How one newspaper’s use of the “N word” for attention backfired

Posted on July 8, 2014

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I guess I should start a brand new blog listing all the WTF articles and quotes from some well meaning folks who call themselves “Liberals”

Chalk this next gem up to a writer for The West View News. You see, James Lincoln Collier thought he’d put it out there. In his piece, he decides to come right out with what he believes those who viciously criticize President Barack Obama are really thinking, and perhaps saying in closed quarters.

 

“It is possible to draw only one conclusion: these far right voters hate Obama because he is black” –  quote from the article by James Lincoln Collier of the West View News.

 

Collier Article

 

 

 Link: http://westviewnews.org/2014/07/the-nigger-in-the-white-house/

 

 

The problem is, he lost me at “The Nigger . . .”

 

Yes, in order to put it all on the table and call a “spade a spade” Collier and the powers that be who approved the release of his article left the title intact. The result is that Collier’s piece isn’t what’s being focused on, but his inability to realize that he’s now done what he has accused others of doing. And there ain’t no backtracking from this.

You see, in order to get his point across, in order to show just how bigoted those who’ve been a thorn in Obama’s side since he was elected president really are, and those who’ve disrespected the man and his policies from day one . . . well, let me just take a quote from something Collier states to Don Lemon during his CNN interview:

 

“There are people who will pretend that they are talking about a politic matter but in fact behind it they’re driven by racism” – James Lincoln Collier

 

Dude, take a look at the headline you submitted. The argument can be made that you’ve done the same thing, except you’ve tried to soften the blow with a pro-Obama article. But the end doesn’t justify the means. If Gary Oldman can get blasted for his use of ethnic slurs to make his rambling, anti-PC point, then what makes you so special? Oh, silly me. It’s cuz you’re a “friend” to the black community. But see, back in the day some progressives called themselves “friends of the Negro.” A bit later in this post I’ll post some actual quotes from those who claimed to be liberal in a blast from the past.

 

Here are a few more “gems” from Collier’s interview with CNN:

 

“Racism exists in the United States, there’s no getting around it. You just have to listen to people talk when they think they’re not being overheard.”

 

“I think the point was, to get it across, that this is still an attitude in the United States. And clearly from the response, I expected there would be some response but not to the extent that there has been, and that makes it very clear to me that this is still a very emotional issue for the American people.”

 

Link: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/07/08/ctn-bpr-collier-newspaper-n-word-headline.cnn.html

 

 

Okay, so I think I need to put up some history on this post so that Collier and those who approved of the headline understand.

 

YOU DON’T GET A PASS ON USING THAT WORD FOR YOUR ATTENTION GRABBING HEADLINE BECAUSE YOU’RE A LIBERAL.

 

Especially since I originally thought Collier had a quote of some kind from someone who’d used it, or at least something more concrete than just his spin on how those on the far right really feel about Obama. But here’s the thing. While there may be something in print by a high ranking politician or a tape of some voter on the right using that phrase, where is it?

What I do now know is that someone on the left has just used a racial slur, in a very cheap way of proving his point. So just file Collier with the rest of the “liberals” who meant well or were trying to be funny, or “down” or whatever, like Lisa Lampanelli:

 

The Tweet Lampanelli will always regret

The Tweet Lampanelli will always regret

 

 

For more on Lampanelli’s twisted reasoning AKA excuses, see this post:

 

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/when-good-liberals-go-bad-part-one/

 

 

 

 

Ritchie Incognito was given “honorary” black man status by some African American players who thought he was a really cool guy. Here’s what he did with it:

 

 

“Mike Pouncey, Nigga! Fuck this shit!” can be heard at the start of the video:

 

 

 

 

Incognito considered black in Dolphins locker room

by Armando Salguero, Miami Herald  11/13

 

 . . . Richie Incognito left Jonathan Martin a voice mail that, among other things, called Martin a “half-n—-r.” And Dolphins players of color, knowing of the voicemail, have expressed no problems with Incognito.

“I don’t have a problem with Richie,” Mike Wallace said. “I love Richie.”

“I don’t think Richie is a racist,” cornerback Brent Grimes said.

“Richie Incognito isn’t a racist,” tight end Michael Egnew said.

ESPN analyst and former Dolphins wide receiver Cris Carter has know Mike Pouncey since the player’s childhood. Today Carter said on air he recently spoke to Mike Pouncey and the center, who is Incognito’s friend, addressed race.

“They don’t feel as if he’s a racist, they don’t feel as if he picked on Jonathan repeatedly and bullied him, but if they could do it all over again there would be situations that they might change but they’re very, very comfortable with Richie,” Carter said.

“They think it’s sad, not only that Jonathan’s not on the football team, but also that Richie is being depicted as a bigot and as a racist.”

How is this possible?

Well, I’ve spoken to multiple people today about this and the explanation from all of them is that in the Dolphins locker room, Richie Incognito was considered a black guy. He was accepted by the black players. He was an honorary black man.

And Jonathan Martin, who is bi-racial, was not. Indeed, Martin was considered less black than Incognito.

“Richie is honorary,” one player who left the Dolphins this offseason told me today. “I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not black. But being a black guy, being a brother is more than just about skin color. It’s about how you carry yourself. How you play. Where you come from. What you’ve experienced. A lot of things.”

 

Link: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/11/richie-incognito-considered-black-in-dolphins-locker-room.html

 

 

For more info on Incognito/Martin see this post:

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/bestowing-honorary-blackness-has-its-roots-in-segregation/

 

 

 

Another example (not using the N word. but something equally offensive), this time from another “liberal” online mag. Notice the very bold “everyone else seems to be afraid to say it”. At the time the young actress being referenced was only nine years of age. NINE. And yet even a child isn’t spared:

 

The tweet that The Onion will always regret

The tweet that The Onion will always regret

 

 

 

 

Here’s the response that I submitted to the online Westview News site:

My response

 

 

Another example of a “Friend to the black community”:

 

Paula Deen as "The Help"

Paula Deen as “The Help”

 

 

 

Paula Deen singling out the "valued" employee she claims is as black as the background board

Paula Deen singling out the “valued” employee she claims is as black as the background board

 

 

For more info, including the video link to Deen’s uncalled for statement about her employee, see this post:

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/paula-deen-the-help/

 

 

 

 

In the next example of WTF were they thinking?, this ad was created to show how dogs are fed better than children. At least, that was their excuse for this utterly tasteless and tacky public service announcement that backfired. Unfortunately, the ad creators used a minority child as a stand in for a dog (possibly not realizing that down through history, many blacks, not just in America, but throughout the world were treated as if they were property and given scraps of food like pets). 

I made a few screen grabs because I don’t know how long the video will be up on the UK Telegraph’s site:

 

Pulled South African ad that caused controversy worldwide. Click the link below to see the full video

Pulled South African ad that caused controversy worldwide. In this frame, the child gets to lick the finger of a  rich woman as she ices a cake. Click the link below to see the full video

 

 

child gets to sit at womans feet as she feeds him

 

 

 

Scene of rich woman at her dinner table

Scene from the video of a rich woman eating her dinner while the child (as a stand in for a dog) waits for scraps

 

 

 

 

child waiting under dinner table to be fed

Child waiting to be fed

 

 

 

 

child getting fed after waiting under the table

Rich woman finally feeds her “pet”

 

 

 

Ah well, just file that video under “But their hearts were in the right place” or, “they meant well”

 

Link where entire video can be found:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/10958529/South-African-advert-showing-white-woman-feeding-black-child-like-dog-pulled-over-racism-claims.html

 

 

After enough public outcry the video was pulled. Here’s some of what was stated by the company when questioned on the ad:

“Both Ogilvy and Mather and Feed A Child apologised for any offence caused by the advertisement.

Alza Rautenbach, Feed a Child’s founder and spokesman, told South Africa’s Times it was “unfortunate” that what the charity had intended to be a strong statement against a social ill had turned into “a racial issue”.

“What if this advert changed a child’s life? What if this advert changed 3.5 million children’s lives? What if this was your child going to bed hungry tonight, and this advert can change that?” she said.

“The child was a character that the agency used. It wasn’t chosen for any specific reason – and yes, the idea was to use multiracial people, just as our country is. It doesn’t help to have an advert that is not representative.”  – quote from Alza Rautenbach, Feed a Child’s founder and spokesman.

 

Link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/10958529/South-African-advert-showing-white-woman-feeding-black-child-like-dog-pulled-over-racism-claims.html

 

 

I’m glad they pulled the ad, but what jumps out at me from the quote is how the child actor is referred to as “it” instead of a he. “The child was a character that the agency used. It wasn’t chosen for any specific reason.” 

 

Wow.  I also noticed that their defense in trying to rationalize this thing is to pit hungry children versus a tacky ad that inadvertently resurrects historical racism and slavery.  And guess what? Some of their defenders are also claiming the end justifies the means. I mean, how dare someone object to their using stereotypical imagery to get their point across! 

 

Well, at least they sorta owned up to it and pulled the ad.

 

For those who are new to this site, this blog attempts to refute much of what was “beloved” in the novel The Help for far too many people. I recognized some of the sayings that were used in the book and that were included in the movie as stereotypical propaganda, the kind that claimed to be positive in the portrayal of African Americans but were in reality, truly degrading.

For example, take a look at this excerpt from an actual earlier version of screenplay The Help:

 

Early script of The Help describes Aibileen, hitting the trope of the black Mammy to a T.

Early script of The Help describes Aibileen, hitting the trope of the black Mammy to a T.

 

 

 

And here’s what was changed:

 

Scenes from Dreamsworks script of The Help

Scenes from Dreamsworks script of The Help

 

 

 

Remember the description of Aibileen from both screenplays. What got deleted was “her expansive bosom.” And notice how Tate Taylor effs up royally when he tries to explain the character in an interview:

 

“Viola is just power. She’s just gonna bring such a truthfulness to this. The role of Aibileen, it be, it could go so awry.

It could be so cliché, you know the warm fuzzy big fat black woman that makes everything okay.  It would just really cheapen the character, really cheapen the story. Stories like that have been told. Viola is being very brave in showing the true other side of these ladies are where they’re at home. The loss, the poverty, the loneliness, how tired they are and then her ability to swallow it up for the family the next day.

Link: http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/the-help/interview-tate-taylor

 

 

I don’t think Taylor truly gets it either. Having Viola Davis carry extra weight to play the character of the docile, asexual hermit Aibileen, having the character  live alone (like Constantine) only to get up each morning to play the “strong black woman” who smothers Mae Mobley with love, and risks her life to help get the other maids to talk to “Miss Skeeter” so she can make everything okay, only she really has no life of her own except church and her job is the definition of a Mammy.

 

The Asexual, Solitary Mammy

The Asexual, Solitary Mammy

 

 

And here’s a quote from Viola Davis bemoaning why she has to play “The Mammy”:

 

It’s a role she had to think about long and hard before accepting. “Of course I had trepidations,” she tells ESSENCE.

Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multi-faceted and rich roles you’ve ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel in some ways it’s not a good message to send to Black people?”

 

Link: http://www.essence.com/2011/07/27/viola-davis-on-playing-a-maid-in-the-help/

 

 

And here’s how Minny is described:

 

Minny is described in the final Dreamworks screenplay of The Help

Minny is described in the final Dreamworks screenplay of The Help

 

 

 

And here a few of her Oscar winning lines that ironically, are as stereotypical as can be:

 

 

“Frying chicken make you tend to feel better about life” – Minny Jackson, from the movie The Help

 

 

Uh, no. Especially since fried chicken paired with African Americans has been used as a caricature of the culture, especially during segregation, yet Tate Taylor and Kathryn Stockett dared to go there, and Octavia Spencer went ahead and said the line.

 

Birth of a Nation, where a black legislator is eating a piece of fried chicken

The pro-KKK classic film Birth of a Nation, where a black legislator is shown eating a piece of fried chicken

 

 

It's Chicken Time! The stereotype of blacks loving chicken is resurrected in The Help. Note the stereotype of the bug eyed, dark as night black male

It’s Chicken Time! The stereotype of blacks loving chicken is resurrected in The Help. Note the stereotype of the bug eyed, dark as night black male

 

 

Old GE ad with the fried chicken and pickaninny stereotype

Old GE ad with the fried chicken and pickaninny stereotype. Black children were even used to further the stereotype of African Americans loving fried chicken

 

 

 

Somehow The Help escaped the fried chicken controversy, while Mary J Blige didn’t:

 

Mary J Blige Chicken loving Burger King commercial

Mary J Blige Chicken loving Burger King commercial

 

 

 

“Minny don’t burn no chicken.” – Minny Jackson, from the movie The Help, reinforcing the tired stereotype of black people enthralled with fried chicken

 

“Eat my shit!” – Minny Jackson, from the movie The Help (a modern quip that could be compared to putting “Hasta La Vista” into a period piece)

 

 

For more on the character of Minny Jackson, see this post:

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/what-about-frying-chicken/

 

 

 

Oh, and in my research for this site, I came upon this promo for Jackson, MS:

 

Mayor Allen Thompson, not even close to being a "progressive mayor" during segregation

Mayor Allen Thompson, not even close to being a “progressive mayor” during segregation

 

 

Here’s an actual photo of the Mayor Thompson showing off the police presence his city had in order to deal with civil rights demonstrators:

 

Mayor Allen Thompson and his "army"

Mayor Allen Thompson and his “army”

 

 

 

For more info, see this post:

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/real-housewives-of-jackson/

 

To be continued . . .

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