slur & epithet, racially derogatory word

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 1 19:11:52 UTC 2013

On Mon, Apr 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM, Geoffrey Nunberg <
nunberg at> wrote:

> it's as if it went right from the pages of Ebony to Time magazine.

That sounds right to me, "racial slur," IME, having never been a major
topic of everyday conversation. Like, you know, in general, we just go
'head on and say "nigger." If there should be some reason not to speak the
Magic Word, "He called me out of my name" - which 'out of my name" = "a
nigger" - is the ordinary way of expressing it.

Of course, that cover is not much heard, these days. There's a sketch by
the colored comedy troupe, Loiter Squad, that goes something like this:

A. "I'm disturbed by the the use of that word. I find it offensive."

B. "You white and that word bother you?"

A. "Yes."

B' "Shit! You a ignorant nigger!"

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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