Let’s take a poll. I don’t care if you are reading this and you are white, black, green, red, or invisible… I just want you to answer these next few questions honestly.
There is a white woman you know who is 60+ years of age and was born and raised in the deep South. Do you think she may have ever used the word “n**ger?”
If you’re answer was anything else but of course, then you need to have your brain examined. This “revelation” is about as shocking as finding out that the government has been illegally monitoring American communications for years. That’s right. Not shocking at all.
Is it right to use that word? Well, it depends on who you ask. If you are a black rap artist, for example, you may use the word on a daily basis. You may even be critically and publicly acclaimed for it. That is an argument that many white people make when situations like this arise. We don’t subscribe to that argument at Common Sense Conspiracy. Why it may seem to be hypocritical, the reality is that black people use the term in a different way than their white counterparts? There are plenty of African Americans who frown on other blacks using the word, but still, they are not truly offended by it. They understand that when black people use the term, it is not in the same derogatory way that it is when others use it. Now, is it perfectly possible for a white person to use the word “n**ger” and not have any real meaning behind it? Sure, it is. But they still have to pay attention to the connotation. We do have freedom of speech in this country, and it is perfectly legal for any white person to use the N-word as much as they like. But freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. It is probably a wise course of action not to go that route.
So, what’s the point here? Well, Paula using that word was wrong. It was wrong in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, and it will still be wrong in 2015. But she also used the term in a time period when, whether we like it or not, it was much more common, and much more tolerated. If you took a poll of white people in general from that time period, there would likely be a near 100% result that they had referred to a black person as a “n**ger” at some point in their life. 100%! But if we ran a similar poll for black Americans to see if they had ever referred to a white person with any of the societally less-damning but still racially-motivated terms for white people, wouldn’t you imagine that the percentage would still be near 100%?
Paula Deen got a bum deal on this one. She told the truth about something, a truth that is probably true for most Americans, relative to their side of the racial fence. In return, she has been lambasted by the media and lost her lucrative Food Network contract. Is there a statute of limitations on using offensive words? You can rape someone and there’s a certain time period after which the law says that it’s just been too damn long to hold you accountable for that. You can steal something, and as long as you get past a certain amount of years, you are free and no one will hold it against you. But say the word “n**ger” in the racist 1960 South? That’s on par with murder…no statute of limitations.
Did you know that Lyndon Johnson, an American President in the same time period, famously used the N-word repeatedly? Instead of outrage, he won over legions of Democratic supporters. Paula Deen is such a racist that she publicly endorsed President Barack Obama in the last election, despite being from an overwhelmingly Republican state.
Have you ever thought for a second that if maybe the mainstream media was as “shocked and outraged” by the revelations we had about the government outright breaking our nation’s laws in its spying on American citizens last week, maybe then we would be closer to actually making progress? The United States of America should be changed to The United States of the Offended. It seems that everyone has a reason to be discriminated against, and yet we overlook the fact that all of us American citizens are being discriminated against wholesale by our government.
But it’s not like the government called us n**gers or anything, right?