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Richard Bowen | 18:00 UK time, Thursday, 1 March 2007

We are now off air but read below for all the comments from tonight's show...

On today's show we will talking about the decision by the New York council to ban the 'N word'. We will also be asking should you be able to give your child whatever name you'd like.

You can read emails and text messages here, and of course post your own comments as well.

Mubarak in Liberia

I want the names sadam bush and hitler be banned.

Lubna in Iraq

Hi folks,i believe that the words (Suniee) and (Sheeia) should be banned from use in iraq,using them really harmed my iraq alot.

Johnson in Nigeria

Words evolve everyday. Its the meaning that matters. If the N word is banned some other word with same meaning will emerge. The negative mind set must be addressed.

Silly Billy

Let the German authorities allow the couples to give any name to their child. Names does not necessarily symbolise what you are going to be or who should
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiogogogoch is a Welsh name that a child should never be called.


Does germany allow the name hitler?

Kintu in Uganda

Hello WHYS it's hisham from France. I would love you guys to visit an arab or muslim country in the future. U've already been in america more than once and
The word chogm should be banned in uganda. It is a meeting for leaders who dont believe in the ideals they pretend to front!

Philip Mubanga in Lusaka, Zambia

The word 'nigger' should've been banned way back in the 60's, isn't it a little too late banning it now?

P. Chinthuli in Malawi

Censoring names is a constraint against freedom of expression, autocratic at best. It may also deny the lower class best names.


Hi BBC. I would like my government to band the word pappay because most children here do not call their fathers by their names but instead pappay.

Karo Umukoro in Nigeria

Parents should give their children names that they will be proud to identity with when they come of age.


Just simply take it out from the Webster or the Oxford dictionary.However, you could provide a 'THE HOW TO ' USER GUIDE.

Summer Goodwin in Portland, Oregon

I lived in Germany for 3 years and loved it, except for a few things. One of which is that you cannot name your child whatever you want. I feel that the heart of this issue is free speech. Limiting what you can or cannot name your child, no matter what the reason, is an infringement. Parents love their children. They don't name their child something to hurt it. Anyhow, what you name your child at some point becomes irrelevant. Adults can change their names or simply ask to be called something else. Jihad or Dick? What's the difference? And many men are called Dick even though it can be a potentially embarrassing name in certain contexts.

Kathleen O'Neill in England

I would like to ban the word terrorism or at least make it clear that one person's terrorism is another person's freedom fighter. I personall think the US has done its unfair share of terrrorism but I accept that George Bush sees it as freedom fighting.

Steve in USA

I think you need to understand the german context. Jihad means struggle, which in German is "kampf". You can understand why Germans wouldn't want kids to be named "Mein Kampf" or some variation of that.

Kim Olson

I think it's an unfortunate time to name a child Jihad - There are too many ignorant people to understand what it really means. Do I think it should be banned? No. No words, or names should ever be banned or legislated upon. Ridiculous.

Paul in Barcelona

Could a German call their child Kampf? Islamic people have themselves to blame for the negative connotation associated with the word Jihad. Westerners would not be aware of it if it was not used in reference to violence.
Now we're moving on to the topic you've been emailing us about all day, New York councils decision to ban the 'N word'

Julie in Portland, Oregon

N-Word Ban- People should WANT to ban this word on their own, I would very much like to see it banned- but good luck! I'm very tired of African-American being used in the U.S. for anyone with dark skin-even if they are of mixed ethnicity- I rarely hear German-American or Irish-American used I would also like the f-word to be banned- a good start would be with the entertainment industry.

Oliver Nzala in Estonia

The word Nigger is oppressive and racist.It creates categorization of races and does not promote integration of people with different nationalities.

Jason in Austin, Texas

At what point does banning words , like n-word and jihad, start to restrict the dialogue on why these words are so impactful and hurtful. Isn't the point that we have these discussions to better understand the reasons why these words exist. Part of that discussion is using the words themselves.


The N word is a symptom not the cause. It is disappointing to see the politicians waisting their time on doing politically self agrondizing but absolutely useless moves.The N word is a representation of the current popular culture in the US among the african american community. Banning it will not all of a sudden propel upwards the educational levels of the african american community.

Greg Dunn in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Yes, but it will be difficult to enforce. As I have said in the past on WHYS; "I think that years after this gangster rap phase has passed young black men will still be perceived as gangsters. Young black men seem to enjoy being perceived as gun touting crack dealers, pimps or both. What they seem to find cool now will continue to stick to them for a long time. In addition to this mainstream media enjoys using the "N" word when black men talk to each other."


Jabeez in the Bible was so called because his mother bore him in pain. God pronounced Jabeez honoured amongst man. I wonder if the name would be banned in Germany.

Jan in Belgium

People are not smart enough to differentiate between what's acceptable and what not. The government has to intervene.

Alex in Budapest

Some of the names you hear these days are ludicrous. So these politically sensitive names are at least interesting!

Brandon in Cleveland

Though banning the N word is a good gesture, that is all that it is. Banning the N word will not end racism and discrimination in America. Like many other behaviors, racism is taught at home. The only way to overcome it is by raising the generations to come to be tolerant and accepting of everyone, regardless of race, religion, politics, sexual orientation, national origin, etc.

Joe in Los Angeles

Not only should we ban the N word, but while were at it, let's get rid of Mother F'er, Bitch, and Ho as well.

Joe in New York

For those of you who wish to express your fres speech by using the N-word in NYC, please dont!!! If the law does not get you an angry and offended New Yorker will!!!

S in Chennai, India

The word nigger should not only be banned but should also be removed from all the world dictionaries. The nigger race have a very disgraceful past history and other races and nationals should bear in their mind that people are black not because they are lowborn but because of the hot climatic conditions the race was raised. If you accept the theory that our ancestral roots of mankind are from Africa then you are obliged to hold the black race in high esteem.

Josimar in Jamaica

Initially the word "coolie" was a discriminatory word used to describe immigrant Indians who came to the West Indies. It is not so much used anymore in Jamaica. In fact the mean has changed from a harsh reference to Indians to a casual label. The word nigger, while in its early use by slave masters referred to hard-working Africans, was very discriminatory. It should never be used by any race including blacks as it has held back the African Diaspora from progressing culturally and otherwise.


After thousands of years of human development, leading to the concept of equal justice under the law, we are now moving back to the old concept of special justice. Well-meaning though it might be at first, when you single out one race for protection against pejoratives you have to do it for all races, or you are opening the door for special racial protections and this has an eerie ring in Europe and is totally unworkable in the US. Hollywood would be out of business.

Tanweer in Canada

It seems like the world is moving backward, they used to punish those who did not believe in a certain kind of god. now taking the lead from jews who want to kill and punish any one who does not believe in holocaust,ok israilis are allowed to be stupid and there stupidity is glorified by media but the rest of the world should not follow their lead or there wil be chaos,banning the word nigger or banning the name jehad is a leap backward in time, these things can not be legislated.

Jessica in California

People should not be so willing to give up ANY personal freedom, no matter how small. If saying of a particular word is banned - what happens next? Do we ban all the books, music, movies, plays, etc.. that contain that word? Its a very slippery slope. The word is very offensive - and shouldn't be used, but banning is not the answer.

Antonio in Mozambique

The word Niger becomes offensive depending on when and where you are using it. If it is also a latin word for Niger why cant we use latin words for the o N word must be ban olso must be ban the denomination

Anees' Peshawar in Pakistan

The ban useless,Its good word there is no objectionable thing in it, Jihaad basic mean the fight against terriorism and unjustice. The word Niger becomes offensive depending on when and where you are using it. If it is also a latin word for Niger why cant we use latin words for the other colours in our daily speeches.

Richard in Athens

Some names change gender when they cross the Atlantic: Robin, Leslie, Vivian. My middle name, Conrad, became Connie for some school friends. Children, especially are merciless and it hurts fragile young egos. These things are difficult but can we really put an end to it by legislation?
Cover the lack of property restitution to Holocaust victims in Eastern Europe. Poland and Baltic states especially.

Emmanuel in Asaba, Nigeria

I would like to see the expression "419" banned in Nigeria and the World over.


In Nigeria, some Muslims use the word 'Arne',which means 'Infidel', to describe non-muslims. To me, it sounds offensive.


Any word itself doesn't mean nothing what really important it is that's what the people would say and mean !

Pothacot in Nigeria

Negro is a race. Negritude is a philosophy. Nigger is an alias.If blacks accept then the racists would be shamed.Let blacks accept it.

Rick in Detroit

If New York wants to ban the 'N' word they should enforce it in the way they enforce other profanity laws. The intent is offensive, derogatory and degrading. 'Ghetto' attitude is treated as cool, the 'ghetto' speech and vocabulary is accepted as cool. So, using it is contagious.

Mark in Massachusetts

I don’t believe banning words because it gives the word more importance. Teaching people not to use a word, showing them that the word or words are bad works better to make the word less important.

Steve in Detroit

Don't use, don't ban it. But my question is, can someone from the African American community explain why it is used within their community at all? Everyone I've ever heard says they don't know why it's okay.


This debate has whiskers. Once again: if black people use the n word they are sad. If whites use it they are racist.


Earlier I heard a Bosnian moslem worried about a holocaust in Europe, now I am hearing about someone calling their child Jehad. Does this name help moslems to integrate in Europe? You also talked about people using the word Nigger. Do they use it to make coloured people feel good? I don't think so. Basically it's all the same thing. We all need to have common sense and try to make choices that make each other feel comfortable and included. Those who cause problems can be white, christian, black, moslem, any colour and any faith. We need to stop excusing disruptive people because they belong to our particular religious or social group. The silent and hopefully sensible majority from every group needs to recognise each other more.

Chris from Los Angeles

I am a gay man from LA. Fag is very offensive, full stop.


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