Review: Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kennedy's book is a fascinating look at the tricky and curious understanding of an infamous word. What is so strong about this book is that it traces out the word's complexity and provides a clear understanding that it is not a fixed word and yet there are core elements to it. Language is tricky and language that is deeply rooted in human degradation is even more challenging. He looks at the cultural and legal history of the word while also identifying the ways that both African Americans and non-African Americans use the word in modern times. It was clear prior to this book why it is such a powerful and troubling word, but now, I find myself with a richer understanding of how it happens and why it will be a long time before we have unpacked all the elements that comes with using the word.

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