I am not a person who would ever use the N-word. While I don’t support the revision of Huckleberry Finn that excludes the N-word, it is not a word that I would typically use in my own writing and would never use it in conversation.
But I have a problem.
What if the word is used in a song?
Up until this point, the question has been moot. The use of the N-word in music is typically restricted to hip hop and rap, and I am not a big fan of either genre. I am also opposed to the consistent use of vulgarity in music, seeing it as an easy and cheap way to heighten the emotional quotient of a song.
But now I have a problem.
Despite the vulgarity that infuses most of Cee Lo Green’s F-You, I love this song. I think it is funny and honest and almost perfect, and the recent remixes of the song that strip it of its profanity are neutered and terrible.
For once in my life, I find a profanity-laced song incredibly enjoyable.
But the song also includes the N-word.
So the other day I found myself singing along to the song in my car when I came upon the verse that includes the N-word.
Was I supposed to stop singing?
Should I have replaced the N-word with a palatable alternative, as has been done in the recent edition of Huckleberry Finn?
Should I have bleeped the offensive word out?
Should I simply never sing the song?
What is a white guy to do when he wants to sing along to a song that includes the N-word?