[Ed. note: Caution: N-word alert (O brave New York Times that hath such people in’t)]
Three weeks ago the Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, who is white, was reported to have addressed his fellow Dolphin as a “half-nigger.” About a week later, after being ejected from a game, the Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes, who is black, tweeted that he was “done standing up for these niggas” after being ejected for defending his teammate. This came after the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who is white, angrily called a black security guard a “nigger” in July.
What followed was a fairly regular ritual debate over who gets to say “nigger” and who does not….
A separate and unequal standard for black people is always wrong. And the desire to ban the word “nigger” is not anti-racism, it is finishing school. When Matt Barnes used the word “niggas” he was being inappropriate. When Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper used “nigger,” they were being violent and offensive. That we have trouble distinguishing the two evidences our discomfort with the great chasm between black and white America. If you could choose one word to represent the centuries of bondage, the decades of terrorism, the long days of mass rape, the totality of white violence that birthed the black race in America, it would be “nigger.”