The N-word is one of my favorite expletives. I use it liberally when I am driving in traffic, surrounded by cars driven by incompetent white people. Near as I can tell, the N-word is shorthand for a useless person, regardless of color. It's usually applied to black people, either in a hostile manner by whites, or in a friendly manner by blacks, as in yes, we are all worthless bums. Whites don't generally apply the N-word to other whites, they are usually more explicit in their condemnation, as in "a useless piece of s**t".
There was a scene in a movie that still sticks with me. I thought it was Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967), but it was actually The Landlord (1968). Someone, I don't remember who, asks if anyone knows the other meaning for the NAACP? "Niggers ain't always colored people" is the answer. The scene ends with someone having a tureen of soup dumped on their head.
I don't use the N-word much these days since I've learned how to keep calm in traffic (basically it means giving up on ever getting anywhere. Turns out you will get there eventually anyway, even if you have to crawl). Plus my kids give me grief about it.
I read a short piece recently about how the current social prohibition against using the N-word exacerbates racism more than the use of the word itself. I don't know about that, but then I live in a mostly white suburb in a mostly white city in a mostly white state, so it's not like I'm going to start a riot by using the N-word at an inopportune moment. It's more likely I'd get punched by a redneck.
Inspired by a blog post on Front Sight Press by Tiffany Johnson. Via Tam.
6 months ago