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April 15, 2021 | 1:28 pm EDT Update
April 15, 2021 | 1:19 pm EDT Update
Kyrie Irving is 100 percent right. The N-word needs to be put to sleep. It is a most wretched word, in all of its iterations: with “er” at the end of it, as well as “ga.” The former is, of course, the most vile curse word in human history, a grotesque bastardization of negro, the Spanish/Portuguese word for Black. It was adapted over decades by White people in America, for one purpose and one purpose alone — the degradation of the Black Africans who were sold into bondage and slavery in the United States and the Caribbean. To call a Black slave that word was to separate that person from his or her humanity, to stress that they were not subject to the rights or privileges of White people, beginning with life itself. The formal end of slavery and Reconstruction did nothing to stop the word’s use by White people; rather, the word became cemented in the American lexicon, in a way that, say, “anti-fogmatic” — what we now call “whiskey” — did not.
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