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Annotated Bibliography: Language Controversy

Info: 793 words (3 pages) Essay
Published: 19th Mar 2021 in Languages

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Hoffman. “Why I No Longer Say ‘the N Word.’” My Mind on Paper. Wordpress.com, 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Hoffman’s retrospective approach of handling a defamatory word demonstrates his self-reflection of being a parent that is sensitive to the vulnerability of his child. His utilization of personal anecdotes establishes credibility rather well and preempts empathy amongst his audience. His account of his acquaintance with having a loved one being called “the N-word” correlates to the satirical use of the word in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn in the sense that the exigence for using the term is present due to the negative “charge” associated with it, thus attracting attention from African-Americans; this is represented well by using a father’s personalization of the word's deeper meaning.

Kennedy. ” Who Can Say “N*gger”? And Other Considerations.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education Winter.26 (1999-2000): 86-96. Print.

In the essay, Randall L. Kennedy, a figure known for his lifelong study of the N-word, begins his writing by explaining the origins of this word. He explains how even though we aren’t exactly sure how it became attached to such a negative connotation; it still gained a powerful spot in the nation’s consciousness. The author then further develops his argument by explaining the different perspectives people have on the world today while contrasting them with the views of people from the past. This is shown when the author refers to a culture of acceptance between different communities: especially the black community and their use of the word. This is something that has become more common today and once didn’t really exist. The writer’s analytical input establishes his credibility on the subject matter and also the fact of him adding other outside sources to his writing. The outside sources he incorporates in his article consists of other scholars educated on the subject of African American studies.

Kennedy. ” Who Can Say “N*gger”? And Other Considerations.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education Winter.26 (1999-2000): 86-96. Print.

In the article, Kennedy begins by discussing the history and origin of the n-word and begins to explain how the intent behind the word is the harmful part, not the word itself. Kennedy then goes on to elaborate on how, despite there being multiple harmful slurs used throughout the country, the n-word has forged a special place in the lexicon due to its extended use in our history and how it still seems prevalent use today and in recent events. This dichotomy amongst slurs is shown by Kennedy in comparing the severity of their use against people they offend, thus placing the n-word higher on this list. Lastly, the author then transitions into showing how the n-word has had a transformation into being used as a semi-positive word when used in the right situation and context amongst people in the African-American community. This article serves as a summary of the history of the word and elaborating on the words use in modern times.

Pitts. "Huckleberry Finn and the N-word Debate." TV Network Primetime, Daytime, Late Night and Classic Television Shows. CBS Interactive, 18 Mar. 2011. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.

Pitts’s perspective on the N-word is not really clear, as he is trying to be an interviewer instead of an opinion journalist in this source; but he tends not to say the N-word out fully which can lead the reader to believe he thinks it’s still an offensive word. Pitts then explains how people have different perspectives on the word even to this day. Randall Williams, one of the people Pitts interviews, has replaced the N-word with the word, “slave” instead. Williams did this because he wants to provide an alternative word to people who do not want to have a conversation about the word when reading it in school. On the contrary,  Pitts interviews another person with a different perspective of the N-word when he interviews author David Bradley, a teacher at the University of Oregon. When asking a question, Pitts says the word “N-word” while Bradley straight out says “nigger”. Bradley explains to Pitt that the N-word is not a bad word, but it is how we use the word that can be hurtful to other people. By the end of the source, Bradley explains that the word, “nigger” creates a teachable moment in the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because it introduces a controversial word to the reader that helps explain the treatment African Americans during the pre-Civil War and where slavery was still part of the culture.

 

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