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Friday, July 18, 2008

Ok I Didn't Plan To.....But Let's Weigh In On Hasselbeck vs. Whoopi on the N-Word!

I initially had very little interest in rehashing this latest View dustup but after witnessing how it is being disseminated on the net and in the media, I changed my mind. If you haven’t heard by now, we have yet another emotional episode from the women of The View pertaining to the use of the vaunted N-Word. More specifically, this stems from the disclosure that Rev. Jackson used the epithet during a hot mike moment while being interviewed by Fox News. For specifics, check out this article from Fox.com:

During a segment covering Jesse Jackson's recent use of the n-word while preparing to tape an interview on FOX News, Whoopi and co-host Sherri Shepard, who are both black, contested that the word has a different meaning for black people.
"It's something that means something way different to me than it does to you," said Shepard. "I can use it as a term of endearment."
Shepard also said to co-host Barbara Walters: "I don't want to hear it come out of your mouth."
Hasselbeck contested that "We [blacks and whites] don't live in different worlds, we live in the same world."
Goldberg, who used the n-word repeatedly during the broadcast (it was bleeped out), said that "We don't live in the same world. What I need you to understand is the frustration that goes along with when you say we live in the same world. It isn't balanced."
Hasslebeck tearfully replied that "when we live in a world where pop culture then uses that term, and we're trying to get to a place where we feel like we're in the same place, where we feel like we're in the same world ... how are we supposed to then move forward if we keep using terms that bring back that pain?"

In all fairness to Goldberg, recent polls do indicate that the races live in different political and social spheres-especially when it comes to Senator Obama's historic presidential bid. But I also take umbrage with Whoopi and other persons of color that consistently defer to Black life fifty years ago in an attempt to make a point relative to the present. In many respects, African-Americans live in a different world than their forebearers, so on occasion that fact should be acknowledged by folks of color during these type of discussions. But in fleshing out this n-bomb controversy further, several questions arise. Why exactly do Whites want to say nigger (nigga-or whatever derivative)? Why do many people of color spout this expletive as if we need to be inoculated for Tourette's Syndrome? And do we bear some responsibility for exalting the n-word to high art (or perhaps low brow art) for public consumption in rap songs? The reality is that while in the 60s our parents and/or grandparents had to contend with German shepherds being sicked on them courtesy of Bull Connor, now one has to be on the look out for your gangbanging neighbor's pit bull (real talk...hack..excuse the phlegm). But some of us do live in different worlds based on our own volution. It's a difficult call. What do our readers think on this topic and whose side are you on?

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