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The NAACP buries the n-word. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

(The Root) -- The n-word has been getting an awful lot of attention since Paula Deen's fall from grace, and the discussion was compounded by references to Trayvon Martin's use of the word "cracker" in the Zimmerman trial.

Jumping at the chance to mediate the discussion, CNN gathered a varied panel, including actor LeVar Burton, musician Wynton Marsalis, activist Tim Wise and political analyst Donna Brazile.

The conversation covered the history of the word, its place in music and how it compares with the word "cracker," if it does at all. Many found the n-word vs. "cracker" debate completely pointless and ridiculous. (Note: I may or may not be one of those people.) But just as many found it engaging, and hopefully the special brought some enlightenment to someone who may have needed it.

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