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Extended Audio Sample The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why, by Jabari Asim Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (138 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jabari Asim Narrator: Mirron Willis Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In The N Word, a renowned cultural critic untangles the twisted history and future of racism through its most volatile word.

In 2003, the book Nigger started an intense conversation about the use and implications of that epithet. The N Word moves beyond that short, provocative book by revealing how the word has both reflected and spread the scourge of bigotry in America.

Asim claims that, even when uttered by hipsters and hip-hop icons, the slur helps keep blacks at the bottom of America’s socioeconomic ladder. But he also proves there is a place for this word in the mouths and on the pens of those who truly understand its twisted history—from Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle to Mos Def. Only when we know its legacy can we loosen this slur’s grip on our national psyche.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A sharp-eyed musing on the history of the word and how it bears, or should bear, on a media-driven culture that is dangerously ahistorical, especially in matters of race.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Important, timely, and much-needed...a brilliant and bracing history lesson.”

    Washington Post

  • “Provocative and compelling...Asim’s book is not just the etymology of the word but also a capsule history of racism in America.”


  • “[Asim] sweeps over this sensitive and contradictory terrain—including black Americans’ use of the word—with practicality, while dispensing gentle provocations…Clear, engaging writing increases the pleasure.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[Asim] is most eloquent when relating how African Americans have been characterized in our culture; how the word nigger has been employed to oppress, belittle, dismiss, humiliate, and ridicule black people; and how they themselves have increasingly used it to satirize and oppose that oppression.”

    Library Journal

  •  “Informed, sensible and impassioned.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Washington Post Best Book of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Zina | 11/29/2013

    " i thought this book was going to be all contemporary. so, all i really care to read is 1955-present. this section is worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ubalstecha | 2/3/2013

    " This book looks at the history of the N word and how it has been used through out history. Very interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bsampson | 9/4/2012

    " Interesting..it sparked up alot of debates in my black studies class on the actual meaning of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mrs. Mendoza | 1/1/2012

    " This book is thought-provoking and provides a great opportunity to evaluate the way language, culture and society support, create and interrelate with each other. "

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About the Author
Author Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is deputy editor of the Washington Post Book World. He also writes a weekly syndicated column on popular culture. His writing has appeared in Essence, Salon.com, the Los Angeles Times, and the Village Voice.