Skip to content

The N Word

Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, And Why

By Jabari Asim, 1962-

A renowned cultural critic untangles the twisted history and future of racism through its most volatile word.

The N Word reveals how the term "nigger" has both reflected and spread the scourge of bigotry in America over the four hundred years since it was first spoken on our shores. Asim pinpoints Thomas Jefferson as the source of our enduring image of the “nigger.” In a seminal but now obscure essay, Jefferson marshaled a welter of pseudoscience to define the stereotype of a shiftless child-man with huge appetites and stunted self control. Asim reveals how nineteenth-century “science” then colluded with popular culture to amplify this slander. What began as false generalizations became institutionalized in every corner of our society: the arts and sciences, sports, the law, and on the streets.

Asim’s conclusion is as original as his premise. He argues that even when uttered with the opposite intent by hipsters and hip-hop icons, the slur helps keep blacks at the bottom of America’s socioeconomic ladder. But Asim also proves there is a place for the word in the mouths and on the pens of those who truly understand its twisted history -- from Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle to Mos Def. Only when we know its legacy can we loosen this slur’s grip on our national psyche.

Format

Book

Availability

1 available at Main (Downtown)
  • 305.896073 Asi, Nonfiction

Publish Date

2007

ISBN

9780618197170


Format: Book
Author: Asim, Jabari, 1962-
Summary: Reveals how the slur has both reflected and spread bigotry in America over the last 400 years. Asim pinpoints Thomas Jefferson as the source of our enduring image: in a seminal but now obscure essay, he marshaled a welter of pseudo-science to define the stereotype of a shiftless child-man with huge appetites and stunted self control. Asim reveals how nineteenth-century "science" then colluded with popular culture to amplify this slander. What began as false generalizations became institutionalized in every corner of our society. Asim argues that even when uttered with the opposite intent by hipsters and hip-hop icons, using the slur helps keep blacks at the bottom of America's socio-economic ladder. But, he also shows, there is a place for this word in the mouths and on the pens of those who truly understand its twisted history. Only when we know its legacy can we loosen its grip.--From publisher description.
Title: The N word : who can say it, who shouldn't, and why / Jabari Asim.
Publisher Date: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
Subject: Racism -- United States -- History United States -- Race relations -- History
Isbn: 9780618197170 0618197176
Current Holds: 0
System Items Available: 1
System Items Total: 1
Call Number: 305.896073 Asi
Oclc: 71222991
Upc:
Bib Id: 266458

Format: Book
Author: Asim, Jabari, 1962-
Summary: Reveals how the slur has both reflected and spread bigotry in America over the last 400 years. Asim pinpoints Thomas Jefferson as the source of our enduring image: in a seminal but now obscure essay, he marshaled a welter of pseudo-science to define the stereotype of a shiftless child-man with huge appetites and stunted self control. Asim reveals how nineteenth-century "science" then colluded with popular culture to amplify this slander. What began as false generalizations became institutionalized in every corner of our society. Asim argues that even when uttered with the opposite intent by hipsters and hip-hop icons, using the slur helps keep blacks at the bottom of America's socio-economic ladder. But, he also shows, there is a place for this word in the mouths and on the pens of those who truly understand its twisted history. Only when we know its legacy can we loosen its grip.--From publisher description.
Title: The N word : who can say it, who shouldn't, and why / Jabari Asim.
Publisher, Date: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
Description: x, 278 p. ; 22 cm.
Subjects: Racism -- United States -- History
Subjects: United States -- Race relations -- History
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. 258-262) and index.
Contents: Birth of a notion : 1619-1799. Founding fictions -- Niggerology, part 1 -- The progress of prejudice : 1800-1857. No place to be somebody -- Niggerology, part 2 -- Life among the lowly -- Jim Crow and company -- Dreams deferred : 1858-1896. The world the war made -- Nigger happy -- Separate and unequal : 1897-1954. Different times -- From house niggers to niggerati -- Bad niggers -- Progress and paradox : 1955-present. Violence and vehemence -- To slur with love -- What's in a name? -- Nigger vs. nigga.
LCCN: 2006026872
ISBN: 9780618197170
ISBN: 0618197176
Requests: 0
Available Copies: 1
Total Copies: 1
Call Number: 305.896073 Asi