People of color, women, and gays — who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before — are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe …

Nwords As Terms Around 1820

Alisse Portnoy’s Their Right To Speak is a fascinating book about women’s activism in campaigns against antebellum Native American removal and parallel efforts in the abolition movement. In a passage on abolition and slavery rhetoric, Portnoy explains that “negro” was never a neutral term. In addition, “negro,” instead of the other nword, was used in …