In The N Word, a renowned cultural critic untangles the twisted history and future of racism through its most volatile word. In 2003, the book Nigger started an intense conversation about the use and implications of that epithet. The N Word moves beyond that short, provocative book by revealing how the word has both reflected and spread the scourge of bigotry in America. Asim claims that, even when uttered by hipsters and hip-hop icons, the slur helps keep blacks at the bottom of America's socioeconomic ladder. But he also proves there is a place for this 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.
Jabari Asim is deputy editor of the Washington Post Book World. He also writes a weekly syndicated column on popular culture. His writing has appeared in Essence, Salon.com, the Los Angeles Times, and the Village Voice.
"This important new book sheds light on questions that have long gone unanswered. . .Every home should have it." --E. Lynn Harris, author of I Say A Little Prayer "In The N Word, we just might have the definitive word on the essence of power and subordination in America." --Christopher Benson, coauthor of Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America "Jabari Asim persuasively explains why the N word remains a slur and a symbol of inequality." --Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania