I think that we need to teach our children that words are powerful and can hurt and to think about what they say. I didn't use that word with my children, but in and of itself, it is not a bad word. It is the context of how it is used that is bad.
My girls are 18 and 15 now, so from that perspective... I have monitored what they watched over the years (and still do, actually - no R movies, although I'm fairly sure my 18 yo sneaks to them sometimes). However, there are times when I thought a movie was okay, but would have something. I used those opportunities to open a discussion.
Example, if SpongeBob called Patrick stupid, I would turn to my daughters and say, "Do you think what he just said was nice? Would that hurt your feelings if someone called you stupid?" I would let them talk and would tell them my opinion on it and they learned from this.
I think it worked, because just the other day a horrible list was released in our town of some local high school girls. It was a cruel list calling them a bad name and was meant to hurt and embarrass them. Both of my girls were outraged, because they knew the girls on that list would be hurt. They were able to put themselves in the other person's shoes and I feel it is because of all those years of saying to them, "How would that make you feel if you were that person?"
That's just my two cents on the topic. You can't stop people from making horrible cartoons or television shows, but you can control what is shown on your home TV and what you tell your children about it. They will still see things - at a friend's house, sometimes at school, etc. But they will also know that you don't approve and that does hold a lot of weight.