Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The racist rant heard 'round the world
Michael Richards seems completely shell-shocked now that the hurtful, racist words he spewed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles have created a buzz so loud, the noise is deafening. It seems to me he didn't expect his horrific tirade to have consequences.

I spoke to Richards face to face after I watched him struggle through a two-hour interview with the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Jackson's nationally syndicated radio show, "Keep Hope Alive." Richards was visibly nervous and agitated throughout the program, distressed by the predicament in which he has found himself. Richards' people even demanded we remove our cameras from the studio because he wasn't comfortable with filming.

Interestingly, Jackson's people maintained everyone involved, including Richards, had agreed the night before to allow CNN's cameras in studio. Guess the actor had a change of heart. You know how cameras (especially cell-phone cameras in Richards' case) can capture a person's darkest moments.

Richards' extreme discomfort and anxiety didn't diminish when he spoke to me. Carefully measuring his words and speaking painfully slowly, Richards said he is now seeing a therapist to find the source of his rage and anger, and that he's grateful to the African-American community for opening up the "healing."

Numerous leaders in the African-American community, including Jackson, have told me that the "healing" should extend to everyone who has ever uttered the "N-word," not just Michael Richards. They are bringing attention to the larger societal issue that has been spotlighted by Richards' divisive words: racism and the harm it causes.

Community leaders are challenging every human being, including those in the entertainment industry (rappers, actors, film studios), to stop using the racial slur. Comic Paul Mooney, who has used the "N-word" in his act in the past, has promised to never use it again. The Laugh Factory, the scene of Michael Richards' meltdown, is "banning the use of all hateful words, especially the N word."

Yes, it can begin with the vernacular, but hopefully the healing will continue to do more than just eliminate a word from the vocabulary. We as human beings need to feel and demonstrate respect towards others. We should be compassionate, caring and inclusive -- no matter the race, color or creed.

Maybe, just maybe, there is a silver lining to the dark, ugly side Michael Richards discovered he had and displayed to the world.
As hurtful as words can be, we will worse off if we allow ourselves to be censored. Being Caucasion, there are certain things I will never understand in the mind of a person that is Black. I don't use the term African American, for the same reason I don't call my self an Irish American. I was born here. In my eyes, we are all Americans, regardless of race. If everyone wants to be treated as equals, it's time to drop the pity party over a word. This wasn't about being racial. It was about saying something hateful that would sting a heckler, and nothing more. I'm appalled that the so called victims of this "rant" are seeing monetary damage. You heckle someone with a microphone, be ready to deal with the consequences. One last thing, for the most part, the only time I hear the "N" word, it usually is coming from someone that is Black.
Really now shouldnt we start with Rap/Hip Hop music where the hate starts anyways. One white person screams the word, and everybody is up in arms about it, who cares... use it if you want too... i do everyday with atlanta drivers...
Paul Mooney is an interesting choice to have come out as an outspoken opponent of racism, seeing as I saw his act a few months back and as a white person was pretty offended by what he had to say. (background: I am not some oversensitive killjoy. I like Chris Rock and knew of Mr Mooney from being a fan of Chappelle's Show) Racism and hate go both ways.
I personally feel sorry for Mr. Richards.I mean all he was doing was doing was doing a job that he was paid for and he get's heckled. By these people that paid to see his act.And now he get's crusifed by these disrepectful people.If they did not want to see his act why were they there in the first place.Granted he should of never said what he said. But anyone in his shoe's would of done the same or have one of there body guards do something about it. but now everything has just got totally blown out portion.
'The healing'. Are you for real? Maybe Hollywood can put together an emergency, candlelit concert where they can promote 'the healing'. Banning Chris Rock from doing his act is really going to sort out the immense societal problems that are not basically caused by white people calling black people by bad names or vice versa. It's what's not SAID but how people act that encourages the segregation on both sides. Michael Edwards is just an unfortunate who misjudged how far once can push un-pc humour.
Well said, Jerry of Bay City.
I find the use of the N word appalling in any form. However, I do find it hypocritical to condemn this man when I have personally witnessed african american comedians having said similiar things and it wasn't offensive and considered "funny". Not to mention seeing the use of racial jokes in reference to white and hispanic cultures by african american comedians, and yet, they don't end up on the front page of the news. How can you ask society to respect something and not utilize a "racist" word when you continue to put it in your music, your movies, your comedy acts...
To me, it's kind of the pot calling the kettle black. (And no, there was no punn intended)
Michael Edwards? It�s Richards.
And I agree with Jerry. He wasn't addressing every black person in the audience he was talking to those individuals that were being disruptive. When they choose not to stop he became angry and spoke his mind. Paul Mooney is funny but he is just as racists as Michael Richards is but its not the blacks that are upset at Paul so its not news worthy. Ask the other minority groups and see how they view the word. The word would've found its way out of the present day vernacular if hip hop and rap didn't glorify it to the utmost stupidity.
Although I appreciate the negative attention the N-word is receiving as a result of Michael Richards' tirade, I remain surprised and disappointed by the fact that his repeated use of the N-word is receiving more attention than his comments about what would have happened to the African-American heckler 50 years ago. It is these comments that prevent me from believing that he "discovered" a "dark, ugly side" last week at the Laugh Factory. There is more to his "meltdown" than heckling and that must be addressed during Mr. Richards' counseling sessions. In addition, Mr. Richards offered no apologies or contrition the night after his now infamous comments were made. Only after the cell phone video became public did he express any remorse. Consequently, I cannot accept Mr. Richards' carefully orchestrated apologies no matter how many he makes or to whom.
Why not let everyone see the entire incident; know who and the cultural origin of the confrontation by audience members and judge for themselves? I would think the original joke about how America has changed (the fork in the **) is an indicator in defence of whatever was tossed at the entertainer by the audience in the situation.
Removal from personal exchange in comedy is the greatest challenge. Timing, impression with class, and the ultimate insight to human nature with specialized humor can be more of a talent than the material created. Poor boobs, they forgot they were in a comedy club!
people need to get over it....not worthy of news coverage
It's not so much the word as it is the intent. That's where the n-word-in-rap-hip/hop and the n-word-in-racism gets so miscontrued; one side looks at the word itself and the other focuses on the intent behind using the word. I'm a member of the First Nations of North America and have no problem identifying the difference between someone using 'Indian' in an innocuous sense and someone using it in a derogatory context. Excusing Michael Richards by saying "Everybody else is using the n-word in music and movies, so means it's OK" amounts to nothing less than an attempt to excuse racism. His 'apologies' fall short and the more he opens his mouth, the deeper he digs his own hole. His behavior was completely inexcusable and he needs to pay the price for his actions by kissing his career goodbye. He has no one to blame but himself.
White people in America will never understand racism. They just want to deny itm. We in the minority know the real deal. Racism is alive and well ine the good ol USA
I find it funny how nobody seems to care that one of the first things the black guy did in response to Richard's remarks was to call him a white boy and a cracker. Being a white male, these words don't offend me in anyway...I actually find it somewhat amusing. But my point is, white people have been the brunt of black comedian's jokes for years and no one seemed to really care. Blacks call each other the "N word" all of the time and nobody seems to care. But all fo the sudden when a white man says it it cause such a huge controversy. People need to start lightening up and focusing their attention to the real problems that are out there in the world.
This is being blown way out of proportion. If a black comic had said the same thing about blacks, whites or any race no one would have cared. The fact that Richards is white and was caught on tape is the only reason this is an issue. You see black comics on HBO specials saying the same type of comments or worse about their own race and others and the mostly all black audience just laughs away thinking its the funniest thing ever. I think it's about time the black community finds another crutch to lean on other than the use of the "N" word and move on. There are a lot of other issues in the world today that are a lot more concerning than this. Leave Michael Richard alone, he apologized. What else do you want him to do.
Wow! It amazes me how many American people actually think what Michael Richards said was okay. I am a Black woman and it was not the n--word that hurt me as much as the words about hanging Black Americans 50 years ago and the way he said those words. I agree that there is somewhat of a double standard for use of the n--word between races. However, different people are offended and sensitive to many things so if there are Black Americans who are offended by Richards' statement, then so be it.

By the way, in regards to rap/hip-hop music, there are just as many White Americans as there are Black Americans that listen to that music as well.
It's still important to note that the Richards rant was not just about the use of the 'n' word. It was the hateful, malicious reference to lynching and the status of Black Americans that is the most heinous. Keep in mind that he continued to state that 'what was buried beneath' and his comments regarding 'interrupting a white man' and the whole lynching reference which causes and should cause the most outrage. Imagine if he had attacked a Jewish person in the audience and commented about gas chambers and being marked by numbers----the outrage would be enormous. It's the same thing folks--and the Black history is American history--unlike the Holocaust which took place on European soil.
People are complaining about his use of the "N" word. For black people to be offended is laughable -- they go out and buy CDs that have nothing on it but that word. The word is hurtful to me even when I hear it being said by a comedian. There is nothing funny about it. But for all this hype about this guy using it, let sleeping dogs lie. He apologized and now let's move on. Stop beating the dead horse, for goodness sake. There are more worthwhile things happening that we could focus on (I am a black american and have long ago been at the back of the bus). And I am not offended -- he didn't call me the "N". Let it go!!!
I have to agree with Kanowakeron, St.Catharines, it is the intent that is the problem. But what I find even more disheartening is his statement about what would have 'happend to a black 50 years ago', or something to that affect. Exactly what do you mean Mr. Richards? Yes, black rappers, actors and comedians do use the n-word alot in thier work and most blacks would prefer that they not. However, being black, I understand the difference in the usage. Also, to say that he was justified because he was being heckeled is just a lame excuse. What comedian hasn't been heckeled at a some point and time? It's part of the game. He handled it most inappropriatley and now he has to deal with it. The black guy was wrong as well. First for heckling, it's quite lame and immature, second, for returning racial slurs to defend the ones being cast at him. However, the black guy has no celebrity on any level so his comments mean less, apparently. I agree with those that believe the word should not be used at all by anyone.
Jackson needs to find a new job, and what is Paul Mooney going to do now that uncomfortable white people are not going to think he's funny without using the "N-word"? What a big man he is. Michael Richards should be left alone, I am sorry for him that he is the new flavor of the month for all the "leaders" of the African-American communities.
I can't believe most of the comments posted hear. For anyone to use the excuse "well, *they* use the word" is ridiculous and an insult to anyone of any intelligence at all. I object to the use of n-word by other Blacks for a host of reasons I won't get into here, but to suggest that the word has the same impact on me as when a non-Black person says it is to not really understand the history of the word and the emotional baggage that it invokes.

And if I hear one more person say that we (Black Americans) are oversensitive, self-pitying, or anything else like what Jerry in Bay City said, my head might explode. Are you serious? I'm thirty years old and my parents grew up segregated -- we have a history in this country and it is what it is. You don't get to tell us to "drop the pity party" because you don't know what the hell you're talking about, and until you're ready to have serious conversation about it (i.e., not on a message board) you should maintain some silence on the subject.
I am a standup comic, and what leaps out at me when I see the Laugh Factory video is that Michael Richards is a comedic actor, not a standup.

Several instances of bad judgment were afoot in this situation -- on the part of the nightclub for booking someone based on a character he played on television; by Mr. Richards' agents and/or managers for allowing him to accept the gig; but most of all, by Richards himself for thinking that he didn't need to do a few dozen open-mike nights before attempting to headline a comedy club.

I'm not criticizing him as a person -- as the saying goes, "I'm not a bad man, my dear -- I'm just a very bad wizard." I don't for a minute think he meant to hurt anyone except those who were heckling him. But the audience came to the club expecting Richards to be as funny in person as he was on Seinfeld. They had no way of knowing that he was, in effect, trying out his act on them. His clear lack of experience in dealing with hecklers allowed the situation to spin out of control, and when panicked (as happens to all beginners at least once or twice), he defaulted to shocking language, no doubt thinking "this is what George Carlin would do."

Alas, it ain't as easy as it looks. I wish Michael Richards well, and I hope that the people who are so full of criticism of the incident will realize that they are fortunate that their most asinine moments don't happen in front of a live audience with camera phones.
Give him a break! He apologized! What more can he do? It happened, and it was bad, but it's over. He seems more sincere than anyone else in the entertainment or political business. It wasn't just a script from his agent that he doesn't agree with, but reads anyway. And now that people are making a movement to ban the "N" word, what about banning the "F" word, and anything else that may be offensive to someone? Maybe we are just short on news, so we recycle the same thing over and over and over. Sorry, Michael, that you had to come up during a "dull" time.
The N-word, like any other word is just that, a word. The way people use those words effects society as a whole in either a positive or negitive light however; living in a free society gives each individual the right to say what they want. In that same line of thought, if someone says something you dont like, quit listening to him/her. Racism is alive and well, not only in this country but in the world we live in. After traveling all over the world that's one of the few constants I've noticed. But racism is only as powerful as you allow it to be. Living in a house with mixed races we generally call each other what others would deem racist names, not out of hate but to show that by taking the negitive emotions out of the word you get just a word. This is the main reason blacks refer to each other using the n-word. To take away the power of the word.

Anyways, everyone needs to quit whinning about all this. The day you understand that is the day words like the n-word don't have any meaning.
Only narrow-minded people and bullies say words don't have any meaning. But to people who have been reminded everyday that they are black or brown or whatever, words like the n-word are a psychological reminder to try to keep those people in their place. AND THAT IS USUALLY WHY PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WHITES, USE IT. Words DO have meaning, especially when they are used in a way to try to bring someone down or shut up someone.
I find most of the commentary here somewhat startling.

Several posters stated that "Black commedians use the N-Word in their routines all the time and no one makes a big deal, so why the fuss when a white man says it?"

Well, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that individuals are held to different standards depending on who they are reffering to.

For example, if you wanted to call your own mother or sister a bitch, you would have that right; but if someone else walked up to you and called either one a bitch, you would more than likely be HIGHLY offended.

Well, folks, like it or not, it works the same way with the N-Word. Blacks in this instance are members of the same family and, as such, have the "right" to use the word without penalty or scrutiny.
I think Richards overreacted to being heckled.If it had been Asians or Hispanics heckling him, I suspect his tirade would have been equally derogatory toward them. He flipped out in a major way and needs to learn from experienced comics how to handle hecklers w/o letting them get under his skin---that, or stay off the stage.
I'm trying to be open-minded -- this is a forum for various points of view and all that -- but the tone of some of the posts here is really pushing it. For some posters: Hold your fire, take a breath and read this excellent Newsweek essay: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15895441/site/newsweek/
Personally, being a black male, I try not to use that word at all. I hear the arguement from many people about how its constant use by blacks towards other blacks reduces the "sting" of the word and made it our own. This doesnt work for me though. The word has its origins as a derogatory phase targeted at slaves and whenever the word is used, I believe that is what comes to mind. I applaud Mr. Mooney for his stand to no longer use the "N" word and hope others follow his lead.
People, please. Either spellcheck your comments, or, better yet, pick up a book and learn how to spell without one.
Most of these posts have been appalling. (I wonder if most of the people have seen the full video footage or if they are relying on what they have seen in the media.) However one person did touch on what I find most troubling, as a 20 year-old black male, and that I believe should trouble anyone who is of sound judgment, good conscience, and a clear mind. Richards said to the heckler, "That's what happens when you interrupt a white man." Really, Mr. Richards? When a black man interrupts a white man he is to be subjected to humiliation and racially charged insults? Not in my America, not in 2006. This statement, much more powerful than the dreaded "N-word" (of which I am not a fan, personally), show the underlying root of Mr. Richards' outburst: the mistaken notion of white supremacy. I am outraged that he would dare say that and think he can apologize and we'll just believe he's not a racist. Open your eyes, ears, and minds, people. What he said that day was a declaration of his feeling that black people are inferior to white people and should be submissive. I can accept that he apologized and acknowledged that he needs to work on his inner demons, but please don't try to excuse him for what he said.
To all of the posters, who compare Blacks and Whites using the N word, please take note:

1. A Black comedian has never used that word in the spiteful and hate filled tirade the way Michael Richards used it.

2. In rap music it is used as a greeting, yes a double standard, but more likely than not it's used to describe a friend or a mate. Not as a "fork up your a**" insult.

3. They were not heckling Mr. Richards. They were asking the waitress to get drinks and were speaking loud because she could not hear them. Michael Richards did not appreciate that and that's acceptable. His venomous use of the word to beat down the customers is not.

4. The customers calling Mr. Richards a �Cra**er� and �White Boy� was a nervous and angry response to being called a �N�. Who wouldn�t spew back the same derogatory words after being verbally attacked?

5. I am Black and I do not ever use the word. Period. Not to anyone. I will let anyone who utters it in my presence that it is not acceptable and not to use it again.
I have to agree with Marian of Missouri: People will panic with confronted with a situation they haven't been exposed to or have much experience with. They will say stupid and thoughtless things from time to time. How many people in the privacy of their cars shriek out one or two colorful expletives? It doesn't mean anything; it's just the moment taking control.

That doesn�t make what Mr. Richards said right; he just really lost control of the situation, and therefore himself. I don�t think he�s a racist � he more a victim of our cultural society. You can�t watch many movies anymore without hearing the �N� word or the �F� word, and TV is becoming worse all the time as to what they will and won�t allow to be said.

And to Derrick of the Bronx ... get real. You keep yourself down - no one else can do that for you.
I am Asian. I have used the word and my friends and non friends have used the word to me when I was younger. I use to hang out with a differnet crowd then I do now. The word is a part of culture. Certain people use that word as a part of their vocabulary. So I see no reason why people should stop using. It is their choice and the choices of the recipiant to take it. I use slang terms to refer to myself or my race. It is what I chose to use. It is my choice. We live in USA. Freedoom of speech is a blessing and a curse. If you don't like what some one has to say....turn it off, don't buy, or make new friends.

What Michael Richards did was a personal attack. But we all have a bit of racism in us one way or another. Get over it. He just got caught in the act.
If white people have a problem with Paul Mooney and his comedy then " SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT"..... Dont get mad cause we speak up when we have issues. Regardless if you think the issue is worthy or not. Its your opinion. SO.... If you have an issue open your mouths. Dont get mad because we have begun to open ours.
While Richards' rant was perhaps borne out of racism, I feel it was borne more out of resentment. Perhaps those in the black community will react immediately that my perspective is naive since I have not experienced such racism first hand. But it is precisely this dismissive attitude towards the white community's attitude on race that contributes to our own resentment (Yes, I am a white man).

I understand that use of the "N word" is hurtful. But a large facet of racism is the unspoken rule regarding double standards in society - that of opportunity, due process and humanity among others.

Another recent addition to these double standards has been the PC world in which we now live. Many white people are resentful over the double standard black entertainers are allowed when discussing the differences between races' cultural backgrounds. Because the black community has a history of abuse at the hands of the white community does not automatically excuse the actions of all blacks today. It does not provide automatic autonomy. Until the black community realizes that this double standard also exists and at least empathizes with this notion the resentment will remain.

Please understand as I write this that I am not condoning Mr. Richards' comments but merely trying to contribute to the larger discussion of race issues which has been discussed on this message board.
If the word is so offensive, then maybe African Americans need to stop using it themselves. That to me is being racist.
What Mr. Richards did, he will pay for it with his own pockets. The part that jumps out at me the most is how quick Paul Mooney and the Laugh Factory were to align themselves with Jesse Jackson and speak out against Mr. Richards. Shame on both of them.

The owners of the Laugh Factory could care less about who uses the N word in their club -- as long as it doesn't bring negative publicity and hurt their bottom line. Ditto for that low-life sellout Mooney.

I hope that someone in Mooney's audience at his future shows tapes him slipping and using the N word. When that happens, I hope that Michael Richards will be the first one holding a press conference with a big, "who's the jackass now?" t-shirt.
I am a woman and experience some type of derogatory comment almost every day in regards to my sex. I don't whine about it, try to sue for money because I took offense, or even let the person know I care....its not worth my time. I prove them wrong everyday by climbing the corporate ladder, living my best life and proving the commenters wrong.
Very well said, Kimberly.

It's about time that someone mentioned the much more serious and offensive comment Richards made about lynching. It was not only racist, but vulgar and repugnant. I heard it and was filled with shock and revulsion. That is not something that just pops out of anyone's mouth spontaneously. That comment had a lot of hidden meaning and anger and hatred behind it. Saying the "n" word is one thing, still offensive, but maybe fair game due to its wide use in stand up comedy routines by African American comics and also in the rap and hip hop community. If it's a bad word, then it's bad for all and no one should use it in any context. But to bring up lynching today is chilling. That indicates something deep inside this man that just was brought to the surface.

I also do not condone the behavior of the hecklers. Rudeness and incivility are becoming far too prevalent and accepted in our society. They were wrong to disrupt his act, but there is an appropriate way to deal with it.

I am also disgusted that the hecklers are now apparently demanding some kind of monetary damages. Talk about taking advantage.
who cares...he is a comedian!!!
I see this as another case of politics blowing something way out of proportion. The said "N" word supposedly is a message of hate, and yet in today's youth we see it being used as a sign of respect among those who do not regard the word as hateful. Along the streets in the cities of the United States, should one pass by schools or areas of children gathering, one can hear the word being thrown around, much like the word "Buddy". "Hey Buddy, what's up." "Nothing much, Buddy, you?" Replace the word "Buddy" with the "N" word.

The "N" word has become street slang. One may regard it as a racial slur, but then there are those who would contend with it. Some would say the 6 letter N word that ends in -er is not the same as a shortened version that ends in -a and has only 5 letters - that they are two completely different words altogether, and it would seem that is the case, although it's clear the two words originate from the same derogatory term.

When I hear youths walking around using the word casually, I find it hard to believe they intend on it being a racial slur - rather they use it as a symbol of respect and acceptance. Is it confusion? Is it ignorance?

If Jackson and the rest of the politicians want to do something, they should not be reaching out to the rest of the world first - they've got the youth of this country to deal with first.

I once had a discussion with a fellow online video game player about this. Apparently to him, the "N" word was worse than the "F" word. When I asked him why, he said it was because the "N" word was racist. I asked how that made the "F" word any better, and all he would say was that the "N" word is racist. What Jackson and the other politicians are saying is basically that. It is like the "N" word is the worst thing anyone could ever say. It is as if whatever is on their political agenda, which is based on defending their race, is the most important. It is like they can't take a joke, or anything anyone slings at them, or they bring the race or the racial oppression trump card in - which they never can lose with. As an American, it doesn't surprise me how one comedian's racial slur slinging can be blown way out of proportion as if this is a crime.

I don't think Richards needed to apologize, nor do I think what he did was right. Yelling at people and losing his temper, that's a personality problem, arguably. If you were trying to entertain and someone made crude remarks at you, would you not feel you had the right to defend yourself? Apologizing, that was his choice to do so. Politicians stepping in and taking this as an attack on them in general - this is none of their business. This should be between the hecklers and Richards, not a bunch of politicians. If anyone is doing anything wrong, it's the politicians seeking to gain publicity and support for something like this.

If they truly want to get rid of the "N" word, they are going to have to start with getting rid of worse things in the world being said. As stated above, they need to start with the youth, and then move up...and perhaps even the politicians themselves need to fess up about their dirty undisclosed pasts and wash their mouths with soap?
Here is what I don't get. What was said about the "N" word was wrong...but now these people want compensation for it? Why is it ok to call Richards a cracker which was heckled to him? Why doesn't he ask for an apology too? Two wrongs don't make a right. Richards was also wronged.
This is the typical "double standard" --a black can use the "N" word, but a white cannot. I think that too much is made over all of these instances and having to apologize to Jesse Jackson - get over it! Who is he to condemn any one? Isn't he the high religious leader who fathered a child out of wedlock while married? I believe that rates a little high in the book that use of one word.

No matter what the media does, it cannot force the races to join. There will always be a certain amount of separation. We need to stop sweating the small stuff and making suck a big deal out of everything that is done that connects to a black citizen. We are Americans period. We all make mistakes and probably always will. Remember, when you point the finger at someone, you have 3 pointing at you.

Again, get over it - stop making mountains over molehills.
I completely agree with you Evelyn, Beckley, WV. Climb that corporate ladder and eventually rule the world. The ones who have the opinions and derogatory terms to try keep you down will be the ones getting your coffee one day.

What are you going to do? The world is what it is - people have so much hidden deep inside, you never know who are dealing with. All you can do is get that degree, get that job, work your butt off, make a lot of money and travel every other week. That's what I do and I'm only 26 and a girl. If I had listened to and responded to every racist comment I've ever heard, I doubt I would have made it this far.
I am just curious why all the commentators who seem to be sick of Tom and Katie and the media fascination with vicarious living through celebrities wasted their time reading and responding to a story entitled "Why we love TomKat?"
Banning the word will not ban the hate. Words are vehicles for hate, but not the source. As soon as one word is banned, another will be used. Any word can be used with hate, any word can be hurled across the room at a heckler. Trying to eliminate the words to get rid of the problem is an affront to human intelligence. It presumes that ridding ourselves of the word will make us forget about what it stands for.

What Richards did was inexcusable, I agree with that much. He went too far. But what about these "victims?" How were they monetarily affected? They didn't lose anything other than the cost of their ticket to the Laugh Factory. And now they have gained a voicebox to the nation. They have their fifteen minutes of fame, and we're allowing them that. Now they want more. And we condone this greed, just as we're condoning the censorship that is resulting here.

So, Richards is getting the backlash and uproar he deserves after shelling out so much hate. But, why are we taking that so far as to censor anyone else who comes along and wants to use the word in a different way? Since when is everyone held accountable for the actions of one? Since when are we a people that censor? Since when do we think that watering down the English language will solve the problem of racism? I think English is what needs "the healing" here.
Some of these comments are hilariously pathetic. It's crazy that in 2006 Blacks are being told to "get over it". People, racism is REAL and does not go away in FORTY years! Especially when it's 400 yrs in the making. We JUST got the right to vote! To say, "Well they do it too" is the ultimate cop out. I believe use of the N-word is wrong. But we all know it's bad enough for you to bad-mouth your mother and infinitely worse for someone else to do it. The source matters, period. Just saying sorry is NOT enough. Doesn't hold up in court, didn't work for my mother, doesn't work for me. There needs to be atonement.

Would it be different if a comedian called an audience member a theiving kike, greasy wop, or potato-eating mick who should be hanging from the nearest tree with a fork in his a**? Is THAT okay now? Should we just get over that too? How do my Jewish, Italian, or Irish friends feel?

But to really get this recipe right you need to add the knowledge that your ancestors were slaves, and you have NO idea where your people are really from or what your last name would be if it hadn't been beaten out of your great-great-grandfather. Then mix in a litle Jim Crow, Emmit Till, Hurricane Carter, Rodney King, Abner Louima, and Amadou Diallo. Just a for a taste. Let it sit for your WHOLE LIFE. Then tell me (or anyone else for that matter) to "Get over it". You must be kidding. If you can live here your entire life and not know this is about more than a word or Michael Richards, you need to get your head out of the sand.

Every literate person out there, PLEASE read "Black Like Me" by John Griffin (a White American man), try his experiment out for yourself, and then blog about being Black in America.
We all have a dark and ugly side to us.Michael Richards just happens to be a celebrity that was on stage when his was unleashed. Give him a break, he apologized, that is enough. there are other matters that need to be addressed in this world, he is the least of it. Lets go on with our lives and in a few years there will be someone else that will do the same thing and we will discuss it again.If we were flies on the wall in many american homes, we could probably hear worse.A majority of us say unkind words that never could be heard, because we are not celebrities.
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