A Texas mayor has proposed a city ordinance that would make using the racially derogatory N-word a crime equal to disturbing the peace and punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Mayor Ken Corley of Brazoria, Texas wants his city to take a leadership role for the nation and ban the use of the word. With overwhelming support from Brazoria, the term would only be fined if a complaint was filed against the person using it, which protects those who use the word as a term of endearment.

Jabari Asim, a deputy editor at the Washington Post and author of the upcoming book "The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't and Why" says that banning the word is "practically anti-American to say that we're going to allow the government and Uncle Sam determine how we speak to one another ... It's best to lead by example than by legislation." READ MORE

Is the government stifling our right to free speech, or is this a positive step toward creating healthier racial relations? E-mail us and jump into the discussion!

Here's what FOX Fans are saying:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones — but names will never hurt me! It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” — Roy

“It's clearly governmental intervening. Do they really want to fine African-Americans, who use the term frequently and freely? What about rap music that frequently uses that term? Are the listeners within city limits then fined? ” — Mike Q.

“What's with this? First we ban "words" then we ban books? Then what? There are many "ugly" words being used in America. Some think the word "Mayor" is an ugly word. Maybe we should ban the use of that word too! This is a bunch of silliness, and shame on Mayor Corley for wasting tax payers dollars even suggesting such a law.” — Linda (Tennessee)

“All too often, we see small town "wanna be" politicians trying to make a name for themselves and get a little press time (see Mike Nifong). This proposed law is not only a violation of the United States Constitution, but a complete waist of tax payers dollars. Looks like Michael Richards won't be performing at any charity benefits in Brazonia, Texas! ” — Scott (San Ramon, CA )

“And if we can get rid of free speech because someone might be offended by what someone else says, then what about taxes? Having to pay an absurd amount of taxes to support politicians who spend money faster than taxpayers can make it certainly offends me!” — Chris (Kansas City, MO)

“I work in a juvenile correctional environment. Never in my life have I heard the so-called 'n-word' used at the level and with frequency as in this environment — and all by black teens directed at themselves and at each other. Somebody is not believe realistic when such a proposal is made. I would suggest that they pass a law instead to fine the weatherman $500 when the weather is cold and snowy. Maybe they ought to fine the coaches $1,000 whenever the home football team loses.” — James

“I think that the Mayor is trying to make a point. Similar to 'sexual harrassment,' if someone gets offended and reports the incident, the the proper person gets reprimanded. What is the big issue? If saying the 'N-Word' is so bad, then why not have the law? I think the reason some are having a problem is if a person of non-color should complain that a person of color said the word … well then, the person of color would have to pay the fine and they don't want that. They would be happy as clams, if the person of non-color would be made to pay. It is discrimination against people of non-color to say 'you can't say that word!'” — Shea

“It will never pass muster the first time it gets appealed. The word is offensive, but is still protected under the Constitution.” — K

“I totally agree that racial slurs and/or the "N" word is inappropriate to say. However, fining a person for saying such a word is unconstitutional and wrong. Period! People in the USA have the right to say what ever they want even if it hurts others. What's next? Women will say 'you can't use the word 'broad'?' What about the word 'chick' or any other derogatory word for a woman? Of course I could on and on and on, but you get my point. I believe the Mayor has a good heart and his want for a better America is commendable, but I really think that's the wrong answer. ” — Linda

“Guess there won't be any public readings of Huckleberry Finn in that town.” — Jeff (Cedar Rapids, IA)

“I think it's ugly to hear or to say. I cannot support the idea of the government telling me how to speak. I would however, support fining kids in school for using the N word or any other word directed at another student or teacher in a disrespectful manner.” — Dixie

“I do not use the N-word. I used to when I was growing up, until I finally realized it was degrading, particularly how it was used. I fully believe it is wrong to use the N-word, however, we cannot pass laws prohibiting its' use. Do do so opens the door for other inappropriate words. Not necessarily profanity, but slang and derogatory words. This is muzzling free speech.” — Trevor

“NO! Absolutly not! What ever happened to free speech!? I'm not condonig the use of this word, but it is a free speech issue. First they say you can't pray in school. Now they say you can't say the 'n' word. What's next? Communism?” — Nathaniel

“I personally never use the word and I know very few people who do. I do know that the south is a completely different world when it comes racial lines. In my opinion if they are going to impose such a law then ALL should be held accountable equally.” — Shaun (New York)

“Eleanor Roosevelt said 'No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.' Words can affect us only if we give them the power to do so. Banning use of the "N" word or any other word will not help in any way. All this will do is cause anger. We have the freedom of speech. If a person chooses to lower themselves to sling insults at another person, that is their right. What we need to do is teach each other that words do not tell us our value. Princess Diana once said, 'Having self esteem doesn't protect you, but it does allow you to entertain self doubt without being devestated.' We need to treat others the way we want to be treated. Unfortunately there are people out there that enjoy causes pain in others, be it use of a word or other harm. Just remember that words do not tell you who you are!” — Angel

“I had no idea that the word could be a term of endearment.” — Patrick (Ellensburg,WA)

“This is total garbage. First, how would they enforce this law? Second, who is to say I heard so and so say the N word to get someone in trouble? Third, what happened to free speech? What happens the next time the mayor or anyone else in the government doesn't like a word? Will the regulate that to? First speech means free speech, people just need to consider how others feel. Treat others as you would want to be treated.” — Haley

“What's next? Are they going to start burning books such as Huckleberry Finn that use the 'N' word? Does this mayor have nothing better to do than to force his point of view on his townspeople? He should be removed from office by his own city council for even making such an asinine proposal.” — Tony

“Aside from the free speech issue, we have enough laws on the books that are sporadically enforced. Is this a law that would only apply to whites? I believe that blacks use the word far more than whites. Enforcing the law against blacks who use the word would only cause members of the black community to scream racism. Targeting only whites is clearly racist and discriminatory. This is clearly a bad idea.” — Steve (Lillian, AL)

“Another case of one race protected and others are not. This is totally anti-American and unconstitutional. Chris Rock says horrible things about white people, but were are they banning his free speech? Orwell put it best in Animal Farm, “Some animals are more equal than others.” Of course, this happened after the animals took over the farm and killed the farmer. He saw what America would become.” — Dale S (Florence, SC)

“What about the A word, B word. C word, D word, E word, F word, G word and so on? It is no longer enough that a person is guilty of ignorant behavior and low moral fiber when uttering such garbage but we now have to fine them as well. Unfortunately, we will never get beyond the R word (racism) if we continually focus on words and the ignoramuses who speak them rather than all that has been done and continues to be doe to ensure equality in America.” — Gregg

“Personally I don't want the government sticking their nose in my life in any way shape or form. I really wish they would concern themselves with something useful and constructive instead of worrying about my vocabulary.” — Buck (Oregon)

“It's just such as this, even the proposal of a ban, that perpetuates racism. Is "freedom of speech" only intended for the liberal media ?” — Everett (Anniston, AL)

“Come on! The 'N' word is a term of endearment? Get real, the heart of the matter is; They want it to be OK for one ethnic background to use it amongst themselves but not other ethnic backgrounds. That is racist in itself. I've never heard the 'N' word used as a term of endearment, even amongst the African-American community.” — Glenn (Washington)

"Ridiculous. Don't we have the right to free speech?" — Lucille

"As long as EVERYONE — including black people — would be fined. It usually does not make sense to legislate morality, but if EVERYONE is included, it might help. I am skeptical that it will work." — Jake (New Mexico)

"As offensive as the 'N' word may be, it is still the right of Americans to utter it. If we ban the 'N' word, what is to prevent an entire litany of words from being added to the list? Banning the 'N' word would be the first step on a very slippery slope. We do not want to take that step." — Dennis

"Excuse me, but doesn't the First Amendment guarantee freedom of speech? I agree that the "n word" is a bad thing and should not be uttered by any race, but we can't start legislating speech. Who knows where it will lead? " — Julie (Indianapolis, IN)

"I think as long as every racial slur is fined, for all races, all is well. However, picking one word is not fine. It will create an inequality and breed resentment and end up causing a larger problem than using the 'N'word.." — Michael

"Stupidest thing I've ever heard of. I'd just go around saying the 'F' word all around town, if they banned the "N" word. That way I could avoid the fine." — Mark (Red Wing, MN)

"I think we should just abolish the First Amendment and be done with it." — Carl

"Outlawing use of the 'N' word would be oppressive — what happened to free speech? Legislating politically correct language resembles Taliban-like moral police. I thought Texas was part of the U.S." — Tropi

"I think it is stupid. Picky picky! What's next ... every time anyone uses ANY slang or swear word, are we all going to jail or have to pay money? Everyone is accountable for their own sins and indiscretions and has to answer to themselves and to God! The government of NO State should be able to have this kind of power! Big brother personified!" — B. Winchester (New York)

"There are a lot of offensive (four letter) words out there, why not ban them all? What ever happened to FREEDOM OF SPEECH? That's what they claim when some liberal nut wants to burn a flag." — Keith

"This isn't rocket science. If the African-American community wishes to halt the spread of this word, it has to start in their own communities. Sure, kids hear it on rap-songs and in movies, but that doesn't make it impossible to stop. The reason it may seem to be a daunting task, is that many parents won't actually exercise their responsibility to stop their kids from using this word. Using the N-word is acceptable in homes and among friends, and as a result, the word makes its way — undeterred — into the education system. A chain reaction begins. A chain reaction that could be prevented, from the beginning, if parents would only do their jobs. Is that so difficult?" — Andrew (Dallas, TX)

"Well, I don't use that word. It is disgusting and has no use at all. That said, if I did use that word I would spend time in jail for it at tax payers expense. A big expense that would be." — Phyllis (Illinois)

"This is getting out of hand. No more government interventions. Besides, the freedom of speech issue would end up cost us MUCH in stupid court battles. And the mayor would end up losing anyway." — Andrew

"Why just the N-Word? We should ban all racially derogatory words like Red Neck, Kike, Wap, Wasp and etc. Heck, let's just outlaw all derogatory speech. Then no one can disturb the peace." — Vester

"I am an Irish descendant and have been called everything from "Mick" to a Teddy Kennedy type. Frankly, I had much rather be called the N-Word than be called a Ted Kennedy look-a-like. The bottom line is, I honestly cannot see why anyone gets upset because he came from any ethic group and is labeled by a slang name. It is just another sign that we have become a nation of whiners and complainers instead of getting off our duff and making our selves and our family proud of our existence." — Jack (Graham, NC)

"Oh please! Will people ever learn? People should know better than to use the word by now. But what about using God's name in vain and what about the F-Word? Is it ok to use these words but not the N-Word. Ridiculous!" — Dennis

"Its a two way street which the media tends to forget and sweep under the carpet. Racial slurs, attacks, discrimination hits Caucasians and other races on a daily basis but there is no outcry. It appears that it has become a non issue." — Steve (Ithaca, NY)

"I call myself that name and my brothers and sisters as well. Big brother is already much too big." — George

"I think that the majority of the time that the "N word" is used, it is used by people of that ethnicity. What the proposed legislation says is that when used in that manner, it's ok but when used by people of other ethnicities, it's some sort of horrible crime. Can't have it both ways." — Frank

"I agree that the use of the word is disrespectful and generally shows ignorance but, aren't the mayor's jails going to be full of "black persons" since that is one of their favorite words to call each other? And since when do liberals have the right to infringe on "our" (conservatives) right to try to legislate morality." — JoAnn