DALLAS- There's no question the 'n' word is tough to talk about. Social activist and reverend Dr. Frederick Haynes describes the term as "toxic, acid and poisonous."
And on Saturday, he took on the sensitive subject at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters round-table series.
"The generations are coming together to talk about how we can come together in our ongoing struggle to be liberated from the meaning of the 'n' word on so many levels," he told NewsFix.
But, whether people use the term in a form of disrespect or endearment, there's always been debate on who can or can't say it-- and why. The Rev defines today's use of the vocab as a definite generational gap.
"There's a generation that the word has been taken, changed, and almost baptized and come back positive," he explained.
Case in point: Popular rap artists like Kendrick Lamar have set out to positively reclaim the 'n' word through music. On the other hand, given its negative history, there are many people who'll automatically dismiss the idea.
"There's another generation that has been so hurt by the word and the memories of the word preclude them from even thinking the word can be baptized and redeemed," Dr. Haynes added.
At the round-table, he also noted that the 'n' word speaks volumes on what's going on in our country today.
"Even if you're not calling me the 'n' word, but if the institution has still reduced me to that-- like Flint Michigan and police brutality -- the 'n' word is symptomatic of a much greater problem."
One thing that we can all probably agree on is the 'n' word probably won't be erased from the English language anytime soon.
But, here's hoping having the conversation will influence change.