When I was 6 or 7, I made the mistake of using the N-word in front of my mother. She made it a near death experience for me, and in the 50 following years it has never left my lips again. I later learned her best friend growing up was African-American. Watching Paula Deen get quickly publicly destroyed for admitting to its use privately may be the tipping point for me. I'll not remain silent at the continuing hypocrisy of the African-American community in the United States. It is time for those of color to either change or be quiet.
For African-Americans to continue to accept the N-word as part of their culture yet vilify anyone else who uses it shows a lack of character and integrity. Either the word is offensive for all to use, or it is not. Make it unacceptable for anyone to use the word or, please, be quiet when someone else uses it as some African-Americans do, and defend Paula Deen.
If African-Americans as a community had stepped up years ago, the word would probably not even be in the lexicon today. I wince when I hear the word, and I think most Americans do, too. The word is a weapon that we could unilaterally disarm, but it must start with African -Americans.