Editor of Racialicious.com
If calling an entire group of people the n-word isn't talking down to blacks, I don't know what is.
While the term may be used casually by some members of my community, Jesse Jackson has made his career of challenging racial stereotypes and denouncing those in the public eye who have used the word – including being at the forefront of the protests involving Michael Richards and Don Imus. It is a rather strange twist that "n*****s" rolled off his lips so casually – particularly in a news room setting.
In his book, "The N-Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't and Why," journalist Jabari Asim explores the history of the word and deems it "a metaphor for these various ideas involving citizenship and black inferiority." The NAACP declared when they chose to symbolically bury the word, "The N-Word is the most well known example of racist language by others and self hatred by African Americans." Clearly, there is no excuse for its’ use.
Jackson's comments were beyond the pale and one wonders what would prompt him to make such statements. Perhaps, out of frustration, Jackson forgot his role as a civil rights leader and let his anger loose – language be damned!
Regardless of how Barack Obama chooses to handle the situation, Jackson is going to take a well deserved hit to his reputation and credibility.
Perhaps it is time for Jesse Jackson to take a good long rest outside of the public eye.
Failing that, I'm sure he could join Michael Richards on a comedy tour.
Editor’s Note: See Jason Carroll’s report on Etiquette of the N-word on AC360° tonight at 10pm.
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