Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to criticism for his liberal use of the N-word in dialogue for African-American characters. Whatever you think about the use of the word in general, at least in his latest movie, slavery-era revenge epic Django Unchained, there is historical context.
In an interview for the movie Samuel L. Jackson brought the dilemma to the fore when he (unsuccessfully) goaded a white interviewer into saying the word, by pretending he didn't know which "n-word" the journalist was referring to.
"No? Nobody? None? The word would be...?"
When the journalist demures, Jackson barks "Say it! Try it! We're not going to have this conversation until you try it!" Before finally allowing the journalist to move onto a next question.
We'd quite like to have heard his answer to whatever the question was, but - clearly bored of discussing the matter - Jackson thought otherwise. He told the journalist "It wasn't a great question if you can't say the word."
Meanwhile, Spike Lee, director of films including Do the Right Thing and Malcom X and long-time critic of Tarantino, said he thought the film was "disrespectful to my ancestors", although admitted he did not plan to see it.
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