And on the flip side of the issue, I've seen college age kids disciplined for saying the word while singing a rap song where the word was part of the lyrics. That's a bridge too far IMO but these are landmines our kids have to deal with since I don't listen to rap.
When I was about 7, my family was sitting at the dinner table one Sunday and my older brother, who was about 9, used the n word not even knowing what it meant. Without hesitation, my father simply smacked my brother across the mouth with the back of his hand and said "don't ever use that word again!" I had no idea what the word meant either so I was shocked by my dad's reaction. I had no idea what my brother had done, and neither did my brother. So it became a word I would never use. Still I always wondered why that word was so bad but calling someone an a-hole, or s-head was so much more acceptable. At the end of the day, I think it is about control or a fight for some level of it.
Around that same time a kid up the block from where I lived was teasing me and calling me names including dago and wop. I had no idea what those meant either so I had no reaction to them. But when I went home I asked my mother what they meant and her reaction was very different. She said, "sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never harm you." Her advice was well take. I don't care what others have to say about me.
What I am trying to say is words mean nothing unless we give them power. I am not suggesting we should use the n word liberally. I just think the outrage and claims of offense is less about feelings and more about control. We all need to develop a thicker skin. That means be proud of who you are as an individual. It is armor against name-calling.