full (except in this post). I believe that we should take into account people's feelings. But at the same time, I don't like to see the principle that you-must-not-use-that-word applied unevenly.


Leave a comment
  • I'm sorry, I've turned into your resident troll, but your blog keeps popping up in my side bar and you are SO COMPLETELY offensive it blows my mind. The reason the n-word is offensive is because it is part of a mechanism that has kept a group of people disenfranchised since the horrible beginnings of race relations in this country. It's a basic way to discount someone's humanity based on race alone.

    Fuck, on the other hand, doesn't have the same political implications or sordid history. It's just a curse word for an act, not a person, that people would rather not hear. These aren't in the same category at all.

  • I understand why the n-word is offensive, and you're quite right in your explanation. But who gets to decide which is more offensive? If there are more modest Americans who are offended by the f-word, then there are Americans who are offended by the n-word, isn't the f-word then more offensive? Apparently just asking the question is COMPLETELY offensive.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    It's just an ignorant question. What's your next poll, kike v. crap? Just make a whole series on ethnic slurs v. impolite references to bodily functions.

    The problem with your post, and the problem with a lot your posts I read, is you have zero respect or sensitivity to other people. The obvious undertone here is "why can't I say that word? Not fair! Maybe I'm offended by some other word I want you to stop using?!" That shows an astounding lack of awareness.

    So go ahead, I'm amused to see you start using that word Mr. Byrne. Perhaps at our next blathering? That should go SWELL.

  • I find the use of words that I have to look up in the dictionary like "fatuous" offensive.

  • I'm beginning to think that you can't read when you say, "So go ahead, I'm amused to see you start using that word ."

    I said: "My own practice is that I don't use either word in full (except in this post). I believe that we should take into account people's feelings."

    You seem to go out of your way to misunderstand my posts.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Jenna does not go out her her way to misunderstand your posts. She does not understand them. Period. That is because she seems to emote and not think. Same as in her blogs. Same as a great many of the blogs on Chicagonow. Sensitivity and outrage are selective and based on total subjective feeling.

    If she actually read your posts not in a state of seething rage and determined outrage, but calmly, and applied a tad of logic, she may find that she disagrees with you, but also that you make some valid points.

    When growing up we could not say nigger or fuck. Either one would earn us a mouthful of soap. Yes, I know it was primitive, but that is just how offensive those words were to my parents. Over the years I have been called a few names or two myself. When I was younger and tanned, I was either a spic if my dark hair was longer or curlier, or a sand nigger if it was not. When older, I was called "cracker" and even, yes, "mother fucker".

    I chose to leave the words with the callers and not take possession, not because they did not apply to me; some did, but I didn't want to take possession of their rudeness.

    You will not convince a person who emotes of anything with the use of logic and reason, Dennis, but you get a "A" for trying.

    The next blog where Jenna unintentionally insults a group of people, either by race or religion or cultural beliefs (and it will happen; it always does;, you can have an emotional hissy fit and bite back.

  • These are the type of conversations that gets white people in trouble. Dennis, I believe you mean well but the road to hell is paved with great intentions as they say. Take it from a blackman who's personally conflicted by the word. In our world, some blacks don't like it used at all. Some use the word amongst themselves just like other ethnic groups use certains slurs. To avoid further confusion, don't tell people what they should or shouldn't be offended by. That never ends well.

  • Dennis, you know who gets to decide which word is more offensive? Smug lefties like Jenna, that's who. Everything has to go through their prism. Old stuffy white guys like you, well your opinion doesn't mean squat to them.

    See, people like Jenna can never make any critical or negative comments about blacks. To do so would violate their prime directive of "white bad, black good, and justice must be done". Black flash mobs jumping white people on North Ave beach? Keep it hushed up. Antonio West, a 13-month old white child shot by black robbers? Keep it hushed up. A girl like her would never dare touch these things.

    For law-abiding black people who don't use the word, I'll show respect to them. But for thug gangbanger blacks who say it all the time, no respect will come their way from me in a million years.

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Visit my new website

    I'm a freelance writer, editor and author. I can help you with a wide variety of projects. Check out my new website at

  • Subscribe to The Barbershop

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page

  • Like me on Facebook

  • Our National Debt

  • Twitter

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

  • /Users/dennisby/Desktop/trailer.mp4
  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: