July 18, 2008

The uproar about Jesse Jackson saying Obama is “talking down to black people ... telling [n-word] how to behave.”

To jump into the debate a day and a half late, let me feature the presentation on "The View":



A classic Goldberg and Hasselbeck confrontation. Well done by both women, who get very passionate but never go over the edge.

By the way, I think it's pretty clear that Jackson was not himself disparaging black people. It seems obvious that he was angry at Obama for — as he said — talking down to black people. He restated it using the n-word to indicate that it was Obama who was acting as though black people were lowlifes. I don't think Jackson should be pilloried for this.

68 comments:

William said...

I think black people like to use the n word because they can use it with impunity and white people cannot. It is not much of a privelige, but, hey, take what you can get....If the children of MLK cannot figure out an equitable way to divide their father's estate, what makes anyone think that black people will do such a bang-up job of redistributing the wealth of America.

Sofa King said...

I don't think Jackson should be pilloried for this.

I agree. Jackson should be pilloried for being an egocentric, race-baiting shake-down artist instead.

Roger J. said...

The most important question I think is this: Does the fact the BO does not share the American Slavery tradition, make him truly a Black American? What more important question could there be.

PatCA said...

I agree he should not be pilloried for this. I also agree with Elizabeth: if we are one people, we should try to act that way. Either we both can say it, in affection or humor, or neither of us can.

D said...

Can't they get a conservative on that show who doesn't cry when she debates issues? Sheesh, she is such a wuss.

SteveR said...

Great comment D, sheesh!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Telling n______ how to behave is pretty much Jackson's career nowadays, aina?

Wayne said...

I don't think Jackson should be pilloried for this.

I disagree, but not because I think he's disparaging black people. Rather because he singled out black people to notice that Obama was talking down to them, when Obama talks down to everyone.

Of course, I guess he gets a pass when he's talking down to white people, especially those who cling to their guns and religion.

michaele said...

It would be interesting to know if Whoopie's mother couldn't vote beause she was black or because she was a woman. I wonder if Whoopie knows the answer. The sad thing is that Whoopie would probably prefer it was because of being black so she can hold on to her sense of victimhood.

Spread Eagle said...

Can't they get a conservative on that show who doesn't cry when she debates issues? Sheesh, she is such a wuss.

She does pretty good for being outnumbered 4 to 1.

What I wonder is why Quentin Tarantino gets a pass. He must be an honorary member of the club.

Lawgiver said...

I don't think Goldberg's argument/explanation was "well done" at all. Essentially Hasselbeck was asking how can we move forward in race relations when it is OK for one group of people to use the word and other groups can't. Goldberg's non-answer was that other races must acknowledge "what it is and why it is" before we can move forward.

Goldberg's answer is bullshit. I, like millions of others, understand what it is and why it is and are ready to move forward.

TMink said...

Jesse is a hypocritical has been. Nobody should use the N word. It was short hand for less than human, it is unAmerican.

He was mad because Obama for a moment treated black Americans as if they had free will and were capable of responsible choices. This is anathema to Jesse who is a victim whore. That is why he wants to rip off Obama's nuts, if Obama can get blacks to exercise some self control and responsibility, Jesse is out of a job.

71% of blacks are born without a father in the home. This is the best way to make those babies poor and dependent for their whole lives. It is a matter of cultural and personal responsibility, as is graduating from High School, another wonderful predictor of poverty.

Trey

Yachira said...

I would argue that by attacking Obama for pointing out some of the cultural blight in the black community, Jackson was indeed "talking down to black people."

Simon said...

Given that Whoopie Goldberg recently asserted on The View that it's a scandal that voting rights for blacks must be renewed periodically - referring to the VRA - and Hasselback nodded sympathetically, I'm not inclined to take them or that forum seriously about anything whatsoever.

Christopher Hamilton said...

I'm basically copying and pasting what I wrote over at my blog:



Using the n-wordn-word (mind you I'm not actually saying the n-word because then I'd be a racist white male open to attack by every black civil rights activist out there) is a double standard in this country. I'm a white male who believes the n-word is one of the most racist and derogatory words in the English language. I would never use this word because I believe that when a person uses the n-word it shows that they have no class. It shows that they are most likely uneducated and have no other word to call a black person except the n-word.

Funny thing (as I stated earlier) is I'm not black, I'm white. So you may be wondering why do I care? To be honest with you, I don't care. Do you know who else doesn't care? Blacks. Blacks aren't offended by the n-word. They have to pretend to be offended by the n-word to make sure they make any white male who uses it a racist.

Christopher Hamilton, how dare you say such a thing! What do you mean? If blacks were really offended by the n-word, they wouldn't use it in their everyday language or use it in their music. However, they do. I don't go around calling my white friends a "whitey" or calling them "my caucasian".

This is where the double standard is in this country. I can't use the n-word, but blacks can. Blacks can call me a whitey and I can't scream racism. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should be screaming racism about that.

Blue Moon said...

I'm black FWIW, and I always get a kick out of the "n-word" topic because there if you are complaining that black people are saying it all the time then you do not know very many black people.

All you need to know about Jesse these days can be gained from watching the "Caveman Lawyer" skits from SNL in the 80's. Jesse is confused because the world has passed him by. When you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And when you used to be attacked in the streets by dogs and cops, when a lot of the bad things in your life were because of the color of your skin, every authority figure looks like Bull Connor, and every firing looks like racial discrimination.

rcocean said...

Black people call each other N*ggers, sometimes with affection, sometimes not. But Black people don't want others calling them that. So whats the problem? This must be an East Coast thing.

I call my uncle an "Old Bastard" - but no else can. Or as Gary Cooper put it: "When you call me that, smile".

Wayne said...

blue moon - The stereotype is mostly for inner-city black youth, especially those who have embraced the "gangsta" style.

To the race-baiting nutcases like Jesse Hi-Jackson, most middle-class black people aren't "Black" anymore, they're either "Uncle Toms" or they're "Oreos".

I laugh at the controversy over the n-word because the more people talk about it, the more power it gets.

reader_iam said...

It seems to me that, taken to its logical conclusion, Whoopie's argument is that in order to ultimately get to a better place and future, we should continue to emphasize difference, division and etc. in the raising of our children and the culture to which they're exposed.

Have I got that right?

***

Whoopi's comment about her mother is interesting. Whoopi was born in 1955 in New York City and raised there (mostly in a working class, multicultural area). Her mother was a nurse and, according to some sources, also a sometimes-teacher. I have no idea where Whoopi's mother was raised or her DOB, but it seems likely that she was born after 1920, when the 19th amendment was ratified and became the law of the land, or at least was very young at the time. Since the 14th amendment providing [technical] suffrage for black men dates back to 1868, I'm assuming that what Whoopi is referring to is a combination of poll taxes, literacy tests, intimidation and other elements of the Jim Crow era.

Still, it's a little bit of a squishy statement, given the timing and depending on when and where her mother was born, raised and came of age.

chuck b. said...

"Whoopie Goldberg recently asserted on The View that it's a scandal that voting rights for blacks must be renewed periodically...and Hasselback nodded sympathetically"

LOL... Maybe the general tedium rendered poor Hasselback numb and senseless.

The situation with the n-word is ridiculous. Whoopie says the word has meaning when you give it meaning. (who is the you?) If anyone can give the word meaning, how can it possibly be taken seriously?

If and when the Jackson types* live up to Obama-style exhortations, the n-word's remnant powers will fade away.

*It's worth remembering that he fathered a child out of wedlock.

Cedarford said...

I don't think Jackson should be pilloried for this.

Except that:

1. Jesse Jackson has made 50-100K honoraria appearances on the topic of "nigger" and how the word must be prohibited and never referenced historically when referring to what evil white racists said but only say "the awful N-word" or such.

2. Jesse Jackson established and published a "blacklist" of those officials and black entertainers that "use the N-word" who should not be allowed on radio or TV. Some rappers have in turn called Jesse a blackmailer.

3. For the right amount of money, Jesse offers "spiritual counseling & forgiveness" to those wayward misguided, even racist (pre Jesse intervention) celebrities that "offended by using the N-Word".

reader_iam said...

Man, it always gives me jolt to realize that the 19th amendment isn't even 100 years old. My mother's mother, who died in the mid-1990s and was born in 1901, used to talk about that landmark pretty often, with pride. She was the youngest of 14 children (that's counting only the ones who made it past age 2), and she had grown sisters and brothers with kids when she was born. Anyway, she used to tell the story of how shocked and disapproving her family was when she insisted on voting in the first election in which she age-eligible (1924). Her family, females included, didn't think much of women voting in a man's world, and this was pretty standard among farm families in the very rural area where she was born and lived her entire life. She took a lot of flak for her rebellious ways, God bless her, and I miss the hell out of her.

/OT

NoBorg said...

What is so hard to understand? Many (not necessarily most) black people aren't offended to be called n****r by other black people; practically all are deeply offended to be called that by white people. How is it not obvious why this is so?

I don't think it is too much to ask to go along with their preference on this, whether it makes sense or not. What, is it some kind of big sacrifice not to use the n-word?

I don't even think we should complain that they change the word for "black" every 25 years. What's the big deal? (although the latest one, "African-American", is a terrible kludge - what are you supposed to call Jamaicans and Africans? How about Egyptian-Americans? Hopefully the next racial identifier, due around 2030, will make more sense).

walter neff said...

"It would be interesting to know if Whoopie's mother couldn't vote beause she was black or because she was a woman."

"Whoopi's comment about her mother is interesting. Whoopi was born in 1955 in New York City and raised there (mostly in a working class, multicultural area)."

Would it be ok to call Whoopie a lying sack of shit...what ...my
mike was live....heh.

Joe said...

When Michael Richards used the word nigger at a comedy club, Jesse Jackson called it hate speech and demanded that Richards apologize. This makes Jackson the very definition of a hypocrite.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

"I don't think it is too much to ask to go along with their preference on this, whether it makes sense or not. What, is it some kind of big sacrifice not to use the n-word"

Exactly. Same with using profanity on TV or in front of children.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My husband's great- grandmother, who died at the age of 101, was born 1894 in Arkansas. She always refered to "blacks" in the more respectful (to her) term as Darkies because the "n" word was just too unladylike and unrefined. Only low class uneducated people would use that term. Also only low class uneducated women would go out in public withoutwearing a hat and gloves. Different world then. Now we go out with our belly buttons and ass cracks showing.

The term actually comes from the factual Spanish word for the color black. Negro. The proununciation changed over time to become the "n"word as we know it today and also became a pejorative instead of the descrptive term that is now considered politically correct to use. Black. Sometimes it's so hard to keep up with the moving goal posts.

*oops reposted. Left of the Great on the Granmother.

vet66 said...

I find the word in question as disgusting when blacks say it as blacks feel when whites say it. Drop the angry black man/woman routine as it is old and stale.

When someone in my presence uses that word, and a few others not fit for civilized company, I leave. If you want to be taken seriously, then act accordingly. Just because Obama and Michelle are running for President doesn't give you free reign to glorify past mistakes.

Goldberg is not funny and I find her offensive.

vet66 said...

I find the word in question as disgusting when blacks say it as blacks feel when whites say it. Drop the angry black man/woman routine as it is old and stale.

When someone in my presence uses that word, and a few others not fit for civilized company, I leave. If you want to be taken seriously, then act accordingly. Just because Obama and Michelle are running for President doesn't give you free reign to glorify past mistakes.

Goldberg is not funny and I find her offensive.

Ron said...

What I wonder is why Quentin Tarantino gets a pass. He must be an honorary member of the club.

'cuz Q's a G, baby!

walter neff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter neff said...

Hey I actually met Tarantino once when he was hanging out on Altanic avenue. Man, he was really hit hard with the ugly stick. He makes Mickey Kaus look like Rudolph Valentino. And that takes some doing.

Henry said...

The term actually comes from the factual Spanish word for the color black. Negro. The proununciation changed over time to become the "n"word as we know it today and also became a pejorative instead of the descrptive term that is now considered politically correct to use.

Lyndon Johnson, speaking Texan, used the term "nigra". Even back then he occasionally had to defend himself as not using the other n word. It's been pejorative for a long time.

Michael_H said...

Jesse Jackson should be treated the same way he would have treated Don Imus, had Imus suggested cutting off Obama's nuts and called him an nbomb.

Anything else is racism.

Modern Otter said...

To me the irony of this whole issue is that a quarter of a century or so ago Jesse Jackson was the black leader stumping vociferously for individual responsibility in the black community. At that time, he pretty much owned the phrase "children having children."

Father Martin Fox said...

About "the word":

It's not just that it's a bad word, but it's because it's become a supremely taboo word. What word can compare with it for being radioactive in our larger society? In recent years, if George Carlin did his seven-words routine, did he include this? If he didn't, what if he had--could he have gotten away with it?

About "the View": I think it's a show by nitwits for nitwits. It baffles and discourages me that anyone takes anything about that show seriously. What passes for "reasoning" by its participants is...I need a word that conveys partly appalling and mostly risible, but can't think of one now.

knoxwhirled said...

He makes Mickey Kaus look like Rudolph Valentino

... what I was saying about the Blogging Heads dudez not being too comely ...

chuck b. said...

Did anyone watch the whole video?

I could only make it half-way through.

Gahrie said...

Why do people keep calling Obama a Black man? I say if you have one drop of White blood, that makes you White.

Pogo said...

This is one argument where white folk are best to pretend they don't notice the discussion. Or at least just nod and keep a serious look and stare at the ground alot. But walk quickly away. it's lose-lose.

La Raza ain't so easily cowed, though, so watch your numbers.

rcocean said...

Why women like this show is beyond me. It must be the female equivalent of some awful ESPN talk show like "Around the horn."

fcai said...

Jesse said "cut his nuts out", which is slang used by those who cannot properly use prepositions. That goes back to the low education levels seen among blacks today.

Obama is not black, he is biracial. And the commentor who said that he talks down to everyone is absolutely correct. And as a whitey, I am offended. Nah, not really. I truly don't care what he or Jackson say or what vile language the phony reverends use - that's their problem.

rhhardin said...

John and Ken do the men's show version real audio

Nobody would care if he didn't make such a big deal trying to lynch white people who say it ... The only reason these black leaders running around scaring white advertisers, scaring white corporate executives -- there's nothing frightened than a white corporate broadcast executive ...

William said...

Whoopi Goldberg must be a millionaire many times over. Only in America can a very wealthy woman luxuriate in her feelings of oppression and being one with the wretched of the earth. She is a talented person and deserves her success. However, it would be nice if she judged white society with some of the sympathy and understanding with which she judged Michael Vicks. Whoopi treated Hasselbeck in the overbearing way that Kikiyus treat Luos....Marxists liked to think that if they eliminated rich people they would eliminate greed. Black nationalists liked to think that if they eliminated white people they would eliminate bigotry......Today we are celebrating the birthday of Nelson Mandela. He is a fine man suitable for veneration. My criticism: His ex-wife Winnie Mandela believed in burning her political opponents alive. She was isolated not for the ferocity of her rhetoric but for being unfaithful to Nelson.....Bull Connors and Ian Smith are creatures of the past not just because of black resistance but because they were isolated and ridiculed by the larger white community. If black people cannot criticize leaders like Jackson and Mugabe, they will continue to produce leaders like Jackson and Mugabe.....

Meade said...

We should all be judged by the character of our skin...

thickness.

veni vidi vici said...

Public Enemy addressed this issue better than anyone before or since:


Yo! ho! yo niga! yo niga! no niga!
Check it out
How can you say to me yo my niga
Cursin' up a storm with your finger on a trigger
Feelin' all the girls like a big gold digger
Take a small problem
Make a small problem bigger
Yo I ain't poor I got dough
Don't consider me your brother no more
Goddamn kilogram, how do you figure
I don't want to be called yo niga
Yo niga
Hey
Yo niga
I try to make my statements
Stick like flypaper
Judge says to me yo niga sign these goddamn papers
My boss told me yo niga you're fired
Yo niga this, yo niga that
I know you're a niga now 'cause your head got fat
Flava framalama boy you won't figure
I don't wanna be called yo niga
Yo niga
Break it down
N.I.G.G.E.R.
Niga
Everybody sayin' it
Everybody playin' it rolling on the scales
'Cause everybody's weighin' it
Toby say yo I be good niga
Let me get a shovel make a good digger
I don't care how small or bigger
I don't want to be called yo niga
Yo niga...


"I Dont Wanna Be Called Yo Niga", from "Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black", released 1991

Kirby Olson said...

Hasselback says to Whoopie that we all love each other here.

Whoopie says no we don't.

We love our families, and we like to use that word in our families, because we love our families, but you can't use it, because you are not part of our family.

Fist-bump IS being used more and more in white suburbia though: I notice it at Little League games in which every player and every person in the stands has no color whatsoever. But they still give fist-bumps when a homerun is hit. One at each base.

This country is surreal, and everyone in it is a humorist.

rhhardin said...

Did anyone watch the whole video?

I could only make it half-way through.


I cut away much sooner than half way. I imagined that women like it.

blake said...

Yeah, I think it's clear what Jackson meant.

Wouldn't it be best if we cut him slack here and never let him speak on the subject again? Wouldn't that be polite?

Middle Class Guy said...

Jesse Jackson is irrelevant. The man has outlived his usefulness. The Sixties are over and no one told him. The so called Civil Rights Movement is dead. He is a hypocrite, corrupt, and dishonest. Why people take him seriously or even listen to him is totally beyond me.

Patm said...

I hate television where everyone talks at the same time. And Walters seems kind of condescending to Hasselbeck, to me. But I thought Hasselbeck made an interesting point. She and her relatives would never use "dumb polack" even in their homes - they'd never "take it back" like that. Goldberg's answer was okay to a point, but she didn't address Hasselbeck's final question, which was "how do we move forward."

Essentially Goldberg said, "we don't. You just shut up and understand."

Patm said...

I noticed that Joy Behar, who never keeps her mouth shut about anything, stayed out of the whole conversation, which sort of says a lot.

Also, although I am white and don't actually care about this because I'm a "typical white person" or whatever, I've always thought the word Negro was kind of elegant.

Beldar said...

The only way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

Meade said...

Wait, Beldar, are you suggesting that some people don't really care to stop discriminating based on race - that they might even personally profit by discrimination based on race?

Donald Douglas said...

Title for a rival post: "Althouse Gets It Wrong on Goldberg and the N-Bomb."

Hasselbeck stole the show...

American Power

rightwingprof said...

Obama talks down to everyone, as do all Starbucks liberals. It's all they know how to do. Why is it suddenly a problem for him to talk down to one group? I don't recall Jackson complaining about the "clinging to religion and guns" statement, do you?

Mortimer Brezny said...

if we are one people, we should try to act that way. Either we both can say it, in affection or humor, or neither of us can.

How "we" can be one people and also consist of "both" is hard to reconcile. The internal inconsistency here should be proof enough that you may not use the word.

Obama is not black, he is biracial.

It is funny how non-black Obama is, now that he might be President. Anytime before that possibility became realistic, he would have been considered black. The man is black. (And, certainly, he passes the one-drop rule.)

In closing, let me say that I find highly amusing Elizabeth Hasselbeck crying because she is not allowed to use the n-word. I guess she feels oppressed.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I've always thought the word Negro was kind of elegant.

A lot of coloreds and jigaboos thought so, too.

Meade said...

There Mortimer Brezny goes again.

rcocean said...

Negro of course was the PC word of choice from the 1940s all the way through the 1970s. It replaced "colored" the previous PC word of choice. "Black" was considered derogatory until the 60s.

Note: The various name changes give PC liberals chance to effect canned outrage whenever someone uses the "Wrong word" thereby proving how sensitive and superior they are.

Well done, Mort.

Father Martin Fox said...

Has "black" become derogatory again? It seems to me, when the push for "African American" began a few years ago, that was a subtext. And more than a few times I have heard people use "African American" in places where it would make no sense, as in, people who aren't American, and I stifled a laugh.

Someone could do some really funny stuff with this...

LoafingOaf said...

I think black people like to use the n word because they can use it with impunity and white people cannot.

In the ghetto areas of Cleveland, people of all skin colors use the n word all the time, so in some areas white people can use it the same way black people do without raising an eyebrow from black people, as it's just part of the vernacular of the streets.

Suburbanites who don't naturally speak the vernacular of the inner city are the ones who can get bad reactions using it even if they aren't using it in a hateful manner. I have white friends who use the n word a lot, amongst other white people and amongst black people. But if I started using it it wouldn't work for me because I wasn't raised in the inner city. It would come off as unnatural and posuerish to suddenly throw it into the mix of words I use. Even more so for Hasselbeck.

If I'm hanging around with people from the inner city and they call me their "nigga" and so forth, they wouldn't get offended if I said similar things, but they'd laugh because it would sound corny. Some inner city language creeps into my speech, but only a little bit and I don't consciously try and add words to my mix to sound more street as I'm not trying to be someone I'm not.

I was drunk earlier this summer with some inner city friends and started rapping some Gucci Mane("I'm a street nigga dog...."), as it was stuck in my head. Now, every time I'm drinking this one girl orders me to do "my song" for her friends' amusement. So I guess it sounds pretty silly from my mouth.

My point is, some white people use the n word the same way black people do and it's completely acceptable. But Hasselbeck, because of her cultural/economic backround, would sound like a jack-ass using the n word.

LoafingOaf said...

"Has 'black' become derogatory again? It seems to me, when the push for "African American" began a few years ago, that was a subtext."

It's always felt slightly odd to myself when I use "African-American." It makes me feel like I'm a white dude being overly formal and self-conscious about how I speak of someone who just has different colored skin, when I should just be saying black, like "I met this black dude today who....." When I say "African-American", i makes me feel like I'm overly emphasizing the differences and separations between people and making a bigger deal out of skin color than should be, if that makes any sense. It's best just to speak naturally because when you make such an effort to sound PC it feels and sounds weird to me. "African-American" is a term I have to consciously make an effort to use, when what I'm really thinking is "black." So I go with "black."

Kirby Olson said...

Are whites from South Africa or the former Rhodesia also "African-American"?

Meade said...

When will so-called African-Americans realize they are not African?

Obama, on the other hand, is truly African-American. His father was African, his mother was American. But his children and his wife are just plain Americans.

One of my ancestors was an indentured servant who was shipped to the Virginia colony in the early 17th century to raise tobacco for seven years and ship it back to the king of Prussia before the king emancipated him. I don't call myself Eastern European-American. I'm just a plain American and I don't discriminate who I am as a homonid based on race.

How discourteous of Goldberg to herself use a word that she then prohibited - based on perceived race - some, but not all, of her guests from using. And what entitled Goldberg to talk down to Hasselbeck like that and tell her how to behave? That was heavy-handed and boorish.

Kirby Olson said...

About 42% of African-Americans prefer the use of the word "black" in reference to themselves, according to an article that was on the front page of USA Today about two weeks ago.

About 44% of blacks prefer the use of the term "African-American."

That leaves 14% who either didn't vote or can't decide, or want some other terminology, like human.

Ken said...

I think Jackson should be pilloried for everything possible. He's a con man who has made a very good living by opposing any real progress in racial relations while excusing anyone who pays him off. So long as Jackson, Sharpton and their ilk are the face of the civil rights movement there will be increasing tension under the surface.

This is Obama's major virtue. He hasn't yet incited racial violence for personal gain. But give him time