As in the "N" word, the "W" word and the "C" word...all racial slurs. You've heard 'em. So there's no need for me to spell them out, is there?

Well, the guys at SPEAK Theater Arts happen not to agree with me. They are three young men who all met at community college and have gone on to form a theater piece organized around racial epithets and all that they invoke — slurs and stereotypes.

It's a subject we've covered a fair amount on this program. I know that some people think this stuff is trivial (I had an E-mail from a congressman to that effect not long ago. His point — and I don't take it lightly — is that people are dying in Iraq every day and that's a big deal...not some verbiage). But I also think culture is what defines us. It's one of our most significant exports; it tells us who we are.

The young men — Miles Gregley, Rafael Augustin and Allan Axibal — have their own interesting, amusing argument about why we need to hear...uh..those words.

You can listen for yourself, and tell us what you think.

Warning: they do spell it out. But you knew that...



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I was late for work this morning sitting in the parking lot listening to this segment. I was so enlighted to hear others saying over the air waves what I have been saying for a long time.

So many people are afraid of these words, yet it is so true if we are educated on them and speak of them intellectually, what is wrong with using? We only become enlightened through education. In my opinion it is the sheltering of words, subjects, and issues that may keep some people ignorant. I have also read the book, "The N Word" and have recommended it to teachers that teach at at risk schools. I will not let my students use derogetory words toward each other, but yet when at home it is sort of a second language and there is nothing wrong with it, I should be educated enough to explain in a positive way why it is negative. When it comes to race, I view it is more, in my opinion and experience, it is white or highly educated people who are more uncomfortable with certain word usage.

All words come from somewhere and if we want to move away from the negativity of them, we need to educuate people of diversity and how/where these words derived from. They were negative and turned positive among next generations. Who allows this? We do.

These gentlemen focus on multicultural divisity and the union of it, not the negativity of words. I love it. We speak of diversity often, but in many of these conversations I've heard, and lectors I've listened too the diversity I listen of is still racially one sided. I love how these men show more sides at once.

Thank you.

Sent by Angelique Hamilton | 12:52 AM | 7-26-2007

And I thought Don Imus was bad.

Sent by Tom Emmert | 5:44 PM | 7-28-2007

Until I see a black person who will not cringe/flinch/get angry/etc. when called "n-----" by a random white person, even when it is meant as a term of friendship, this viewpoint that it's "just a word" is naive and unrealistic. I disagree that it is only the "PC" liberal white crowd who are uncomfortable with this word and others like it. The whole street/hip hop culture aside, very few educated, middle-income and higher blacks shun this word as well (not to suggest that there aren't lower income blacks who abhor it as well). The answer to "What's wrong with using it?" can be answered by any black person who had it yelled at them while they were simply walking down the street, or heard it whispered between store clerks after they've made a purchase with their hard-earned money. Diversity and fairness does not mean that some person has the abilty to call a black person "n-----" on the street and that black person should not take offense. And why is "n-----" the only word that everyone seems hellbent on making safe for society? Does that not raise any red flags?

Sent by K. Green | 2:51 PM | 7-30-2007