The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word
Vintage, Paperback, 9780375713712, 208pp.
Publication Date: January 7, 2003
Should blacks be able to use nigger in ways forbidden to others? Should the law treat it as a provocation that reduces the culpability of those who respond to it violently? Should it cost a person his job, or a book like Huckleberry Finn its place on library shelves? With a range of reference that extends from the Jim Crow south to Chris Rock routines and the O. J. Simpson trial, Kennedy takes on not just a word, but our laws, attitudes, and culture with bracing courage and intelligence.
“Provocative. . . . engaging and informative.” —The New York Times
“Should be required reading. . . . This little book deserves to be read especially if we seek better understanding of ourselves and others.” –The Dallas Morning News
“Demonstrates a key truth about the N-word. . . . it tracks our racial history and stars in a slew of court decisions that reveal large truths about bigotry and free expression.”–Philadelphia Inquirer
“A detailed, well-researched book. . . . Kennedy boils centuries of usage–in conversation, literature, legal proceedings–down to the most pertinent and instructive.” –San Francisco Chronicle