N-word of endearment

July 18, 2008

I once remarked to a friend that somebody must be watching Steven Seagal movies; otherwiswe, they  wouldn’t keep making the damn things. I feel the same way about “The View,” although the demograpics of its audience would probably scare me to death.

“View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was in tears Thursday after a discussion about the use of the n-word, in which fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg told her the two “don’t live in the same world.”

During a segment covering Jesse Jackson’s recent use of the n-word while preparing to tape an interview on FOX News, Whoopi and co-host Sherri Shepard, who are both black, contested that the word has a different meaning for black people.

“It’s something that means something way different to me than it does to you,” said Shepard. “I can use it as a term of endearment.”

Shepard also said to co-host Barbara Walters: “I don’t want to hear it come out of your mouth.”

[. . .]

Goldberg, who used the n-word repeatedly during the broadcast (it was bleeped out), said that “We don’t live in the same world. What I need you to understand is the frustration that goes along with when you say we live in the same world. It isn’t balanced.”

Goldberg and Hasselbeck can fight over what worlds they’re in all they want to, as long as they stay off my planet. (Here’s video if you can stand it.) The dual use of racial and ehtnic epithets has long been the subject of debate. I’ve gone back and forth on the issue, but I find this persuasive:

Still, despite the best intentions, critics argue that using the N-word, particularly in entertainment, does more harm than good and gives others — whites and minorities alike — the impression that it’s no longer offensive in every context.

And don’t call me hillbilly, unless you’re going to buy me dinner first.

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9 Responses to “N-word of endearment”

  1. gadfly Says:

    So the infamous word, which in mixed company begins with an “n”, has a double “g” in the middle and ends in “r” is supposed to racist only when spoken by white folks. Now I judge that those who reason that way are most likely racist …and it certainly ain’t us honkies who are drawing the line in the sand.

    Now we need to figure what is wrong with the word “Negro” which has never had racist connotations. The sad part is that dictionaries no longer define the word as simply a race of people, most of which have distinct features and dark skin except, of course, for Bill Clinton.

  2. Harl Delos Says:

    The rest of us know what’s wrong with the word “Negro”, gadfly. It wasn’t used as a term of derision, but it reflects a point of view that has no basis in fact.

    Human races is the equivalent of breeds in dogs – but there are no purebred reds, whites, blacks, browns, or yellows. We’re all mutts.

    There’s no test to determine what race someone belongs to, because there are no distinct differences. The average Spaniard, who is nominally caucasian, is darker than the average high-yellow, who is nominally negro. Eskimos, who are nominally red, are typically lighter than either; Apaches, who are nominally red, are typically darker than either.

    Still, despite the best intentions, critics argue that using the N-word, particularly in entertainment, does more harm than good and gives others — whites and minorities alike — the impression that it’s no longer offensive in every context.

    Tiki Barber disagreed with that, this morning on MSNBC. Mika suggested that the N-bomb is not useful in any context, and Tiki spoke up, saying that many blacks find it useful.

    Even if the word is used with disrespect, the word doesn’t really say much about the person it is hurled at. It says that the person displays genetic characteristics, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, and that the person hurling the insult is a bigot, which is something to be ashamed of.

    It’s a shame that John Rock didn’t claim “N-word is beautiful” at the same time that he claimed “Black is beautiful”. It’d have been nice to rob bigots of the ability to cause pain by use of this most-reviled word.

  3. gadfly Says:

    Harl …

    We are what we are. Mean-spirited people call fat people derisive names, ugly people ugly names and a fat and ugly person like me always gets extra attention. The world is full or ignorant bullies and we have to learn to coexist with them.

    Minorities are just individuals like you and I. It is time to end the group grope and get on with making our own way though the time we have left on this good earth. There remains today no organized majority standing in the way of minority interests.

    We have the revolutionists like Bill Ayres who continue to stomp our flag while misguiding our students. We have the twisted minds of radical Muslim clerics and the Rev. Jeramiah Wright preaching hate in the name of God.

    Whoppi Goldberg and her ilk wouldn’t know a real threat if it hit them in the face. I don’t watch “The View” or someone called Mika on PMSNBC and I don’t much care what a has-been football player thinks about the n-word. There truly is only so much liberalism a man can endure each day.

    I now need to remind you (and myself) that bigotry is a two-way street and those who choose to identify bigots may be bigots themselves. I do miss the old days when my Polish uncle and I swapped Polish jokes. Some things were better then.

  4. Harl Delos Says:

    There remains today no organized majority standing in the way of minority interests.

    Do you assert that the folks behind the “defense of marriage act” are disorganized, or do you assert that they are a minority?

    Are the folks trying to make abortion difficult or impossible to obtain disorganized, or are they a minority?

    Are the folks trying to prevent the recreational use of drugs – drugs other than ethanol, that is – disorganized, or are they a minority?

    Are the folks blocking immigration reform disorganized or are they a minority?

    I don’t watch “The View” or someone called Mika on PMSNBC…. and I don’t much care what a has-been football player thinks about the n-word. There truly is only so much liberalism a man can endure each day.

    Are you inventing that Polish uncle, or are you simply ignorant of what happened in Poland during his lifetime?

    Mika Brzezinski Hoffer’s grandfather was Tadeusz Brzeziński, not a liberal. He represented Poland to the Germans from 1931-1935, during the rise of the Nazis, and to the Soviet Union from 1936-1938, during Stalin’s Great Purge. Brzeziński was consul general of Poland from 1938 until 1945.

    And Mika’s brother works for McCain’s campaign today.

    You seem to have no concept of what liberalism is.

    The heart of conservative belief is respect for what others have accomplished. Obviously that doesn’t describe you. Conservatives treat others with respect until they prove themselves unworthy.

    The basis of liberalism, though, is disrespect, and promoting radical change (such as replacing the entire electrical generation system of this country within ten years with technology that hasn’t even been proven in demonstration.)

    When others accomplish outstanding achievements, such as being the first player in NFL history to have 1800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in one season, you call him a has-been; as a liberal, though, you think your status as a never-was entitles you to an opinion superior to that of a smart man who has achieved success through many years of working hard and working smart.

    Like most other liberals, when others successfully compete for work while living in foreign countries, you complain bitterly about outsourcing of jobs you feel entitled to. Like most other liberals, when they successfully compete for work while living in the US, you complains bitterly about illegal immigrants taking jobs you feel entitled to.

    Conservatives think success usually comes from working hard and working smart. Liberals believe in entitlement.

  5. tim zank Says:

    After having read all that, all I can say is wow. I’m freakin’ tired…..enlightened? no, just really tired….

    Say goodnight Harl

    “Goodnight Harl”

  6. Bob G. Says:

    I go by a simple rule:
    There are LOTS of great folks of different tonalities (that would be color of skin), and I’v been fortnate enough to KNOW THEM very well.

    BUT…there ARE people (not JUST blacks) that downright DESERVE (actually ask) to be called N****Rs.

    And people, if you never lived near them, count yourselves lucky. But watch for when YOUR neighborhood goes downhill…you’ll see ’em.
    AM I a racist?
    Maybe in SOME liberal eyes.
    Then again, no mone EVER says anything about BLACK RACISM or BLACK RACISTS in our cities.
    …too hot a topic I suppose.
    But truth IS truth.

    And I know EXACTLY what YOU MEAN, Tim!

    B.G.
    (not afraid to call a spade…a spade)

  7. Harl Delos Says:

    BUT…there ARE people (not JUST blacks) that downright DESERVE (actually ask) to be called N****Rs.

    If you feel that way, I certainly hope you say the word loud and often, so people recognize you for your moral courage.

  8. Bob G. Says:

    At least I HAVE courage and not some liberal-ass, politically-correct rhetoric that keeps my mouth shut, and my mind swayed by whatever way the wind blows.

    Thanks for your “concern”.
    My morality is doing quite well.

    B.G.

  9. Larry Morris Says:

    Gee, Tim, … Harl isn’t getting to you, is he ??


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