Derogatory language and race.

First, and importantly, let me say I mean to offend no one with this thread . It is an honest, innocent query.

In the US (for example) the use of some words relating to someone of a different race can cause a violent and very hurtful reaction. Whites calling blacks the ‘N’ word being the most obvious example, though I can think of a few more I’ve heard. But strangely this does not work the other way around. Why?

I’m white, came from the south (well, TX) and I have been called a host of (supposed) derogatory names by blacks none of which really bothered me and certainly could not inflame me as the example above could some blacks. They are only words, so why don’t they work both ways?

This is more of an IMHO than a GQ I do believe but I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved it to the pit or just closed it because, sadly enough, anyone giving an honest answer is going to get their pants flamed off. Search the archive though, this has come up before.

If enough people start giving opinions, it probably will get moved to IMHO. But there should be a linguistically sound answer to this question that would not be a opinion and the true answer is one of language - not race. I see no reason for someone to get flamed over this if they stick to the OP, unless, you, Cisco, think there is inequality between any two races. I don’t.
Or maybe it’s an anthrapology answer.
Regardless, my guess is that since you can’t use math to answer this you’ve deemed it inflamitory and opinionated. I feel you are wrong and I think you are doing the mods job for them.
Finally, I did a search. I’m not saying it’s not there, it’s just that I didn’t find it.

My WAG is that the words to which you might have been exposed, or which blacks might use in general towards whites (honkey, cracker, ofay, etc.) arose from different circumstances. The words whites have historically used towards blacks arose from a culture in which blacks were considered inferior human beings, if they were considered human at all. Even after slavery was done away with following the Civil War, there was an entire de facto system of laws and practices which made blacks second-class citizens for another 100 years. The words some white people use towards them carry all of that cultural and historical baggage, whereas the words some blacks use towards whites have been a response to that.

IMHO, blacks and whites have a minority/majority relationship. This has in the past and still today allowed for greater opportunities and power for those in the majority. Racial slurs remind us of that realationship. It is a lot more troubling to be reminded that you are on the bottom as opposed to the top.

Oversimplified for your enjoyment.