Racial slurs taken seriously by newspaper staff

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You hear it in today's music and movies. It's used by musicians, professional athletes and even kids in our schools. It's what we typically refer to as the "N" word.

The word is used to express hatred and it's commonly thought of as the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in the English language, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

The "N" word is used in that same way today, as well as in other ways, and at times by people who mean no harm by it. That doesn't make it appropriate in our view, but we have no control over how others use the word.

As for this newspaper, you will unfortunately see the word printed on our pages from time to time in a news story to convey how someone else has used the word. It has been printed on these pages twice in the past few months, most recently in Monday's issue. Each time, it was to show the seriousness of the incident in which the word was used, and, in both instances, the person using it was also charged with a crime in relation to their acts that included the word.

Each time the word appears in a court document or other official report, our staff discusses the way the person originally used it, and we take great care to make sure we are responsible in how we relay that to you in our reporting.

As with any newspaper, our guide for content and how we present it is The Associated Press Stylebook. According to AP Style, the "N" word is to be spelled out when it is used in a direct quote, and that has been the case in the two recent uses by this newspaper.

While we understand this may be deemed as offensive, we wish to express that it is in no way our intent to offend or hurt anyone, but simply to report the news and let our readers know what is happening in our community.

While it is unfortunate there are people who use such words to inflict hurt and hatred on others, it is also a reality of the world in which we live.