Patterico's Pontifications

3/2/2007

Government Bans Word

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,General,Race — Patterico @ 6:44 am

Insanity from New York City:

New York declared the n-word off limits to all races Wednesday in a purely symbolic resolution prompted by the common, casual use of the slur in hip-hop music, comedy and street slang.

“People are using it out of context,” said Leroy Comrie, a black city councilman who sponsored the unanimously passed measure. “People are also denigrating themselves by using the word, and disrespecting their history.”

New York’s resolution is not binding and merely calls on residents to stop using the slur. Leaders of the nation’s largest city also hope to set an example.

(h/t: alert reader hank k.)

I don’t care whether it’s symbolic or not. I think the measure is unconstitutional. Not to mention unwise.

It’s unwise because it’s unnecessary. If people use the disgusting, racist word “nigger” in an inappropriate manner, they should be shunned by polite society. We don’t need government to get involved.

It’s unconstititional because government can’t simply ban a word, without any regard for the context in which it is used. (Ever read Cohen v. California?) This particular word is not always a fighting word. I used it in the previous paragraph, in a way that no reasonable person would object to.

Exit question, as Allah likes to say: Can a teacher in New York City read aloud from “Huckleberry Finn” without fear of repercussions?

22 Responses to “Government Bans Word”

  1. Protect me, O Government, for I know not what I do…

    Circa Bellum (fbb5de)

  2. Apparently those socialists scodrels in the BIG ROTTEN APPLE dont belive in FREEDOM OF SPEECH I SAY SUE THEIR PANTS OFF SQUAWK SQUAWK

    krazy kagu (52a738)

  3. I don’t see it — there is no law. They simply wished for something. Would that they would restrict themselves to that more often. Are you saying that government is constitutionally prohibited from artistic criticism? Doesn’t a government body have free speech, too? Because that’s all this was.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. People use words the way they want to, the English language belongs to the people who speak it. The New York city council seems to think they have jurisdiction over the use of words. The Constitution is pretty clear on who’s right.

    Socratease (64f814)

  5. What a niggardly question!

    htom (412a17)

  6. I agree wholeheartedly, but it *is* New York City Council, after all, so I have reason to hope that it’s not the start of some national trend. I’ve been living in NYC and the surrounding area for 7 years now, and I believe these people spend their entire morning commute thinking of new things they can ban that day. In fact, I’ve posted a partial list of bannings, attempted and otherwise, from last year alone.

    BNJ (e1defa)

  7. as long as it’s a purely symbolic resolution, it isn’t unconstitutional. legislative bodies are entitled to make wishes, which is what this essentially is, the same as the rest of us. can we ban some more words? how about “in-store special” and “some restrictions apply”?

    assistant devil's advocate (f698aa)

  8. Forget Huck more importantly Blazing Saddles would be banned!

    I can accept some restricts in the cause of war but not that!

    Peter (e8eca7)

  9. Snicker – Leroy Comrie said “deNIGRating”.

    AST (b318b5)

  10. I remember reading Semi Tough where Billy Clyde Puckett says about playing pro foot ball,”We just like to take showers with niggers.I just say that to get your attention.It’s just a word.” His friend,Marvin “Shake “Tiller chimes in with the saying,Democrats have made it a crime to say the word .
    That’s a rather long prelude to a very embarassing experience of mine with using the word.As a hs senior,I exclaimed about a running back at a rival school,”I almost kiled that mouthy nigger.”My father,a small town dr certainly wasn’t pc,but he was furious at that.A family in town ,named Bobbit, were bright hard working,trustworthy,reverent etc. Mr. Bobbit worked in the local steel mills.One of his sons had been my hero as a young child.The son,at that time at Stanford law,was all everything at the hs-played in the band,valedictorian,qb,etc and had been extremely kind to me.I’d been born with a congenital leg problem.
    MY father told me we were going to their house so I could see if ours was any cleaner than theirs,then I had to tell Mr and Mrs. Bobbit it didn’t matter what they did as people orparents,because they were ‘Niggers’.BY this time,I was beside myself,and crying My father was enraged,threw me in his car and drove me to their house.I had to recount what I’d said and they were quite kind.I don’t know if they’ve ever forgotten it,but I haven’t and am ashamed whenver I see a family member.I wonder what they are actually thinking of me.A good lesson and one I don’t enjoy reliving.

    corwin (dfaf29)

  11. That’s great. Drive the idiots further underground and make it more difficult to distinguish between racist idjits and the rest of us.

    SM (565375)

  12. Can any institution in New York City even retain a copy of Huckleberry Finn in the library?

    Dana (556f76)

  13. More insanity from New York City.

    First they make smokers criminals, then restauranteurs, now those who utter a certain word?

    Big Brother has arrived.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  14. There has been an over abundance of talk on this matter, with valid points on each side, yet not enough examination of the real issue. The real issue is, even when the term lost it’s de-facto legal application, while it was no longer used, the spirit behind it continued. The spirit of demeaning denial and exclusion, or total disregard for many facets of Afrimerican existance as a human being, and as a United States citizen lingered, and remain.
    This present debate, which has popped up about six or seven times in the media the past two years is just media fodder because the race the term mostly applied to still suffers a level of exclusion, and denial that is well documented in all studies spanning the last ten years.
    More than that, while all this talk about the N-word, and the media doing a subliminal, and subtle switch from using African-American, back to the use of Black, the media, the government, the top Ivy League Universities, and many Afrimerican Universities, and professors know of the term “Afrimerican”, they Know it is the first term that accurately academically, and legally describes and defines the race as United States born, and they know it is the first such term created by a member of the race, as opposed to the other terms that were largely created and given the race by Whites, it’s a postive and factual first, and it goes ignored.
    I wonder how many times that old horse, the N-word, will be risen from the dead and beaten before the new is acknowledged….
    It’s not the word it’s the spirit behind it, and American racism is rampant despite the feeble acts to hide it.

    AFRIMERICAN (6ca8bd)

  15. Soooooooo yer saying that you aren’t all just plain ol’ americans like everyone else?

    Should I be calling myself a Germerican?

    And funny enough that you speak of the exclusion of blacks, and the power of the N word (Which, to be perfectly honest, is a word that accurately describes at least a portion of the black population just as ‘white/trailer trash’ describes a portion of the white population), when the last couple of times the Word becomes part of the discussion regarding race it’s the use of The Word by blacks that has caused it.

    Watched a Chris Rock DVD last night, and I litterally lost count (Chris Rock, btw, shares my view of the N Word, so back off).

    I’m about the last guy to get called a racist. I honestly don’t care about a guy or gal’s skin color or where they came from (assuming said person at least came here legally).

    And lets be honest here… You talk about exclusion from society, and yet insist on a special term for yourselves. You aren’t African America, and you aren’t an “Afrimerican”…

    You’re an american. Use that term for a while, and maybe part of what is keeping you excluded will go away…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  16. First of all I am beginning to recognize many Germans have responded to my post semi-regularly since 2004. Such is still being disected to determine if such persons are part of the new Nazi-ism as designed and being implemented by the corrupt government and corporate entities worldwide.

    Secondly, you are an idiot, and this would normally be ignored because your racism, and sense of White Superiority is evident in what you write.

    I will use you, and your post to provide a lesson for the uninformed, and the misinformed.

    I am not requesting, or asking for a special term, I am what I am, and have the free will, and intelligence to determine what I am per ethnic nomenclature. What you call yourself is your perogative, and in your white supremist arrogance, you convict yourself in your racism because the first act of such persons is to tell non-whites who and what they are.

    Those who have a bit more education on the matter than you demonstrate know the term “American” as a nomenclature, refers to White people. I am not that, and I don’t subscribe to the conditioned aesthetic of many Afrimericans who deny themself, and misidentify themself in order to be accepted, and approved by Whites. I don’t need, or want your approval or acceptance, and I don’t need your permission.

    Per the laws that relate to ethnic nomenclature, the United Staes of America is built upon laws, and ambiguous definition of various terms used to define Afrimericans written into those laws that have been, and still used to perpetuate acts of institutional racism, such as you demonstrate by having the audacity to tell me who, what I am.

    You’re an idiot, and using Chris Rock as your foundation, your reference source is indicative of said idiocy.

    I get such responses often from those whites who are closet racist in denial, who feel threatened when they come across an Afrimerican that does’nt fit the profile or the stereotype as the clown, or the House Negro. It’s a fear rsponse of encountering an Afrimerican that has an above average intellect that often exceeds such persons as yourself.

    Then again you could be part of the German crew presently being sued.

    Basically, in you saying call myself American, and maybe I’ll get what I want, that’s like saying be what Whites want, and what serves white interest and they’ll throw me scraps. No thank you.

    Lastly, I am not asking for special treatment, I’m asking Whites who made the laws, and who promote the laws, and who pontificate about having some high moral integrity to live up to it, and follow the laws, or is it your position that in expressing my autonomy the laws don’t apply to me?.

    Are you saying the law don’t apply to me because I am not, and won’t be a White mans N-word?

    AFRIMERICAN (213239)

  17. Per the previous post. Not all Whites fall under the mindset descrbed, just like not all Afrimericans call each other the N-word.

    The generalization was used to simplify the response with the thought that the more intelligent persons would recognize the very real fact that if the predicate matter does’nt apply to you, it’s not you.

    lastly, in days to follow, post will be made about how the FBI, CIA, Californis Secretary of State Office, the U.S. Central District Court, The U.S. Copyright Office, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Postal Service are engaged in illegal activity per the promotion of “AFRIMERICAN”, and/or are failing to acknowledge, and prosecute crimes they have definite evidence of.

    That’s the treatment I am talking about, and there is no special request for special treatment, it’s a request these entities do their job period, and in many cases, a request to stop breaking the laws they are mandated to adhere to.

    This is not 1957 backwoods Mississippi.

    AFRIMERICAN (213239)

  18. I am not requesting, or asking for a special term, I am what I am, and have the free will, and intelligence to determine what I am per ethnic nomenclature.

    So, you see Scott, you’re a Germerican if you determine yourself to be such per ethnic nomenclature.

    I get such responses often from those whites who are closet racist in denial, who feel threatened when they come across an Afrimerican that does’nt fit the profile or the stereotype as the clown, or the House Negro. It’s a fear rsponse of encountering an Afrimerican that has an above average intellect that often exceeds such persons as yourself.

    No, I don’t think so. Condi Rice, Michael Steele, Bill Cosby, Clarence Thomas…all are highly intelligent black people who create very little fear among whites. Well, except for the liberals, but they’re afraid of everything. Your projection of racism is itself racist. You should know that.

    lastly, in days to follow, post will be made about how the FBI, CIA, Californis Secretary of State Office, the U.S. Central District Court, The U.S. Copyright Office, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Postal Service are engaged in illegal activity per the promotion of “AFRIMERICAN”, and/or are failing to acknowledge, and prosecute crimes they have definite evidence of.

    Oh, this should be good. Please expand.

    Pablo (99243e)

  19. But pablo, that would only prove to him that i’m a Nazi.

    I suppose it would be foolish to explain to him that I had a Grandfather fight the Nazis in WWII, and have no love for Facism or Socialism.

    I find it funny that he claim s that only a white person can be American.

    No, actually, I find it sad. Rest assured that since he doesn’t consider himself an American, I certainly don’t either.

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  20. First of all I am beginning to recognize many Germans have responded to my post semi-regularly since 2004. Such is still being disected to determine if such persons are part of the new Nazi-ism as designed and being implemented by the corrupt government and corporate entities worldwide.

    Secondly, you are an idiot, and this would normally be ignored because your racism, and sense of White Superiority is evident in what you write.

    What’s more, I’d like to point out that I’m a racist because I want everyone to be equal, treated and labeled the same. I was equality, and am therefore a racist.

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  21. It’s not about what YOU want for EVERYBONE. Who are you to dictate what is and isn’t for Everyone. The only person anyone can speak for is themself.

    As for the other post participants. The camparisons of Rcie, and Cosby, and the like are not people Afrimericans as a whole admire. The are considered White people in Black skin.

    I also noticed spanish names, and remember when the Census was telling such persons to claim White on the Census, thus it is understandable that those person who did such got the impression they are, and in making the feacade self palatable also adopted the racist mindsets, and rhetoric of whites, and other White looking people who favor any insult on Afrimericans no matter how feeble, or idiotic.

    The content of the post says a good deal about the writers, and it’s amazing how ignorant the display is for all to see.

    Just to show you how stupid you are. It was a German that gave America it’s name. The same kind of German that fostered the idea of purity of the races. Also, American political, and business leaders were in business, and funded Germany early WWII. Furthermore Hitler and his inner circle used the American Blueprint of Slavery, and after, what came to be known as Jim Crow to model their acts against the Jews and others on. Obviously, you don’t know what you think you do.

    The Great Muhhamed Ali said it best, Why should I fight for a country that calls me Nigga, and denys me basic rights.

    You who seem to be on the attack demonstate your racist ideology. Anyone can see it, and I am reminded how closet racist, like closet rapist pretend to be one thing publicly, but show their true self when they can hide like on the internet.

    The End

    AFRIMERICAN (19712a)

  22. Bit by bit freedom of speech is being chipped away at, and its always done in a way to reallocate power from one group to another. Words are power, so some people are being dis-empowered and its going to another group. This separate to rudeness, being vulgar, or worse mean.
    Political correctness is really based in using fear to muzzle another. Fear of being caste in a bad light, being rejected, and being prosecuted of a crime. Its a yoke. I don’t think Americans should be forced to give away their freedoms simply to power up another group. We all judge each other based on a number of factors including the language we use. Children should be protected from mean forms of language out of respect for their innocence and to give them an open ear to more possibilities than toxic adult language. But among themselves adults should be free to say whatever, as their lives are shaped by experience as much as prejudice and sometimes the two feed each other because of real events. To deny that the very people that want to shut down some of our most personal and emotional language because it benifits them and gives them a power over us is totally unAmerican. Some of these people are the very same ones who use our best elements of generousity and fairness to manipulate us in those ways as well and then we are standing in the well of a distinct disadvantage. I don’t think we should allow ourselves to be conned by others who want our power just because of various manipulations. Some of the people attacking our words are some of the most racist people you will ever find. We do not need them to control our language of our minds as well as our laws. If a person is a decent fair-minded person, these hurtful words won’t be much of an issue, but if that same person has had negative experiences they may just be truthful as measure of the hurt done to them as well. Fairness cuts both ways. Without that you have no integrity to the argument.

    Brian (387e06)


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