View Single Post
Old 15 February 2018, 01:53 PM
Sue's Avatar
Sue Sue is offline
Join Date: 26 December 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,210

Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
I am old enough to remember a number of White people who considered the N-word simply an alternative to "Negro", "colored person" or "Afro-American" (all acceptable terms in their day) and used it with absolutely no intent of offense or harm. In their experience, the word was not "used only to enslave, to oppress, to discriminate, and to destroy" (my bold). To them it was just a word. You may have a hard time believing this, but it is true, and therefore is also part of the word's linguistic history. (This is not to negate the fact that the word is considered offensive almost universally today. I'm simply saying that the word's history is not entirely one of oppression.)
Certainly though by the '60s the N word was completely unacceptable - or that is my recollection from childhood anyway. With regard to the other words you cite I read a children's book recently that was written in the last few years but was set during the depression in the US. One of the characters was black and was often referred to as "Negro". This was historically accurate (I would think so anyway) but I did wonder how children today would feel reading that. But that said it would have been ridiculous to set a book in an early time and insist on putting contemporary terminology in someone's mouth. Either work around it or use the words that were in common use at the time -- that said no where did I see them use the N word and I think that was done intentionally.
Reply With Quote