Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy (Pantheon, 226 pp., $22) Click here to purchase the book.No white person calls me "nigger," at least not when I am around. The white people with whom I come into contact seem aware that the word is today "the filthiest, dirtiest, nastiest word in the English language," as Christopher Darden put it during the O.J. Simpson trial. I know "nigger" mainly as an affectionate in-group term favored especially by black men.
The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks by Randall Robinson (Plume, 262 pp., $13) I can buy a big house in an exclusive neighborhood. I can buy a fancy car or two. I can send my kids to private school. I can work hard and empower myself. Oprah Winfrey pulled herself up by the bootstraps.