Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review

John Ziegler

John Ziegler
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The Rules of the 'N-Word' -- As a white male who was fired as a radio talk show host several years ago (WWTN-FM in Nashville) for using the "N-word" in a rather academic discussion about the way whites and blacks view each other, I found the recent controversy involving singer Jennifer Lopez to be quite fascinating.

You see, ever since that on-air "incident," (which was pre-approved by my boss and during which I believe I did little, if anything, "wrong") I have been desperately trying to figure out what the "rules" are when it comes to uttering this racial epithet that, understandably, causes so much anger in many African-Americans.

Lopez, a Bronx-born woman of Puerto Rican decent, has come under fire for using three variations of the N-word in the "Murda Mix" (strangely no one complained about THAT element of the song) in her new single "I'm Real." Among those claiming outrage and demanding a recall of the record, have been Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope, who stated that use of the N-word is offensive by anyone, but especially by a "non-black artist as popular as Jennifer Lopez."

However, while there have been some minor protests involving the song, it appears that most blacks are willing to do as her former boyfriend Sean "Puffy" "Puff Daddy" "P Diddy" Combs has said to do, which is to "give her a pass." So it now appears that we have further defined the "rules" when it comes to use of the "N-word." Apparently, if your skin is dark enough and your former boyfriend is sufficiently "black" and says it is okay, then you can use the word in a lyric written by someone else.

I will be sure to add this new tenet to the ever-growing list of rather confusing, contradictory, and seemingly counter productive unwritten guidelines regarding the use of the dreaded "N-word." Here are some others that I have been able to accumulate over the past couple of years:

  • If you are a black comedian (especially if your name is Chris Rock) using the "N-word" is not only acceptable, but can gain you great riches and popularity.

  • If you are a black DJ on a Hip-Hop radio station you can use it all you want, as can listeners who give "shout outs" to their n****r friends. White DJs cannot do this. However Howard Stern gets an exemption because he has a black female sidekick and because he makes Infinity Broadcasting millions of dollars.

  • If you were once a member of the KKK, but are now an old, but powerful and very LIBERAL member of the Senate (Robert Byrd) you can use the word twice on national television and the media will not talk about it at all and the vast majority of Americans will not even realize that it ever happened.

  • If you are a white male at a District of Columbia city council meeting and you use the word "niggardly" (which means stingy and has nothing to do with the "N-word"), you will be publicly ridiculed, fired, and then reassigned.

  • If you send out a crossword puzzle in a pamphlet for a 4th of July celebration and a computer glitch causes a spelling of the "N-word" to show up that no one has ever seen before, it will cause a great uproar, but nothing will really be done.

  • If you are a boxer of Latin decent (Hector Camacho) and who use the "N-word" in describing Mike Tyson after he bites off Evander Holyfield's ear, the media will rip you unmercifully, but will let it quickly go away and they will continue to promote your fights.

  • If you are Mike Tyson himself and you later call YOURSELF the "N-word," the media will simply question your sanity, but there will be no real repercussions.

  • If you are a largely unknown, white male, talk show host (John Ziegler) and you SPELL the "N-word" while QUOTING Tyson on a sports radio station owned by the same company that employs Howard Stern (WIP in Philadelphia), you will be reprimanded by your boss and end up leaving the station.

  • If you are an elderly white male golfer who jokingly (he says) responds to a black groundskeeper's query as to who is winning the PGA golf championship by saying, "that n****r, Tiger Woods," you will lose your membership privileges at the golf club. What is still uncertain is whether or not Tiger himself (who is one-quarter African American) is "black" enough to qualify for this new "Jennifer Lopez Exemption."

  • If you are a white male writing a commentary about the use of the "N-word," you cannot actually use the word and still be printed in any of America's larger, politically correct, newspapers.

    Send your comments to JWR contributor John Ziegler by clicking here.


    © 2001, John Ziegler