2006-11-27

Etan Thomas on the "KKKramer" Incident

This is not an accidental slip of the tongue, or a temporary loss of one's temper. He actually made a reference to fork-based lynching. For a person to resort to that type of an attack has to be laboring a deep sentiment of bigotry in its ugliest form. It is part of his soul. Something that is connected to his entire being. Those were the real feelings of Richards unmasked for the entire world to see.
And...
His references to the "Afro-Americans" he offended, and the fact that he claims he is not a racist but has rage issues is absolutely absurd. Simply put, only racist people make racist remarks. [Nadir - My emphasis.] I don't care how many times he denounces his statements. Do you think this is the first time he has launched language of this nature at a Black Person before? I seriously doubt it. Finally, Richards said that his remarks should be seen as the "botched joke" that it was, and not the emanations of any serious animous towards black people. Does this sound like a man who is truly sorry, I think not.

8 comments:

sixstringslinger said...

I'm with you Nadir. I don't see how his comments could have be taken any other way. And the reference to lynching? Well, let's just say that took the whole tirade to another level altogether.

To even attempt to apologize after what he did and said is just pointless. It was simply an attempt to salvage an already non-existent career.

The whole thing made me extremely uncomfortable just watching and listening to it.

Paul Hue said...

I will not say anything in defense of Michael Richards, except that he his one of the greatest sitcom character actors of all time. There are only two possibilities here, that I see, and neither is good:

1. He is a racist.
2. He is not a racist, but issued for some reason a public tirade that was horrible and combined with his stature has damaged the efforts of those of us expending considerable amounts of effort to end any existing racism and to advance the status of any "races" whose average outcomes lack the national average.

Unless he writes a check for 1 million bucks to my beloved Ben Carson program, I do not forgive him; but he can indeed purchase my forgiveness, I admit that. Because with 1 million bucks I believe that I can do more good than his outburst did harm.

Paul Hue said...

I want to examine the statement: "Only racist people make racist remarks."

The various official definitions of racism amount to the following for me: Racism = Belief that different "races" of people either have different genetic strengths or weaknesses; or that they should have special rights, privileges, restrictions, punishments, rewards, or standards.

For one thing, there is the question as to what remarks qualify as truly racist, ie, meeting a sensible and fixed definition of the term, "racist." I feel the Michael Richards' comment and action were both racist. Thus he did commit a racist act, in my opinion: He reserved the details of his tired exclusively for people that he categorized as black. Perhaps any apparent detail that he detected from a heckler he would have dreamed up the absolutely worst conceivable comments to lash them with. Still, a racist act.

But does he want to ban blacks from his neighborhood? Does he refuse to work with black actors? I don't think this is obvious, though of course the show Seinfield did just that, though perhaps unknowingly.

So now we move to a definition of "racist". Obviously we must agree that a "racist" is a person who subscribes to racism. Such a person doesn't even have to commit any acts to be a racist, but of course that would include taking no action to oppose racist acts that he or she could affect.

If I steal a pencil from work I have stolen; thus I am a thief. But does that justify labeling me for life, in all places and times, as a thief, and excluding me from a trustworthy position? If Nadir and his wife leave town and they need somebody to feed their cat and empty a litter box, they only know a few able people near their home. Should they exclude me because I stole a pencil from my job three years ago?

In the case of Michael Richards, his act of racism was so bald that it shocked many paying customers to leave a show; it caused the person illegally filming to state something like, "oh my god." So this is a pretty big act of racism. But I know some very trustworthy fellows who in their lives have committed rather serious acts of theft.

So I believe that in assessing the man Michael Richards over the course of his life, including his future, I believe some grayness is in order.

sixstringslinger said...

I don't know Paul. There wasn't a hint of "grayness" that I could detect from Richards tirade. He sounded to me like he meant deeply every word he said.

Also, the term "heckler" continues to be used to describe the gentleman/men Richards verbally assaulted, but I've since heard and read that the guy in question was not heckling Ricards at all, but rather was simply commenting to his friend that Richards isn't funny. Richards supposedly overheard the comment and at that point went berserk. So, if this can be believed, his entire tirade was triggered by something he wasn't even meant to hear.

sixstringslinger said...

An excerpt from a poem entitled "The N Word" In my book More Than An Athlete

Pressed into the depths of our minds by wicked hands
Drowning in a never ending quicksand of hate
It exists as a scar from centuries of racism refusing to heal
A full coursed meal of poison served fresh
Employed to impose installments of an inferiority complex
Why won't we let this word die?
How can it still caress our everyday lives?
Murdering the pride our ancestors died fighting for
Destroying the minds our forefathers tried defending
Ignoring the cries our people suffered
The stolen dignity
Still unable to wash our minds clean
Ridding it of the filth of a soiled self esteem.


It sounds to me as though he's lamenting the casual, everyday use of the "word" within the black community and popular culture, which I hope is the case, because it's beyond me how a word that is supposedly so hurtful can be thrown around in such a willy-nilly fashion by those who supposedly offended by it.

I'll never understand that. Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm just a clueless white guy

Paul Hue said...

As Nadir would say: You have to be black to understand.

JUST KIDDING! Think about it this way: do you and your brother ever call each other bastards and mother fuckers? Some people are very uptight, and would never do that. Nadir is a very, very uptight person in many ways. He does not call his buddies bastards and motherfuckers, though sometimes around me he sort of does it a little bit (I think), just to halfway show me some affection. But he *NEVER* uses the n-word, as if he belonged to a religion that condemned people to hell if they ever said it.

A very large fraction of black folks use that word very liberally as one of the warmest possible terms of endearment. Because the word is such a "third rail" outside of black culture, this surely gives it most if not all of its appeal within black culture. It's like a secret mason or fraternity handshake: it has meaning only to the extent that others are banned from employing it.

I think that the "n" word amongst blacks is fine, but that black folks are way too sensitive about it. The sensitivity (super hyper sensitivity, actually), in my opinion, indicates a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence. Even jews don't quite fall to pieces as much as black folks do over the "n" word. One indication that blacks folks have finally "arrived" will be when the "n" word ceases to serve as a "third rail".

Imagine what would happen to that word if black folks STOPPED CARING. But of course if black folks stopped caring about it, it would lose most of its affectionate appeal. The tight-ass PC robots like Nadir, by the way, I believe increase its appeal among regular black folks by providing more of that "off-limits" appeal.

Nadir said...

I use the word sometimes. Usually as a quote or to describe "ignant muhphukas".

I don't know that I would ever be described as a "tight-ass PC robot" by anyone but Paul! That's funny!

It's a stupid word to use as an affectionate term. I know sometimes women call their friends "bitches" but they would be very upset for others to call them that.

If you don't want others to use the word, you shouldn't use it yourself.

"Imagine what would happen to that word if black folks STOPPED CARING."

I prefer to think of it like the terms "colored" and "negro" which both went out of vogue because Blacks (later African-Americans) didn't want to be called by those names so they STOPPED USING THEM and held whites accountable when they used them. Now (except for Paul) only people over 60 use the term colored. Only Negroes like Stanley Crouch and John McWhorter use the term "Negro" because it is considered a perjorative in the Black community. Many Black folks would want to fight you if you called them "colored" but have no problem calling their friends "nigga".

If nigger or nigga were looked at as the perjorative that it is (and it is MUCH worse than colored or negro), it would not be used by anyone.

Look at it this way also: Latinos don't call each other "spic" and Italians don't call each other "wop". White folks don't even call each other "cracker" or "honky" (except for Paul).

And by that token, Black people are to blame for the continued use of the word. If we stop, and it stops being acceptable, then it will fall from vogue and other people will stop using it.

Nadir said...

"He does not call his buddies bastards and motherfuckers, though sometimes around me he sort of does it a little bit (I think), just to halfway show me some affection. But he *NEVER* uses the n-word, as if he belonged to a religion that condemned people to hell if they ever said it."

I absolutely call my friends "muthafuckas". In fact, for my musician friends, that is the highest complement. "Pete Peltier is a BAD MUTHAFUCKA on guitar!"

I don't call my friends bastards and 90% of the time I don't use the word "nigga or nigger". Those are bad words. I don't use "bitch" much anymore either.

Is that being a tight-assed PC robot? I think it is being a respectful and respectable human being. I don't call my German friends "Nazis". This would be an insult. I would call George Bush a Nazi (because he is) and because I mean it as an insult.