To Kill a Mockingbird

what does Atticus say to scout when he wants her to stop using the 'n' word

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus says something to scout when she comes home and asks 'do you defend n*gg*s'

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The "N" word was a common term for black people. It was an accepted term used by the white community. Still it was offensive. Atticus was a progressive man and knew the common status quo was offensive, he wanted more from his children.

"Scout," said Atticus, "nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything—like snot-nose. It's hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody."

"You aren't really a nigger-lover, then, are you?"

"I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I'm hard put, sometimes—baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you."