I have always believed and stated that "words mean things". I tried to teach this to my son as he was growing up. Certain words are made to intentionally knock a person down based on race, sexual orientation, religion, and even where a person may live.
Calling someone an Okie is not necessarily a term to describe someone as intelligent with a moral lifestyle.Identifying a polygamist as a plyg-farmer is not exactly an endearing term. Several terms for sexual orientation of a homosexual lifestyle can be terribly hurtful and of course the terms used to describe someone's race can be downright hateful.
Now I am not going to waste time trying to argue that the term "nigger" is no worse than other terms for other races. This word is probably the ugliest word in the English language. It does have a history of hate and violence behind it that no other race description can come close to. I firmly believe that the word nigger should never be used, especially to describe someone of the black community.
There are other words that have come out of our ignorance as a people to describe those different from ourselves. Raghead, camel jockey, chief, redskin, slant eyes, are but a few among many other words that can cause hurt and anger, including the word cracker to describe one of anglo descent.
Respect is the key here. I believe we should respect our fellow human beings no matter what their race, religion or sexual orientation may be. I believe this to be a truth for all people, no matter what their race may be. I can't understand how a black person feels when someone calls him a nigger. No doubt there is pain and a lot of anger. Anytime you are called a disparaging term because of your race, a person will feel a certain level of hurt and anger.
Personally, I don't use words to describe people in that manner. I try not to anyway for I can not say I am perfect. I try to respect a person's heritage and race by not digging into the murk and mud for those words that will cause the most pain. It is a simple way I can show respect to one of my fellow humans. At the same time, I expect to be respected in the same manner and the word cracker has become a disrespectful term for a Caucasian person. I do not like to be called a cracker. For some reason though, the word has been accepted by society as being an acceptable way to describe white people. I do not agree with this. The word is used as a put down much the same way other words that are unacceptable do.
My proposal is this. We are all one large community broken into smaller sub communities to be sure. But being members of the larger community, respect is one way to advance healing that needs to be done between the races. I'll respect you as a person and your race by not using those vile words and all I expect in return is the same.
So please, don't call me a cracker. I am a person the same as you with the same feelings and pride.