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Tom Joyner is right: I have decided to retire the use of the “N” word in public. Why? Not because I believe that it has lost its power as a term of endearment among black folk who use it with love and affection. Not because its meaning has become so bastardized that one may not recover its redemptive use by black folk who intend it to signify profound love and respect. I have decided to stop using it for two reasons: many black folk who otherwise supported my work and agreed with my perspectives were thrown off by my public identification with the downtrodden and the debased of our race through use of the term. Despite all the good they thought I did, they believed that the use of the word made it difficult for them to fully embrace me. [To paraphrase The Apostle Paul said in the Bible that “if meat offends my brother, I don’t eat meat.”] PLAYA HATA

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