It classes we were taught never to repeat the word, and everytime a teacher were to read, they would just mumble and say, "N word = bad", and move on. But we would go over this subject time and time again, till the point in which the majority of lessons were covering the opression of races.
It should be taught in schools I suppose, but teaching to an extent in which you don't even want to hear the word "slave" again, unless it is in reference to someone who wasn't African, won't do much good. It is a lose lose situation, and deep down the world is moving on. There are just the given few who decide to hold on with unrelenting conviction and dedication. Why? Who the hell knows, some don't want progress or just want the guilt and special treatment to continually exist.
Just about anywhere you go you can hear these racist terms being spoken as if they were just general profanity, and by those whose races were opressed. Just think, what a kid being taught never to speak the word and consider it disrespect, recieves from such a situation as a group of black guys saying Ni***r whil casually walking down the street?
A joke? I sure consider this crap that. All it does is make me laugh just a little bit harder each time. Learn about it in history huh? That is just one lesson out of thousands that I learned, and making it into such a long one, only left the impression that will keep it near the bottom of my list in order of actual significance and relevance to everyday present life.
Having your black friends telling you and playfully ridiculing you, because you don't say it, doesn't exactly help the cause either.