CNN’s Don Lemon felt the need to have an honest and open conversation about the “n” word.  Open, honest and a ratings puller.  The panel included Human behavior expert Wendy Walsh, Huff-Post Live host Marc Lamont Hill and CNN contributor Buck Davis.

From Mediate:

Wendy Walsh provided context to the history of the n-word and how people are punished for merely saying them. She said, “The more they become taboo, they more they keep their power, and we get even more nervous about using them.” Lemon marveled at how the n-word was perfectly acceptable to say on television in the 1970s, but not in the present day. Marc Lamont Hill said it’s perfectly fine to use the word in context, but white people should “absolutely not” use it.

He said, “You just have to accept that there are some things in the world, just, at least one thing, that you can’t do that black people can!” Walsh countered that white teenagers might use it with their black friends because they listen to hip-hop and consider it more a term of endearment, and questioned why white people can’t merely “sing along” to rap lyrics. An exasperated Hill asked, “Why are white people fighting so fiercely for the right to use the n-word? Just let it go!”

Buck Davis explained the important historical difference between the n-word and “cracker,” adding that a lot of people aren’t able to “connect with the pain” black people feel when they hear it. As they went to commercial, Walsh said, “I’m still gonna sing in my car to music I pay for!”

Don Lemon will continue the conversation on the use of the N-Word in America, Monday, July 1st at 7pm (Live).

What do you think about their opinions on the “n” word?


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  • I am sorry (not really) but I think some white people are playing stupid and feigning dumb when it comes to this issue and wants to use the excuses of he, her, she, him, they, we, etc. say the N-word so why can’t I. I’ am NOT a fan of ANYBODY using the N-word and all its variations but I hate when people play dumb. You don’t need a panel, an intervention or special to tell you that you can’t say certain words to people regarding their race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. especially if you are outside of said community that is basic socialization 101. Hmm…I think they are protesting too much to reclaim the N-word back into their vernacular (especially given their history with it) but it’s funny how they pause when it comes to other slurs/epithets. That says a lot about race relations in and of itself.

    • Lauren

      You hit the nail on the head with the last part of your statement. A person says faggot it’s World War 3. A White person says nigger and some folks are rushing to defend them.

  • LMO85

    Thank you @ Josh and Binks– regardless of whether I use the word or not–EVERYONE knows that members of an in-group will speak in such a way with each other that members outside of said in-group cannot. I don’t know any woman on this site who would condone a man calling her a Bytch to her face.

    And yes, White folks seem a little too pressed to use this word–I see them trying to sneak it in Hollywood movies-yet we don’t hear them being pressed to use negative slurs towards other groups. Gee I wonder why?

  • Peter

    I don’t think anyone, whatever their color, should use the N word. But to have someone call me a cracker is not right either. There were a couple of people on the program that stated that “cracker” was a term used to describe a person cracking a whip at a slave and that the work was not offensive. I have never owned slaves, nor has my family. We have never whipped or cracked a whip at any person(s) no matter their color, race, religion, etc. By calling me a cracker and/or honky I find it very offensive. It’s a racist comment directed at white or light skinned people. I am as offended by the Cracker term as African Americans are at the N word. I agree with Donna Brazile, no one should use the N word. I also believe that this word would disappear from our language if everyone would stop using it. By calling me a cracker and/or honky you are striotyping me, just as the N word and other darogitary words are doing the same to others.

    • if you are a white person in america you benefit daily from racism and slavery and genocide.
      stop with the crocodile tears.

    • leelah

      nobody called you that and no one is marching for the right to call you that. Her whole point was to say that there is a history behind all racial slurs. The racial slur for white people that has experienced the same evolution as the N word is redneck. Jeff Foxworthy made a whole career out of his redneck joke. In his era, there was t-shirt, country songs and bumper stickers for white people who embraced their redneck culture(yes white people said they had a redneck culture). But you best believe that if a black person ever called one of those people that slur they would take it has an insult. I think its important to note that although a segment of the white population proudly claims the redneck slur, there’s even more white people who abhor it.

  • Mia

    If we would stop using the word in our own community there would be no debates or panel discussions or CNN specials about the use of the word. If we ourselves weren’t using it white folks and others wouldn’t be questioning why they can’t say it too. I see young black kids with their white, Asian, and Latino friends and they are all calling each other niggers. It breaks my heart to see our black youth allow this because they have absolutely no connection to their history and the ugliness of this word. They don’t get that this was the last word that so many of our ancestors heard before they died, or were beaten, or raped.

  • kristin

    giiiiiirrrrrlll stop!!! she just yaps, without listening take her butt off this show plz