Clint Smith explains in “What a Racist Slur Does to the Body“.
“As we were walking through the stanchions ushering us past the terminal’s gate, the white woman turned to the Black woman, red with anger, and called her the N-word.”
“. . . it is not that I was unfamiliar with hearing that word out loud; it is that it had been many years since I had heard it used in public, by a white person, in a way that was laced with such unvarnished venom and disgust. It was as if my skin was struck by a match and fire spread through my entire body. My heart’s once metronomic tempo accelerated into a gallop, my blood pumping as if it was trying to tell me to run away. Cortisol was coursing through me.”