Since I never intended to use my dubious wit & even more dubious wisdom commenting on what is being treated as a race issue, this is the last I’ll say about it.
I have personally used every word I’ve ever read or heard. I’ve heard whites & blacks say nigger. I’ve seen it in black & white. I’ve heard it in movies & on the radio. AND from the mouths of comedians. Somebody said the word, because I heard it. Somebody had to have thought it & written it, because I read it. They said it. They will likely continue to do so, those are all paying gigs. Hmmm just like Imus, they are performers. If an actor, possibly not a black one, is willing to say the word for a role, does that mean they are doing it for money? a whore? a ho! Are they comfortable enough because they are good actors? actually think that way? or good hos?
A very good TV show, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS centers around a small town Texas high school football team. A recent program arc focused on an assistant coach who told media something to the effect, that on the field, blacks have the moves, whites have the minds. It became divisive. They resolved it partially. Like real life, some compromise, nobody forgets etc. etc. My point? How many people will see the white actor who portrayed the coach ( not a high profile face ), in real life, and think: it’s the racist coach! This kind of associative response happens all the time and not all viewers can separate a role from reality.
A few thousand years, somebody, possibly with a Latin vocabulary, saw a dark skinned human & used the word negro, which means black, to describe the other human. Had I been that person, today the word would be either marrone ( brown ) or scuro ( dark ). Without attempting a history of racial epithets, both those words are in play, just uncommon. I bet if I looked an dark skinned Human in the eye during a disagreement and said either in a less than pleasant tone, regardless of the limits of their Italian, they’d be unhappy. The same could be said for using any word in that way.
Maybe, what we are talking about really is tone. Not of skin, but of voice. However, reading intent into an individual’s words, is shakey ground. Now many are coming out of their holes to condemn Don Imus, for a persona he has evinced in the public ear for 4 decades. Not in some self published rag, hidden in a last stronghold of the antebellum South, but in the world’s largest media market, New York City. Being insensitive isn’t grandfathered in. And a trigger is a trigger. So, now his critics feel justified in claiming, based on his ‘ record,’ what he said reveals the real Don Imus. OK—Imus doesn’t need my help. I just can’t stand the hypocrites attacking him.
I was co-opted early in life. I learned what power big fish have over lesser mortals, regardless of the pond size. That’s my problem. I’m even a Johnny Come Lately to weblogging. I had to wait until the technology was simple enough for my 1997 connection speed. I’ll be gone soon enough. There’s very little here to commend me, but it’s taking my mind off other things. For now.
I never judged a person on race or religion after the age of 7 [ the nominal age of reason ]. I sadly starting judging people on their actions based on experience. I know words hurt. AND while I’m not a whole race of people, I have felt the impact of prejudice & bias. As a younger musician I have been anxious in an all black venue & all white. I was there for the green, that’s why I was nervous, because I wasn’t very good. I do know no black person ever insulted my performance. Or threw rocks at me at an outdoor gig. The former was white, the latter white AND so called friends. . .. Honestly, I wasn’t that bad! I guess they were though.
I have had personal belongings stolen by whites & blacks. It was white kids who stole my car. Hey! it helped me get out of jury duty. Always a silver lining in a
dark er, um cloud. This shit wears me out. Maybe we could try to think human race first huh? I’m losing my sense of humor. I’m afraid of attempting to be funny now. Not because I’m sensitive, but because I use black humor*. AND gee golly, I don’t want to lose this high paying gig.