It's not just a word.
The n-word has roots dating to a Latin word meaning black and over the years, especially in countries like the United States, it was used as an oppressive and derogatory term and perpetuated stereotypes of black people as being "lazy," "dirty," and "worthless," non-profit African American Registry notes.
These days the word is dropped in top-40 music and used interchangeably to describe terms like "family" and "friends," but it still holds the negative connotation it did many years ago.
In the video above, we speak to four black Canadians on what the n-word means to them.
In the video, they talk about when they first heard the word and how they feel when they see both black and non-black people continue to use it today.
"It's hurtful and it will always be hurtful," participant Billy Hendrickson says.