Trudy, who is white and says she lives in a predominantly white community, asks about the use of the n-word in music her children listen to. "It's not used in my home, I've never heard people in the community use it, but yet all of the kids know it," she says. "All of the white kids know it because of music and movies and they think it's like no big deal." So what can Trudy tell them about using that word?
Dr. Poussaint says Trudy needs to be forceful in telling her children what she thinks. "You tell them that it's a vicious, awful, demeaning word that has led to the killing, lynching and the demoralization and feelings of inferiority in black people—and that you can't make that word positive," he says. "It really damages our children. It's damaging all the way through. You should never justify it."