Tuesday, November 19, 2013

N-word cookie jar

Warning: Contains profanity.

A drunk Riley Cooper was recorded threatening “every nigger” at a Kenny Chesney concert. “I, like a whole lot of people, use the N-word all day, every day, my whole life,” the melanin-deficient Eagles wide receiver did not murmur in meek, conciliatory tones.

Dolphins guard Richie Incognito left a similarly profane voicemail on a black teammate’s cell phone. “The word is not necessarily a racial slur. Everyone is trying to paint it like I made some kind of hate crime or something,” the apologetic paleface did not say.

Here’s what they really said when they were caught with their white hands in the N-word cookie jar:

“In no way, shape, or form is it ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it’s friend to friend.” –Richie Incognito

“I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself.” –Riley Cooper

We ought to pity these victims of gotcha politics. Cultural familiarity acquired from a lifetime spent in mixed-race locker rooms lured them into a false sense of racial security. They thought they were one of the guys, they thought were being cool and edgy, and America condemned them to racist hell. A white teammate in an NFL or NBA locker room can get away with a lot, but in isolation he is another closet white supremacist, fuel for the grisly grievance machine.

“Nigger” to Riley Cooper and Richie Incognito is not a curse word. It’s a neutral identifier of a black person. If that sounds like a lame excuse, remember it’s the same excuse given by basketball legend Charles Barkley, ESPN pundit Michael Wilbon, and George Zimmerman trial witness Rachel Jeantel. Insofar as “nigger” is an offensive word, it’s only offensive when whites use it, even if it’s in the same context as when blacks use it.

Which is the worse double standard: whites are not allowed to defile blacks, or blacks alone are allowed to defile themselves?

Half-white, half-black Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes was ejected from an NBA game for fighting. He tweeted, “I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these niggas! All this shit does is cost me money.” His character was not universally panned. His livelihood was not threatened. Black cultural figures in Barkley and Wilbon defended him.

Richie Incognito was suspended from the Dolphins, and may be cut. Riley Cooper almost lost his job with the Eagles and accepted counseling, ostensibly to unlearn his racism, but really to learn to respect a race cult that is founded on the idea of disrespecting itself. Their sin: being white in a black world.

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