Proposal would ban 'n-word' in New York

Feb. 25, 2007 at 6:39 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A New York City councilman is proposing a ban the "n-word" in the city, and lawmakers are expected to vote on the ordinance this week.

The New York Times says Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr. came up with the idea for the ban just days after actor Michael Richards was caught on tape in a racist tirade at a California comedy club. Comrie told the Times it upsets him that so many young blacks use the "n-word" -- albeit with the "a" opposed to the "er" ending -- as a form of camaraderie.

The proposed measures describe the epithet as "ignorant and derogatory." Advocates of the ban have said that it should have been imposed long ago.

But, the Times says, many are also calling the proposed ban insulting.

Some critics cite rapper Mos Def in a 1999 interview, in which the rapper commented on the modern use of the "n-word," saying blacks have taken "a word that has been historically used by whites to degrade and oppress us, a word that has so many negative connotations, and turned it into something beautiful, something we can call our own."

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