I really hope this question doesn't get deleted or flagged, so to make sure it doesn't I will try to keep it as academic as possible.
I am currently an American student studying in Saint Petersburg and several times I have been shocked by the use of the "N-Word," (it's a racist word for Black people in case there is any ambiguity). In my college classes, my professors, when speaking about Black people, will use it in place of the word "black." Needless to say, as an American where if a professor said this word, they would be fired immediately, my heart stops every time I hear it and I just can't seem to understand why it is ok here.
So my question: Is the origin of the word in Russia such that it really isn't as offensive as it is in America? Or is it because Russia is less than 0.01% black that nobody has made a big deal about it? I am genuinely interested to know.