Monday, November 20, 2006

The Most Dangerous Word.

Michael Richards fucked up.

Is he a racist?
I don't think so, but now he's guilty until the social conscience sees fit to forgive him.

The root of the problem is that he's a white guy standing on a stage shouting "Nigger". Nobody is ever going to say that that is a good thing, but the fact is it's a word. And in this day and age, it's a common word.

I think it's unfair how black people can throw that word around like it's just any ol' thing, but scream and shout when a white guy does it. I know that each race has slurs for it's own, but it seems like the N-word is used more than any other, especially by blacks in almost any type of entertainment; comedy, movies, music, you name it. (With all of these negative connotations surrounding one word, why is it used so frequently by people who are so offended by it?)

The word has entered the common vernacular.
It's almost lost all sense of it's root meaning.
It's tossed around so glibly that it's only a shock when it's used from one race to another.
If you don't like the word, don't use it. Don't make it acceptable for anyone to use it. But making it's use acceptable to only a few and not for all is what causes shit like this.

I'm not defending Michael Richards.
I saw the video - the guy fucking lost it.
A professional comedian should be able to take a bit of heckling.
If he would have lashed out and said he was going to kill them, nobody would have cared.
But he used that word.
So now he's fucked.

As for my own usage of the word?
I'll admit, I've said it.
When quoting Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.
Do I use it in my everyday life?

There's no way to solve this issue, and I'll admit I've re-read this post two or three times just to make sure I'm not coming off as a Neo-Nazi Hate Monger ™, but I just had to get this off my chest.

In the article I quoted, Comedian Paul Rodriguez said "Freedom of speech has limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations." So he's free to say anything he wants - almost.

That doesn't seem very free to me.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:05 am

    Chicano used to be a racist label, used to insult USAmerican children of Latino parents. Now it's a positive cultural identity. The difference? Careful use of the word has evolved it.

    With such obvious african roots, where 'Niger' is merely a region, a delta, a basin, a river and part of a country's name, it's puzzling how such a potentially innocuous name and potentially positive cultural identity has remained on the couch playing video games while 'chicano' grew up.

    IMHO, the various and terrible labels in common misuse today are all based on a deep-rooted envy which one person may feel toward another, merely by virtue of the handouts a person receives through genetic similarity to the victims of the past. It's a lottery everyone wins, but which most people can't enter.

    I try very hard not to judge, but I feel it with every year: the more I'm made to feel guilty, the more I'm made to pay for something I never did, the more apt I am to actually hate the representative of that false accusation.