The "n" word rears its ugly head

In Plain Sight

I was reading an article in your publication and I found some things that troubled me. On page 28, one of your writers is repeatedly quoting someone using the “n” word in a distasteful way (“I Felt the Bullet Whiz Past My Ear,” January 24 cover story). I’m sure this is a mistake. Being an African-American, I know for a fact that two African-Americans would never use the word nigger in conversation with each other. Maybe “nigga,” but never “nigger.” I’m wondering how this managed to pass by everyone’s eyes and was able to be printed.

Even if this is true that two African-Americans sat in the car and called each other nigger several times, it is still distasteful to print it. It can be “n*er,” it can be “the n word,” it can be a number of things other than the word “nigger” in plain sight for everyone to read.

Travis Gibbs
via voicemail

“N” Not Necessary

This comment is directed at the author Eva Knott. I wonder if you think that the use of the word “n” in your article is necessary ("I Felt the Bullet Whiz Past My Ear,” January 24 cover story). I don’t see why you think it’s ok to use a word in an article that many people are offended by, which really does not need to be there.

You were quoting a report, right? Does that make it ok? I don’t think so.

Even if you felt it important to bring up that quote, you could have put asterisks there instead of spelling out the whole word. Moreover, I’m almost certain that the men did not actually use that word. I’m sure they used a closer word ending with an “a” instead of the “er” you use.

Does it make a difference? Not really. But at least you would be accurately explaining what happened. In any case, I hope that you refrain from using words that you don’t need which may offend your readers. Good article, bad judgment.

via email

What Is That?

This concerns your January 24 cover story (“I Felt the Bullet Whiz Past My Ear”). I’m puzzled over two things. It’s a story about some low-life dope fiend who is almost killed and he’s robbed by a couple of “niggers.” (I only say that word because it says it in the story.) The first thing I’m puzzled about is why they’re out on bail. You’d think people that dangerous would be locked up in jail. Those three-time losers should be locked up forever.

But the reason I really called is to find out what thing is on the cover. What is that? Moldy swiss cheese? Some kind of cartridge? If it’s not moldy swiss cheese, what is it? And what does it have to do with the story? It’s very puzzling.

It’s an interesting story: A couple of lowlifes and how they beat each other up. Only in California!

Name Withheld
via voicemail

R.I.P. Pontiac

I’m calling about the January 17 Reader, Shortcuts by Karen Boyd. It’s about a 2004 Pontiac Vibe. I didn’t even know that Pontiac was building cars in 2004. I thought I got the last one in 1999. I have a Pontiac Bonneville SSEi. They stopped making Pontiacs that year.

I’d like to know more information from Karen Boyd, namely how Pontiac was making cars in 2004. I don’t want to give my name, but I really do want to know more about the Pontiac.

Name Withheld
via voicemail

The last Pontiacs were built in late 2009. — Editor

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About Pontiac: They went belly up in 2010 but even before that they were struggling. They had only a few models most of which re-badged cars from other makes. The car in the article was a Pontiac Vibe which is actually a Toyota Matrix. They were also 'producing' the G8 (Holden Commodore), the G5/G6 (Chevy Cobalt) and the GTO (Holden Monaro). The G8 and GTO were by a wide margin, the best cars ever to have the Pontiac badge. They never made a good car themselves.

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