Wellington, Darryl Lorenzo. "History, Amnesia and the N Word." DISSENT MAGAZINE Winter 2008.
The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why by Jabari Asim (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) 239 pp $26
Nigger: the Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy (Vintage, 2003) 208 pp $12.95 paper
THE SUBJECT is small—a word. Yet the subject contained within the subject is immeasurable: racism American-style. It isn’t always a good idea to reduce vast social dimensions to a pithy cognomen—all the great “isms” are finally irreducible—but there are special cases, and when Jabari Asim asks us to examine American racism (particularly racism against black Americans) through the lens of a single word, it’s remarkable how much history he squeezes into the text. . .
Read the rest of the review here: http://dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=998.