Sunday, August 19, 2007

Is The "N-Word" Over?

I'm starting to think so, at least where black activists are concerned.

We've been deluged by emails from "The Strip" listeners and blog readers outraged by the easy use of the ultimate slur of black people (five times) and women (twice) made by longtime Vegas headliner and Comedy Central star The Amazing Johnathan on Aug. 9 on "The Strip.

Since that show aired, Norm Clarke in the Review-Journal did a major item on it on opening day of the National Association of Black Journalists convention here in Vegas. The NABJ was the leading activist group attacking Don Imus earlier this year. But Clarke says he got nary a returned call or email from anyone at the NABJ. Nor did the NAACP or any feminist groups take any public notice. Hear a 3-minute clip of the remarks here.

Is it that Amazing Johnathan's not a big enough star? That would be an odd way to decide what to be offended by -- and give an awful lot of license to an awful lot of people to use the word willy-nilly. Is it that there's no video, a la the Michael Richards thing? That could be, but the odd thing here is that Richards used the words in anger in a momentary loss of control; Johnathan essentially defined what he believes a "n-----" to be in a way that offers real insight into his thought process. Or, perhaps, the NAACP, having "buried" the N-word recently, is over it.

To refresh, Amazing Johnathan defended Richards' use of the n-word by saying: "
Anything you do, if you're heckling a comic and interrupting a show, you're a n---- at that point, you know what I mean, in my eyes. You're not an audience member, you're not a friend, you are the worst possible scenario. You're disrupting my job, so you're a n----. I wouldn't yell that word out and tell them that, I would have handled it a little bit more differently. If I did use that word, it would've been funny. I mean, I've called women in the audience c---s and I've gotten away with it because they were c---s but I did it right. There is a way to do it right."

I guess Amazing Johnathan's right.


Theresa Mays said...

Damn, that makes me mad. Apparently the black people only care when it's on YouTube or when Jesse Jackson can get something out of it, huh?

Mike said...

Did I miss it, or have you not responded to why you bleep out nigger but not honky?

Anonymous said...

DAMN- you peckerwoods in Vegas are racist! Look at these cracker comments! Here's hoping the Vegas fears of a terrorist attack are well grounded. No one deserves to live around assholes like theresa mays and mike.

TheStripPodcast.Com said...

Mike: The word "honky" is derogatory but not obscene. And, as I think another message-writer noted, there is no historic oppression of white people (for being white, that is -- there has been mass oppression of groups of white people who are, for instance, Jewish or Protestant or gay or poor, however) using such a word to justify being overly concerned about its use.

Furthermore, from a practical point of view, you can obscure the n-word and people will still know what the word is. The word "honky" is so rarely used and has never been such a source of attention or pain to so many people that if you bleeped it, nobody would even know what word was used.

The word "honky" and the n-word are not in the same universe. And I'll also say that if someone had used the slur "faggot," I probably would've let it run because we are gay and we'd want people to hear the harshness of it. Since we're not black, we decided we don't have the same right to do so.