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This Happened: CNN Panel Debates ‘N-Word vs. Cracker: Which Is Worse?’

With the frenzy surrounding the George Zimmerman trial continually growing, CNN last night hosted a panel discussion on the use of the derogatory “n-word” versus “cracker,” asking “Which is worse?” in light of star witness Rachel Jeantel‘s claim that the late Trayvon Martin said he was being followed by a “crazy-ass cracker” the night of his own murder.

Don Lemon, who has taken up the mantle of exploring the “n-word” and its ramifications on CNN this past week, played moderator to the debate featuring Marc Lamont Hill, actor LeVar Burton, musician Wynton Marsalis, activist Tim Wise, editor Michael Skolnik, and filmmaker Rochelle Oliver.

Despite the segment’s open-ended question headline, the panelists all seemed to agree that the “n-word” is far worse than “cracker,” given the fact that “black and white are not the same,” and one has a deep history rooted in oppression whereas the other derogatory phrase references white people’s position of power.

Although the segment aimed in earnest for a serious discussion on the two phrases, Twitter comments indicate the the premise left many wondering: What more was needed to be said when the segment’s own title clearly spells out one word while purposely avoiding spelling out the other? Or as Brooklyn-based rapper El-P tweeted in anger:

Watch the segment below, via CNN:

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