President Barack Obama used the n-word during an interview released Monday to make a point that there’s still plenty of room for America to combat racism.
“Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public,” Obama said in an interview for the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.”
“That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
That evening, when the following exchange on CNN took place, Hostin took a sensible position which far too few individuals are afraid to voice. (Her perspective on the role of journalists, seen in the latter part of the video, was far less defensible.) At the time, Hostin was a legal analyst for the network and when asked by Wolf Blitzer whether the President was "right" to use the term, stated
I don't think so. I was surprised. I was shocked. I was disappointed. I think language matters, especially when that language is coming from the leader of the Free World, the President of the United States, especially as an African-American man.
I think what it does, quite frankly, Wolf, is give people the feeling that they, too, can use it. We hear that argument being made oftentimes. Well, rappers use it, so I can use it, too, and I think that the President was sort of ill-advised in thinking that he either was going to be provocative or be instructive and nuanced because we all know he's a wordsmith. We know that he chooses his words carefully. So I don't thing this was an accidental use of the term but it now opens up the fields for others using it....
It gives people license. If the term is verboten because blacks are offended by it ,and people observe or hear a black man himself using it, can it really be so offensive?
In contrast, Joe Rogan, who a few years back believed as a white man he was entitled to say "n_ _ _ _ _" repeatedly, now seems to believe that it is precisely because he is white that he cannot. Rogan
used the word more than 20 times in the clips from different podcast episodes, which he said were compiled over a span of 12 years. In his apology, Rogan said it's the "most regretful and shameful thing" he has ever had to address publicly.
"I know that to most people, there's no context where a
White person is ever allowed to say that, never mind publicly on a podcast, and
I agree with that," he said. "Now, I haven't said it in years,"
"I know that to most people, there's no context where a white
person is ever allowed to say that... and I agree with that." This is the true
politically correct, or "woke," position.
Whether it's because she's African-American (on her father's side,
Puerto Rican on her mother's side) or for some other reason, Hostin felt free to tell the truth.
For others, the n-word is a horrible, toxic word and blacks
may use it publicly- which naturally encourages non-blacks to use it.