Accuracy in Media

This is republished from The Week magazine’s May 18th edition.

Samuel L. Jackson is down with the N-word, says Eric Spitznagel in Mean. “I use the word ‘nigger’ every day,” says the actor, “especially when I’m with my friends. We refer to each other that way; it’s part of our culture. I grew up with that word, so I understand when people are using it.” Whites, he says may think that because black people use the word in a lighthearted fashion, they can too. Not so. In the mouths of white people, it’s always freighted with ugly history. “Quentin Tarantino had a line in Pulp Fiction, ‘Does this look like dead nigger storage?’ I told him, when you say nigger, N-I-G-G-E-R” ?at this point, Jackson shudders and grimaces-“it’s like fingernails on a blackboard to black people.” Jackson admits that the difference between a racial epithet and casual slang can often depend on nuances of tone or pronunciation. “If you say nigga, N-I-G-G-A, it’s a word we say all the time. It’s a familiar nonderogative term. But when I was a kid growing up in the South, I remember hearing white people use words like ‘nigra’ which is almost like ‘negro.’ They used that word when they were trying to be proper and inoffensive. But ‘nigra’ sounds just as bad as saying ‘nigger.'”

It seems like a bit of a double standard as to who can use the n-word, but have no fear the NAACP is hoping to put the matter to rest with a funeral for the n-word at their upcoming convention.

No word as to whether or not Jackson will participate in the ceremony.

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