The West View News, (The Voice of the West Village) has published an editorial in response to Eric Cantor's upset at the hands of David Brat. In a rather run-of-the-mill piece about the increasing transparency of racism in right wing politics, the author decided to spice things up by ironically titling his piece, "The Nigger in the White House." Dear god.
Let it be known that the mastermind behind this oh so provocative headline Jim Collier, a white man, is not racist. In fact he is anti-racism, you see? He merely used the n-word to remind us that there is racism in American politics, in case you, have been living in the depths of the Amazon or maybe on the moon (wait, only white men have walked on the moon, nvm) or maybe on Earth 23 or maybe you just forgot. In the piece he writes:
"The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism. A large minority have for some six years have been quietly angry that they must have in the White House a member of an inferior class of people. Until recently, however, they have felt constrained to keep their mouths shut. But America's increasing tolerance of far right opinion has made racism more acceptable, so long as it can be disguised, however thinly, as politics."
As you can see, he's calling out racism. So why was the n-word absolutely necessary? Collier defended the decision to use the racist slur, saying "he wanted to use the word to shock us into accepting that there are people who believe and use this outrageous word."
There is absolutely nothing shocking about the racism the n-word refers to. It's awful, harmful, and unacceptable, but it is by no means shocking in the sense that it's a new problem. It's a well-known fact that people dislike President Obama because he's a black man, and that's a reality that plays out in American political culture constantly.
Just because the n-word is being used ironically does not make it okay. It was a stupid decision and Collier actually undermines his own point by drawing on such a vitriolic slur. No one wins.
The publisher added that while the editorial staff objected, "Jim reminded me that the New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that West View should." Maybe the New York Times avoids the n-word for a good reason.
Right beneath Collier's piece is a response by Alvin Hall succinctly titled "The Headline Offends Me." In the response Hall, a black man, describes his personal dealings with the n-word, and how its use gets no one nowhere:
"Because the racism embedded in the headline doesn't seem to be thought of as a moral flaw as it became during the Civil Rights movement. It seems to have reverted to being an unfortunate personality trait, one among many traits that even good, righteous, patriotic people who care lovingly for their families and take care of their houses can have.
The decision to use the headline feels misguided to me. I don't see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me."
Image via Getty.