Re: The N Word
My only problem with the word is when it's used to intentionally insult people of black skin color. The "nigga" variation is just street language referring to others by this word as in 'friend' or 'person'. The "er" (original) version, however, is pretty offensive and only ever used when it's a racist topic.
I think, however, using it more freely for non-racist meanings will be pretty good for the sake of less racism. It loses it's original meaning and it's not a bad thing.
I personally listen to tons of rap music as it's part of my life and the "N word" appears on a regular basis, probably more so than any other word. When I rap along, I sometimes find a better substitute that fits in the same context, it also often sounds simply better.