Is it ever appropriate to use the n-word? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Is it ever appropriate to use the n-word?

(WTVM) -

A debate about people saying the n-word has created a firestorm on social media. 

This comes after the controversy surrounding chef Paula Deen admitting she used the racial slur.

With such a dramatic change in the use of the word over time, News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles took a look at what some locals at a barber shop think about how, when, and if it is appropriate to use the n-word.

"If you're in a greeting to some you might say what up and then the n- word," said Diallo Baker of Columbus.  

Baker admits times have changed when it come to using the n-word.  We caught up with him at Joe's Look Well barber shop on Old Cusseta Road. 

 "The way it's used determines what it means when it's used," Baker explained.  

Baker's barber Eric Meadows says his late father known as Mr. Joe opened this business back in the 60s and didn't play around with the n-word.

"As he grew and it became common among his own race, than it became sho' nough negative," Meadows said.

But with Eric's 14-year-old nephew, it's a common word to use.

"A lot sometimes it's negative and positive," he said.

The use of the n-word has definitely transcended among generations. Columbus rapper Smokey Bear, like many hip hop artists, uses the n-word in their songs.

"To express myself in my music and have limits to it, I wouldn't be a music artist," he said.

It's clear from the discussion that the frustration over the n-word is less about its history, and more about the context and culture of its use.  There are many opinions about when it's okay to say it but everyone seems to agree that the n-word isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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