The N-Word Controversy

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S: ENG 206 Sample Presentation

BC: Thank You!

FC: The N-Word Controversy | By Andrea Wolfe

1: "The colonists, who had legalized slavery long before the American Revolution began, were to the British a species of nigger--those who couldn't make it in the Old World. How could they rise above that classification? Only by generating a nigger class of their own in the New World. White Americans used the word "nigger" to define who they were by defining what they were not . . ." --Hilton Als | "niger"--Latin for "black" | Origins | Slavery in the 13 Colonies (1770)

3: Why So Offensive?

4: On the Other Hand | "Nate jumps in. 'Don't you grant a word power by not saying it? Aren't we, in some way, amplifying its ugliness by avoiding it?' He asks."--Emily Bernard

5: "Can you imagine Jews one day getting so upset and embarrassed for what the Germans did to them that they let the Germans change the word swastika to the s-word and concentration camp to the c-word? You have destroyed history. . . . If we let a white racist system get by with changing n-word for nigger, then one day they'll change l[-word] for lynch." --Dick Gregory

6: Is Reclamation Possible?: Nigguh, Nigga, Niggaz

8: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

9: "By page four and my first nigger, I realize that maybe this is not what I signed up for; by page six and seven niggers later, I realize that I am not happy. To paraphrase the Honorable Malcolm X, I felt '. . . bamboozled, robbed, hoodwinked . . .'. . . Feeling nauseated and unbelievably sad, I continually asked, how did this book become a classic?" --Constance Joyner

10: New and Improved | " . . . many school districts and many administrators and a growing number of teachers simply feel that they'll have to use other readings. That is a great shame. . . . And so, my book speaks to that particular need. It is not intended for the expert. It is not intended for the advanced reader, not intended for the senior scholar. In fact, I emphatically point people in the direction of authoritative text." | Alan Gribben on Talk of the Nation

11: "Well, I can't channel Mark Twain, and I don't think anyone could. . . . So, really, who of us is to say whether he might have adapted to this?" | "He was simply trying to evoke what language prevailed in that part along the Mississippi in the 1840s when he grew up. It was not the point of his book. The point of his book is the context all around that word, and slaves certainly conveys the inferior and subjugated status of African-Americans in the 1840s."

12: Covering Gaping Wounds | ". . . the effrontery--the vapid, smiley-faced effrontery, as the great Twain biographer Ron Powers put it--to replace a word that a genius pointedly used more than 200 times when he wrote the book in 1885 seems a bit like covering the large gaping wounds in Picasso's 'Guernica' with Band-Aids. . . . take the N-word out of 'Huckleberry Finn' and you take away a chance for students to learn and adults to remember the history that made the story daring and bold before it got shelved as a classic." --Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday

14: What Do You Believe?

15: What Will You Do?

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  • By: Andrea W.
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  • Title: The N-Word Controversy
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  • Published: 6 months ago