There seems to be an uproar (in the media) about a white comedian who used a string of offensive racial epithets in his comedy routine; but apparently crossed that fine line between funny and offensive. I am not making excuses for him but as a class clown I do know that when you are trying to make people laugh you can try too hard and work too fast and say things that are really offensive; with good in intention but offensive none the less.
Anyway I thought I would use this media moment to share my observations about the notorious “n” word: nigger. I live in New York City; Brooklyn to be specific. I am rather used to hearing words that would grow hair on the tongues of some people. I have to say that over the past twenty years I have heard the word nigger more times than you can imagine. I hear it used in conversation all over this city and it is used without a flinch from anyone except me. “Nigger” is one of those words that actually makes me very uncomfortable. It is part of the vernacular of our city.
The real problem is that the “n” word that I hear so often is used overwhelmingly by black people. It is used often, loudly, in public, when you are a captive audience (like on a bus or a subway car) and without any regard for how makes people within hearing range feel. I can count on one hand the number of white people that I have heard using the term “nigger” over the past few years but I can take you out to any school yard, subway car or any location where black teens gather and we won’t have to count to ten before you hear the term “nigger.” But you will have to count to ten, as matter of fact way past ten, if you try to keep count of how many times the word is used. I can also take you to my home and flip on some ethnic standup comedy cable special and guess whatâ€¦â€nâ€ words galore! I can also show you video clips of almost any hip-hop wannabe celebrity like Jennifer Lopez referring to their close friends as their “niggas.” I hate it. I am sick of it. And quite frankly as long as I hear this offensive term flung around in public, out loud, very out lout, along with every other offensive word as defined by the Christian purists and the FCC and pointed out by George Carlin in his comedy bit about the seven dirty words you can never say on TV, I don’t want to hear any complaints about the words use by non-blacks; especially when the real intention was to make people laugh. I am sorry but speaking as someone who has tried very hard to be a respectful person even while being a “social comedian.” I have issues with hypocrisy, even when it comes to asking for respect. Think about it!