After you read
Mapping the reading.
1. Identify all different ways that the N-word is viewed and used, according to Holmes.
2. What point does Holmes hope to prove by referring to ethnic slurs that are no longer widely used or known?
3. According to Holmes, what are some reason “why the N-word doesn’t go away”?
4. What is Holmes position on use of the N-word? Summarize his point of view and quote a passage in which he state his position most clearly.
5. Who are the members of what Holmes call the “army of the N-word”?
Discussing and thinking critically about reading.
1. Holmes concludes his article with these question: in the face of this army of the N-word, do those who wish it could go away of the ethnic slur of yesteryear really have a chance? Or should we all resign ourselves to the idea that, despite the hand- wringing, this nettlesome word sadly isn’t going away anytime soon?” How do you respond? Do you think your age and race have any influence on your response? Why or why not?
2. Although Holmes is concerned about use of the N-word, he admits that his generation contributes to its continued use. How does this admission affect his argument?
3. Holmes denigrate claim that term like terrorist, illegal, and thug allow users “to people without suffering social consequences.” What do you think? Are these words hidden slurs? Why or why not.
4. Holmes motions celebrities and public figure (president Obama, Richard Pryor, Trinidad James, and Chris Rock) who use the N-word. What place do public figures and celebrities have in shaping attitudes toward his word or any topic, and why? Do you think the word would away?
5. When publishing this article, CNN offered a warning to readers, saying “this article contains offensive language. Do you think this waring was necessary? Why or why not? What is the difference between using a word discussing it which do you see Holmes doing?
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