the n-word and michael richards

Every Black person living in these United States has probably had the misfortune of being called “nigger” by someone else in a malicious fashion. It is a word that is used as a term of endearment for some, a biting racial epithet for others, but it is always bound to arouse some sort of emotional response, be it positive or negative. This, of course, largely depends on the identity of the one using the word. Former Kramer star Michael Richards recently launched into an angry, n-word-laced tirade after being heckled at a Los Angeles comedy club, and as of yet, I have seen very little understanding and acceptance of his “apology” coming from the African-American community, and there is a very good reason why.

If you are an African-American with any white acquaintances, you’ve most likely been in a situation in which those white friends feel you are comfortable enough with them that they can let the n-word fly. If it is not used as a blunt instrument to bludgeon someone verbally and the white person is accepted as a member of the group, it is often times excused by Black people and seen as a term of endearment (even though I am personally against its used by anyone in any contextual setting). Richards’ rant, however, was of the angry, hurting kind that we usually associate with the use of the word, and the room for forgiveness in the Black community is rightfully absent.

Richards has to realize that his tantrum has seriously maimed an already floundering career as a stand-up comic? Heckling comes with the territory, and a comedian hoping to make a career doing stand-up must have the quick wit to ward off hecklers and turn their attacks against them in a way that is both entertaining and intelligent. Richards would do well to review some performances of the legendary Richard Pryor and see how he deftly handled annoying interlopers.

The Michael Richards case has definitely proven that racism is harmful to both recipient and giver alike, and that words, even when carelessly used, can still inflame simmering emotions. May he never grace the stage again (although he probably gained the admiration of those who think being PC is a problem)!


~ by free71 on November 23, 2006.

One Response to “the n-word and michael richards”

  1. Word. Like I said “Kramer” is Italian Catholic and you know they ain’t got no love for black folk anyway. He continues to claim he is not a racist though and that is ridiculous. He is a racist because racists are defined by racist behavior. Duh……What he means is that he didn’t think he was a racist until everyone found out he was. He went on Letterman for that weak ass apology, then called in a relations expert and now is doing Jesse’s “Keep Hope Alive” show today.

    Why do non-blacks think they are forgiven just because Jesse or Al give them a platform? I’m tired of whites thinking those two coons speak for black folk. They do not. Just because they knew MLK doesn’t make them black leaders. Why doesn’t Kramer go talk to Cornel West, Harry Belafonte or Tim Wise? He knows they would simply dismiss his antics and the stuff of media titillation. Michael Richards is through. Some things you can’t apologize for and “nigger” is one of them.

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