Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Most Reviled Word in America

The furor over Michael Richards’ angry tirade is an interesting phenomenon, as it points up what is an odd situation. Let’s stipulate right up front that even though Richards had some provocation for his behavior, it was way out of line and not defensible, but having said that, let’s look a little more closely at what happened. Just in case you aren’t aware of this situation, while performing in a comedy club Richards’ became irritated at some people in the audience and let loose a string of racially charged comments, including the dreaded, reviled “N” word.

This subject of the “N” word came up in a previous column. The “N” word is an interesting cultural phenomenon. Hardly anything short of murder or rape or Congressmen sending suggestive emails is a more serious transgression than saying, or having said, the “N” word. Such terms should be avoided as a matter of good manners, of course, and since the “N” word has become the subject of such broad and deep public disapproval you risk your life if you say it.

Which is interesting, because you can say pretty much whatever you want to about anybody in the United States. You can be nasty, malicious, small, juvenile, bigoted, or just plain mean. You can call the French “wimpy and weak” if you choose. You can call Christians “Nazis” or Muslims “murderers.” You can call your wife a “witch” (although I would suggest doing so from some distance). You can call the President of the United States a “liar” or a “crook” or anything you please. You can call O. J. Simpson a murderer, even though a jury of his peers didn’t see it that way, and you can call white people “rednecks,” or “white trash.” But you had better not call a black person a (forgive me) “nigger,” because that word carries with it steeper usage penalty than any other in the English language, including the “F” word.

I find it interesting that of all the vile things one person can call another, the “N” word is in a class by itself, and holds first place among all negative words and insults. How and why is this one word so much worse than all others?

So-called “leaders” of the black community see benefits in victim hood and have been very successful at convincing many black Americans to join their crusade. Consequently all black Americans have become immune from even legitimate criticism and are essentially untouchable. I hasten to add here that more than a few black Americans do not subscribe to this.

To borrow from, and slightly modify, part of a post by Texas Fred: “In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights, [but] if we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists, or worse. You are proud to be black … and you're not afraid to announce it, but when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.”

There is a true double-standard; it is political correctness run amok.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

No comments: