Neither word is intrinsically offensive. People can use them without expressing anything unkind. People can express unkindness without those words. It is time for EVERYONE to grow up and move on from the concern about people's diction and opinions. Get a life. Get a grip. Accept that you are only in charge of what comes out of your own mouth.
Offense is taken, not given, by its nature. I know people who find the word 'faggot' just as offensive, as it applies directly to them and was used to horribly belittle them, dehumanize them.
So I guess the only real answer is maybe. It depends on who it is said to. Both words, under the right circumstances, are used as terms of endearment. In those instances they are not meant to be offensive at all. You may take offense, but that is on you. I prefer to look at the intent of the 'perpetrator'.
Homosexuals and blacks both have a history of oppression, mistreatment, prejudice, and ridicule, and still do. Insults are insults, and are just as bad, but just with different meanings.
From time to time, I will jokingly use the words around friends who are okay with it, but I never mean to use them in a venomous, hurtful way.
Even though the term f-ggot isn't a racial slur, like the n-word, I still think it can be just as offensive. To a homosexual, it is a way of life to them, and the way they chose to live their life. Calling them a -fggot, is more or less a direct insult to that.
Calling someone a fagg_t is harsh and angry that's true. I don't think we should go around calling people that word. But the word Nig_er has a much longer and uglier history to it. No one ever told him or her that he or she was his or her property and made he or she do labor while calling them the word fagg_t.
As the others said, the n-word does have a terrible history behind it. I don't think that if you are white that you have the right to say f***** is just as offensive. It isn't your place to decide that. It just isn't. I honestly do understand how f***** is a terrible slur, but it shouldn't be compared to racial matters.
The n- word has a history of the slavery and abuse suffered by the african-american people. Calling someone by this term demotes them to all the way back to that time, despite the number of steps black people have taken forward. The f- word is offensive, don't get me wrong, but it lacks the deep history.
The n word has a harsher meaning it means that the person is worse than nothing and it has a uglier definition and meaning than that word. The other word is a put down and an insult used derogatorily. However both of these words are harsh and should not be used toward anyone.
Words themselves are not angry, or hurtful. No matter the word, it can be said in a hurtful, neutral, or positive way, based on the infliction given by the speaker. The n-word has been used by the inercity community in a very positive manner, and I think that fag could easily turn into that.