Two columnists reminded us of the wounds that occur in the use of the n-word, citing actor Michael Richards' racial tirade in 2006 and celebrity chef Paula Deen's statements in a deposition.
No one should utter the n-word in public or private. It is a cruel reminder of the hundreds of years of slave-master rhetoric and the "chains" of degradation during the Jim Crow era.
We should emphasize that too many Americans need jobs, a better education, live in poverty, etc.
We should emphasize the positive contributions of African-Americans: D.H. Williams, 1883, the first successful open heart surgeon; P.L. Julian, who synthesized cortisone to treat arthritis; Emmett Chappelle, whose discoveries helped diagnose urinary tract infections; C.R. Drew, who opened our first blood bank; G.A. Morgan, who invented the gas mask; Patricia Bath, who invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment; Lewis Latimer, whose most important invention made the electric light bulb practical; and James West, whose invention of microphonics led to today's use of telephones, baby monitors, etc.
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So many more black American pathfinders have contributed positively to all our lives.
Charles L. Richman