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Old 15 February 2018, 02:29 PM
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ChasFink ChasFink is offline
Join Date: 09 December 2015
Location: Mineola, NY
Posts: 965

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Certainly though by the '60s the N word was completely unacceptable - or that is my recollection from childhood anyway.
Sue, my recollection (I was born in 1958) was that through the mid-1960s it was considered offensive and derogatory, but not much more so than a lot of other words aimed at various ethnicities that were nonetheless used freely with little offense intended or taken. That being said, there were a number of older people, and those who just were culturally inept, that didn't see it as particularly offensive at all.

I think the word grew in its offensiveness from that point onward, concurrent with the progress of the civil rights movement, increased African ethnic pride, etc. You would still hear it occasionally on television (along with those other words) although certainly in the context of an offensive slur. Some of those shows (Sanford and Son, for example) have been sanitized for today's reruns.

By the way, I grew up in suburban Nassau County on Long Island in New York - not too far from a predominantly Black neighborhood. I'm pretty sure the prevalence of people who used the word neutrally was greater in the South - along with the prevalence of people who used it offensively.
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