On Monday morning's episode of The View, the cast discussed the "Niggerhead" controversy. As you may know, this nickname was painted on a rock at the gated entrance of the hunting camp of GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry. You can read more about the controversy in a Washington Post article on the story.
The discussion took an unexpectedly interesting turn when co-host Sherri Shepherd took offense to Barbara Walters' use of the term "nigger".
I think Sherri is off base on this one. Since Barbara used the term within the context of the news story, I don't think she did anything wrong. Recently, I was in a similar situation with the host of the radio show that follows mine. As me and him often do, we had a conversation towards the end of my show/the beginning of his. We were discussing WAMM 1420 AM (a Flint soul station from back in the day). My colleague (who is white) was telling me how he loved listening to WAMM as a kid back in the late 60s. Once while he was staying with his grandmother, she caught him tuning into WAMM. As a result, she whupped him and said something along the lines that he better not ever listen to "nigger" music in her house again. When he detailed the story, I could sense his reluctance as he said the word "nigger". Because it's not a word I often hear in everyday conversations, I was caught off guard by his use of the term. However, I wasn't offended because he wasn't directing it at me or anyone else... he was giving an account of what went down between him and his grandmother.
Before I published this post, I sent him an email to gauge his feelings on me retelling the story of our conversation. In addition to him being OK with it, he expressed his apology for using the term. I assured him that it was all good.
Do you think it was OK for Barbara Walters to use word "nigger" in the context of the news story involving Rick Perry's hunting camp?