So here is something I did on the word "nigger," and why I love it. I recognize I'm going to loose half of my minuscule readership over this mess, but please bear with me guys. The Essence:
When I consider nigger, I think of Doug E. Fresh pulling the funk of an old Inspector Gadget ditty. I think of the kids I used to watch in Chocolate City who could take a few buckets and turn them into a percussive orchestra. I think of my father, after work, dog-tired in the kitchen making cans of beans do things that they were not meant for. This is what we do.
As I said, this is about first impressions. How would I feel if my introduction came from a group of menacing troglodytes in the backwoods of some Confederate state? Writer or not, I don't think I'd ever be able to hear anything more than evil from the word. Thus to those who refuse to say nigger, and don't want it used in reference to them, I say, Respect Due. But it's another thing entirely to seek to restrict the vocab of a group who've come up completely different. There is something essentialist about it all, a spirit of "blacker-than-thou" in the word-police who claim that only they may decide how and when to use the allegedly abominable word.
Anyway. Read the whole piece. And holla back, if you dare.