Hi, Martin. Yes, that was among the things that McWhorter said in the NYT article that I linked to in #7 above: that he personally doesn't feel the need to avoid writing the word 'nigger' when it itself is the topic of linguistic discussion. It may even be the same article that also appears on his own website, or part of a series about that range of topics.
I don't think we want to go over all of this again, though it's interesting at least to me to consider how language and culture may have changed just in the past 10 or 15 years. Many of us still remember the previous discussions on the topic, which were long and sometimes heated. (But anyone who doesn't remember them should probably do some reading in the archive.) The most important contributions were from a few LEO users who themselves were black or of mixed origin and who had personally experienced 'Neger' as an active insult while living in central Europe. (There weren't many of them and I'm not sure any are still active in the forum.) Many other users who had not had that personal experience were surprised to learn that the older German usages could come across as more hurtful and more tone-deaf than they had previously realized, even though that was not their intent.
Both in German and in English, it's been partly a generational difference, but also partly that many people have simply become more conscious of efforts to make language generally more inclusive, more welcoming to people not in the majority. Sometimes, as Mausling says, when you know that the conversation may include one or more real persons with a particular sensitivity or point of view, you're more willing to adapt your own usage. That's easier when you're in the same room, but it's possible to some extent when we're all in the same forum.
I don't think we can solve the usage issues in this discussion, but I do think we could agree that the existing LEO entries are a mishmash that in some cases is very misleading and badly needs updating.
For one thing, is there any such marking available as [hist.] for terms like moor (evidently missing from LEO in this sense) and blackamoor? Those English terms are centuries old, so now found only in poetry and literature. The most familiar context for English learners might be Shakespeare's descriptions of Othello.
Basically, I would now add negro and colored (also missing from LEO in this sense!) to that historical category, though they were from a more recent period in history and were still in use within living memory, up through the mid-20th century. Both those words began to be seen as old-fashioned in the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of the civil rights movement. They were soon replaced by black and later African-American, and have both really been completely out of use for at least 30 or 40 years. (Except in South Africa, where 'colored' IIRC meant Indian, Asian, mixed origin, etc. and was still in use longer, until apartheid ended.)
Finally, the 'offensive' markings are mixed up, and there doesn't seem to be complete consistency between those descriptions in italics and the [pej.] marking from the pull-down menu. And shouldn't the descriptive notes in italics be in German on the English side and vice versa?
In any case, the English word nigger should also be marked 'extremely offensive,' but the word negro, which is not capitalized, is much milder, i.e., not extremely offensive, just a once standard term that is now just completely out of use. That is, I would say negro is obsolete / veraltet, though Neger might still be obsolescent / veraltend.
I will leave the details on the German terms to the German speakers. While they don't correspond 1:1 to the periods in history in which the English words were used, or to the exact degrees of offensiveness, I think we could still come up with some improvements to the entries as they stand.
In particular, what about the German entries for 'der Nigger' vs. 'der Neger'? When I said 'the real N-word,' I actually was thinking of the former, in either language, though I would guess that the German double-G word might be much less common, perhaps even used only in translations of 19th-century writing like Kipling, Twain, and Conrad.
There is no doubt still some variation in usage and opinion among German speakers with regard to Neger and Mohr and so on. But surely Jalapeño, as one of the younger longtime participants in the forum, is right to call our attention to just how much German usage has changed in recent years, and is still changing, thanks to more social awareness of issues of inclusive language, especially but not only among younger German speakers.
It seems to me that, while each of us can decide what to use for ourselves for a particular audience, it would be better if LEO could reflect up-to-date usage among the young age group that is primarily learning a foreign language, and also show students clearly which terms are mainly historical as opposed to still in use.
It might also be useful to add JayVienna's suggestion about Wort, das mit X beginnt, if others agree that X-Wort can easily sound like an anglicism. Though that too may be partly a generational difference, and not easy to incorporate into dictionary entries.