IT IS NOT for political correctness but for accuracy that the publishers of Merriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary should change its definition of ''nigger.'' No threatened boycott by the NAACP should be necessary to alter the way that particular entry is phrased. It should be very clear in all rTC dictionaries and reference books that the word does not simply mean ''a black person.''
The derogatory nature of the word must not be an aside in its definitions. Derision was its original and remains its most frequent intent -- even among African Americans. Popular culture is rife with images depicting a generation of African Americans who either spew or coo the term, depending on the situation. Black comedians pepper jokes with the word to loosen-up audiences.