Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:11 PM
Shakespeare used it, too; "Be not a niggard of your speech." (Macbeth, Act IV, scene iii, l. 180)
But the thing is, words change. There are hundreds of words that Shakespeare used that now mean different things, just like how reading Chaucer can be difficult if you don't know the original context of the language he wrote with. The fact that language evolves is the beauty of it, and in that change comes new terms entirely, "nigger" being one of them.
That word's introduction retroactively taints similar words before it. Is it unfortunate? Yeah, sure, but to ignore modern context of language and risk offending people just because you want to say a specific word is a pretty gross thing to do.