Open Mike Eagle on the ‘n-word’

November 13, 2014

The Washington Post did a long, interactive feature on the current status of the “n-word” in American culture.  Among the many people interviewed: Secret Skin‘s Open Mike Eagle, along with his colleague Nocando.  Their thoughts are definitely worth your time.  You can skip Piers Morgan’s.

My thoughts, as a middle-aged white guy whose one galactically minor experience with bigotry was a couple kids in grade school who thought Catholics were weird?  They’re pretty simple.

  • White people: Don’t say it.  It’s awful.  You’ll probably get grounded/suspended/fired if you use it.  No one will feel bad for you.
  • White people: If an African-American uses it, and you trot out the “Rapper X* can say it, why can’t I?” bullshit, know that you are the very worst, but kudos on your career in AM talk radio.  I really like how Mike puts it:

I’m a person who believes in in-group versus out-group privileges and respect. So like if my experience is the ‘n*****’ experience, then I feel like I have free license to do what I want with [the word]. Like, people that don’t have to have their head on a swivel in certain parts of Alabama, I don’t feel like you should be using that word like it’s just cool. Because it’s not just a cool thing.

  • African-American people: you wanna grab a beer or coffee or something?

*Rapper X is not an actual hip-hop artist.