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Topic : 09/12 The N-Word Debate

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Created on : Thursday, September 04, 2008, 12:16:52 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
This two-syllable expression is arguably the most divisive word in society. Dr. Phil tackles this touchy topic with help from a panel of outspoken luminaries: civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton; legendary comedian and writer Paul Mooney; CSI actor and author Hill Harper; comedian Sheryl Underwood and conservative radio talk show host Michael Graham. First, is there a double standard that allows African-Americans to use this sensitive word, while non-blacks are forbidden? The debate heats up when Rachel, a white guest, says she calls her husband the N-word all the time. Then, should hip-hop artists be censored or fined for using the N-word in their songs? Becky says rappers promote negative stereotypes with their lyrics, but find out who Rev. Al Sharpton thinks should face the music. Plus, does tone or intent make a difference when using the N-word? See what Dr. Phil thinks and share your thoughts here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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September 6, 2008, 8:36 pm CDT

09/12 The N-Word Debate

Quote From: librasix

Dr. Phil:  All the hoopla about using the "N" word is very simple.  DON'T USE IT.  I want to know, how does it make an individual feel by using this word?  Charity starts at home and spreads abroad, OH WELL, the "N" word started at home and spread everywhere.  It doesn't matter what ethnic group uses it, STOP USING IT NOW and  stop justifying the use of it.  There are more pressing issues in America, ie, unemployment, food prices, housing. I am a 62 year old Black female, and have been guilty of using the "N" word, and it came back to haunt me.  Now, that word is not in my vocabulary, because I saw the grief it caused people.   

Words are words. No word should be censored...ever. No matter how offensive it's intentions. Yes, people should accept the consequences of using their freedoms.

The "N" word has power because it's been given that power.
September 6, 2008, 8:43 pm CDT

09/12 The N-Word Debate

Quote From: dbogue

I think the N-word should be treated the same as the F-word. They are bad for everyone. No one should use them. There is no reason to use them. They just hurt .
How do they hurt? The f-word and the n-word do not inherently hurt and I would venture to say that MOST of the time, people CHOOSE to be hurt by WORDS. It's not the WORD itself, it's the intention behind it that has the potential to hurt. And even then...people choose to be hurt.

Both these words have power because we as a society decided that they have power. They are nothing more than sound waves made by our mouths that are received by our ears and translated by our brains.

September 6, 2008, 10:28 pm CDT

I agree

Quote From: ricker1947

Why is it Dr Phil that we have to listen to anything Al Sharpton has to say, I can change the channel and probably will, Because this man promotes racism any small thing happens to an african american He will blow it out of proportion. I just wish people like him would wake up and realize this is 2008. Im sure there are things happening to white people on the same matter but you don't hear how that is played out as if it were a black person. We all should remember that the white have proved over and over again of how sorry there race had been treated in the days of slavery. Thisis not like it wasin those days and it never will so why does he keep on with this subject and why does his race continue to use the N word as if was a normal way of speaking this also goes to the white people. I have family in my back round that are German if the word Natzi comes up in my presents I am not offended because I have roots in Germany. I live in the present day and time and that word just goes over the top of my head and the thought about it never comes up. This is theway they should be live in the present time they have nothing to do about the past except keep bringing it up and as each generation that comes along they are taught about how it used to be for there ancestors, they should teach them that everybody is suppose to be equal, not living with revenge in there heart.

I agree with you about Al. He is always looking for ways to stir the pot and dig up stuff that happened years ago. Thats why racism still remains today. We are all equal today and blacks get the same treatment that whites get. We had no control over the slavery thing. That was also years ago. Whats with a word? Maybe the 'N' word really does mean 'Poor' If thats the case, I am a 'N' as well.And I always wondered why it is when a baby is born to a white and black parent, why is the child called a black child? Isn't he 50% white and 50% black, so why say you are black instead of saying you are white? I have black friends and I have white friends and have no problem with most blacks, but they too can sometimes have attitudes towards us just like anybody else. Even the Bible has words that we don't like to be called, but they are just words and whats with a word anyway? The Bible talks about Heathans, sluggards, drunks,harlots etc. A word only defines something and maybe the 'N' word describes being poor. There are always going to be words that we don't like said or being called but somebody had to name all of these things on earth and some of the words just got out of context. I don't think 'Negro' sounds any better than 'N*****' and it rymes with tigger,digger,bigger,etc. I beleive it's the way the word has been used that actually makes it sound like a bad word. Hope you get my point.
September 7, 2008, 6:35 am CDT

get over it

i get bothered by this topic everytime i hear it.


it is 2008, its time to get over it already. i could understand better if the "colored" people didnt use it, but  for pete sake i hear it come out of their mouths more than i do a white person.. but yet if a white person says it, all hell is going to break loose. life is what you make it, and for that to still be an issue now is just crazy. i still listen to the excuse, "it's because we're black isn't it?" are you serious? there may be some predujice people out there still but come on people, in the real world, we all know that this is something of a "security" thing to use, i would love to say "it's because i'm white isn't it?" EXCUSES! get over it. as far as the "N" word goes, all i can do is laugh, maybe if they stop using it, it wont be that big of an issue, can they not decide on something else?

September 7, 2008, 6:40 am CDT

The N word

Quote From: manofgoods

I really think that people whoever uses the N-word (no matter what race you are) is really disgraceful & it disrespects African-Americans. Rappers, etc., shouldn't even use the N-word in the first place in their music lyrics. That's why whenever I listen to rap, etc., I usually go for the Edited versions of it, whatever it comes from buying CD's, or downloads. Plus we wonder why kids are saying things that they shouldn't be saying. It's 2008 now, soon to be 2009.


And I'm a African-American man myself (I'm only 26 years of age). It's time for this world to grow up, & quit living in the past.

I agree with you. However those like Al and Jesse seem to always be right there when there are confrontations concerning the black race. They make the situation much worse. You would think by them claiming to be a child of God they would act like it. I believe in black children being taught about their history, but also be taught to live in the now. I have no problem with people of color however I do have a problem with the attitudes of many. I believe ALL gangs should be abolished. Some think they are not COOL unless they are packing a gun or knife and that is what gets them in trouble along with their mouths.  People have to earn respect regardless of their color or nationality. Excessive rage will get you nowhere! I say that Al and Jesse and those like them just keep the pot stirred in hopes of keeping themselves in the public eye. Then we wonder why young people don't act different. Look at their roll models such as they are. As far as music and rap that some  are putting out there and getting by with it I blame the FCC and sensors. It is trash and not worth listening to so I don't.
September 7, 2008, 7:07 am CDT

It's an ugly word

I married an African American man in the 70's and together, we had a bi-racial child.  At the time, this was still a very new concept and we faced many challenges as a bi-racial couple.  At one job, I was harassed so intensely I eventually had to quit.  This was a difficult choice for a young couple just starting out.  The most common phrase I personally heard from my own race was "n-lover".  The use of the word was NEVER used in a loving, friendly context; it was used as way to let me know, in no uncertain terms, that my relationship was not accepted.  While not totally free of prejudice, in general, the African American community was much more accepting of my bi-racial relationship and welcomed me.  Over the years, I have seen much improvement in race relations, but there is still room for improvement. 

It is my opinion that no matter the context, it’s an ugly word with an even uglier history.  I made a personal choice to never use the word.  If I am in a group of people and this word is used, I will inform the person that I find the word personally offensive and ask they not use it in my presence.  These days, most people comply with the request.  If not, I freely choose not to associate with that person. 

My hope is that one day this debate will not be necessary. 

September 7, 2008, 8:27 am CDT

Excellent point

Quote From: PennyLane78

How do they hurt? The f-word and the n-word do not inherently hurt and I would venture to say that MOST of the time, people CHOOSE to be hurt by WORDS. It's not the WORD itself, it's the intention behind it that has the potential to hurt. And even then...people choose to be hurt.

Both these words have power because we as a society decided that they have power. They are nothing more than sound waves made by our mouths that are received by our ears and translated by our brains.

These words will be used from now until eternity.  It's up to each individual to choose to either be hurt by the name callling or shrug it off and move on.  I choose to consider the source and move on.
September 7, 2008, 9:22 am CDT


I think saying the "N" word is pretty stupid.  I thought we buried the word and it was never to be used again.  To me it is no more than a word that the slang used for any other word.  I believe anyone who uses this slang word is a racist, whether they be black or white.  It proves they judge others in life by color.  The issue of race is hard enough, especially for the person in the minority position---which the white person is almost the the minority, which angers others. So then will "whitey" be a really bad word. Are we going to call it the "W" word?  I see the "N" word equal to the "W" word or the use of the word cracker.  If we continue to use the slang, then we cannot as adults have a real conversations about each other and the hardships that come from in our lives.  Whether it be as a black, white, red, yellow or tangerine color.  Let's just be people, discussing the hardships we have encountered in our life due to whatever caused them  and try to see where the other is coming from.  If a person has any empathy at all, knows history, they do not even have to discuss these topics.  They just need to respect each other as brother and sister, regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality.  I think we need to get over ourselves and go help others who are in need.  As long as we stay hung up in the muck of these outdated words we can never learn to love each other. It would be like speaking to each other using the language and words used in the 1700's.  We sure would sound pretty silly.
September 7, 2008, 10:54 am CDT

Im Rachel from the show

I feel its very important for every one to know before the show airs that i am not raciest.

Actually my 3rd great grandfather was a black slave his name was Jake Pollard.

I feel the 'N' word has evolved into what we consider a cuss word. Back in the slavery days the word was not considered a cuss word, it was used to demoralize the black race.

Unfortunately the word is never going to go away. But what is going away is the meaning behind it.

We will never completely have a word free of discrimination, so some people will still use the word in hate crimes, but that still doesn't mean that its not loosing its meaning. The only reason it keeps its strength is because most African Americans refuse to let the past go. I admit I should not swear, swearing is bad and that includes the N word but I guess I haven't learned to control my tongue like most of the world. I just love the white Americans who say 'I would never use that word'. They are so fn full of it its not funny. Those are the people I would be weary of because they put on an act. With me what you see is what you get, I am opened book.  Yes I use it in fun toward my husband but I have no racial thoughts behind it. I have no problem with the color of skin, I have a problem with the person behind the color black or whit e. Blacks that have an attitude toward whites I have a problem with and whites that pretend they something their not I have a problem with. Let the word take on a new meaning people its OK to let  of the past.  Or will people aways fight about it because its used as a great race card, or a great conversation piece. Does anyone care that blacks are always attacking the white race about something we had nothing to do with. I'm honestly exhausted from being poked at for something I didn't do. I'm sorry my ancestors had to go through such great pain and I'm sad for him but for the blacks under 50 give me a break you were not there and I don't feel sorry for you. I can tell you this I get discriminated against by blacks everyday for being white. Little do they know I come from the same chain but I guess because of the color of my skin they assume I'm all white. If blacks want the word to stop, sorry it wont because not only do whites use it but blacks use it the most. If you want the word to go away stop making a big deal about it and it will. Its like being in school and someone kid is name calling you, once they see it dint bother you it stops. What do we tell our kids, we say ignore them and they will see they are not getting to you and they will stop. Well children here is my advice to you, IGNORE IT! Stop picking on the white race. Now for all of you people who didn't get on the show and are screaming at the computer dieing to reply back to me, post your picture and your b**** maybe you can be the next guest on The Dr. Phil Show! P.S Isn't it a black man running for president? Just checking..

September 7, 2008, 11:06 am CDT

09/12 The N-Word Debate

Quote From: mrgrt56

 I don't understand how this man gained so much fame and respect, when he rose to those by lying and perpetrating a fraud?  Why is it okay that the African Americans can spew hatred about anyone and none of them are taken to task? Did the media go balistic and criticize Kanye West after his outburst on TV after hurricaine Katrina? No, they replayed  it as a condemnation of the Bush administration?  An African American child calling a white overweight child fat is as hurtful to the white child as the "N" word to the African American. I doubt if any uproar would be made about the child being called fat.

 I seriously don't believe the N word can be aligned with calling a white child fat.  Are you serious?  The problem being is that you can loose weight.  You cannot change the color of your skin.  I hear the word and however it is used to me is un called for. 
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