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Program Information
 Radio Curious 
 
 Weekly Program
 Randall Kennedy & Barry Vogel, Esq.
 Radio Curious - Barry Vogel  
 For non-profit use only.
 Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) 
Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word

Few words in the English language have caused so much pain, hurt and emotion as the N-word. It is arguably the most consequential social insult in American history. The long history of the pejorative use of the N-word has given it an unusual power that extends to the judicial system, literature and social settings.

Randall Kennedy, a professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, is the author of “Nigger-the Strange Career of a Troublesome Word.” His book chronicles the history of this word, in an effort to diffuse and neutralize it.

At the end of his book he writes, “There is much to be gained by allowing people all backgrounds to yank the N-word away from white supremacists to subvert its ugliest denotation, and to convert the N-work from a negative into a positive appellation.”

I spoke with Professor Randall Kennedy in the winter of 2002 while he was in California and asked him to begin our conversation by explaining this conclusion.

The book Randall Kennedy recommends in “The Negro in the American Revolution,” by Benjamin Quarles, written in 1961.

Originally Broadcast: March 19, 2002
Barry Vogel, Esq. is the host and producer.
Ignacio Ayala is the assistant producer.
As Radio Curious begins the 30th year of weekly broadcast, we're proud to be a part of the Library of Congress Audio Division. Our interviews cover a curiously wide variety of topics about life and ideas. Currently all of our half-hour, long-form interviews are from the Radio Curious archives. The website is www.radiocurious.org.

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Thank you for listening.
Barry Vogel, Host and Producer

 "Randall Kennedy – Can You Say This Word?" Download Program Podcast
00:29:00 English 2002-03-19
 Ukiah, California
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