Comparing the N-word with “Slave”.

A fruitful dialogue about an honest disagreement

Teed Rockwell
11 min readJul 11, 2022

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Laura Quainoo recently wrote an essay titled “7 reasons why calling our ancestors slaves is just flat out wrong.” One of these seven reasons was “There’s no difference between a slave and a {N-word} What follows is my response to this claim, which lead to a dialogue on this topic which I felt was too good to stay buried in the comments section. You should follow this link to Laura’s original article before reading my response. For the rest of this dialogue, my contributions are in plain text, and hers are in italics. My comments added for this version are in bold face.

Teed: I don’t think we should put the word “slave” on the same ban list as the N-word, and penalize anyone who uses it. I was grateful to learn about the distinction {between “enslaved person” and “slave”} when I heard it. Now whenever I write or talk about slavery or racism, I instinctively prefer to talk about enslaved people rather than slaves. It underscores the fact that this was something that happened to them, and that this was something terrible that never should happen to anyone. However, if I’ve already used “enslaved”, “enslavement” and “enslaver” in the same paragraph, sometimes I find it smoother stylistically to use the word “slave” in a few places. I don’t think that does any harm.

I disagree with most of your arguments, and I could respond to them, but ultimately such a response would be beside the point. The only reason we ban the N-word…

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Teed Rockwell

I am White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male Heterosexual cisgendered over-educated able-bodied affluent and thin. Hope to learn from those living on the margins.