If you say the N-Word in a forest and nobody’s there to hear it, are you still a racist?
This is the question (more or less) posed by Tim Allen, who took a break from repairing an old hot rod in his garage to inform an African-American reporter for the Tampa Bay Times that saying the phrase “the n-word” is worse than saying n*gger. You know, because the word desperately needed Tim Allen’s opinion on whether or not we should say n*gger.
“You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it,” he added, telling a 50-year-old joke by [comedian Lenny] Bruce about how President Kennedy could defuse slurs by using them to describe Jewish, Italian and black people in his cabinet. “If I have no intent, if I show no intent, if I clearly am not a racist, then how can ‘n*gger’ be bad coming out of my mouth?”
What surprised me, is that a star big as Allen would say the actual n-word in a conversation with a journalist. But Allen seems to wear his heart on his sleeve during much of our conversation, from pulling back on claims that he’s a Hollywood conservative to talking about how using racial lurs feels from a white guy’s perspective.
While Allen has a perfectly cromulent point — that we should try to find ways to take the hateful connotation away from culturally-insensitive buzzwords and judge a person’s intent rather than the collection of letters spilling from their mouths — he is missing out on two key components of the “why can’t white people say n*gger” debate:
1. It is the easiest word in the world to not say
2. Why the f*ck do you need to say n*gger, Tim Allen
The topic came up because of Paula Deen, a woman who for better or worse has become synonymous with the n-word in 2013, but don’t worry, Allen doesn’t get preachy. Instead, he uses the best reason in the history of the world for explaining why saying n*gger is honky-dory:
I’ve had this argument on stage a million times. I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they’re referring to me, ‘hey, my n*gger’s up.’ So I’m the n*gger if I’m around you guys but 7 feet away, if I said n*gger, it’s not right.
Good news, cast of Open Season, you can all say the n-word now. Get to slurrin’, Ashton Kutcher!
He follows THAT up with a WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY DEFINITION, followed by a comparison to the word “dingleberry.” I swear to God I’m not making this up.
In Webster’s old dictionary the word “n*gger” means unemployed and indigent dock worker. That’s one definition. So I said, (to my brother) in that case … he lives in Boston and he’s not employed … so you’d be a n*gger. And he goes, yeah. If my brother told me not to call him a dingleberry in front of my mother, ‘cause I knew it pissed him… pisses me off. As soon as Mom left, and I wanted to piss him off? I’d say ‘dingleberry, dingleberry, dingleberry.’ So if you’re around a word to be problematic for you and low intellect or uninvolved people find that out, they’re gonna call you n*gger all day long ‘cause they know you don’t like it.
If you get nothing else out of this interview, get that Tim Allen had an interview with a black guy and decided to say n*gger about a thousand times.