BAYHAM: Hysteria and Hypocrisy Over Bad Language

Quick question: which president did the most to pass civil rights legislation in the 20th century?

If you said John F. Kennedy, then you obviously spent more time looking at the pictures in history books than reading the words.

Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas (!) has this distinction.

Next question: does anyone believe LBJ at some point during his stay in the White House said the abominable n-word?

Those who said no can enjoy their stay in fantasyland, but for those who answered in the affirmative my next question is this: should his name be stripped from public buildings and other places of honor for having uttered the intolerable word?

If not, why?

And what did President Barack Obama say about former Klansman and West Virginia US Senator Robert Byrd? “He was an elder statesman, and he was my friend,” said the 44th president, pretty high praise from the nation’s first black president about a politician who was not unfamiliar with the n-word.

While the n-word is certainly ugly and can cost some people their job, name and/or business, it seems that, like a handgun in San Francisco, some people have “licenses” to brandish it.

Show me a rapper who has ever been dropped from a record label for dropping the n-word in a song.

You’re more likely to hear boisterous laughter at a Kat Williams comedy performance than walkouts and boos when the diminutive jokester uses it.

Warren Beatty said it in the political dark comedy Bulworth, yet I never heard his movies being boycotted by any prominent black ministers or organizations.

Did Samuel L. Jackson punch Quentin Tarantino for yelling “it” out in his face on the set of Pulp Fiction?

Apparently the most radioactive term in the English language was used, even by white folk, for entertainment purposes.

And who decides when it’s cool to throw it out there?

People who mostly vote Democratic and are hypocritical.

When you see the same folks hyperventilating on television over Paula Deen’s admission of having said it decades ago or any other non-black public figure accused of having said the n-word at some point in their life, start to take them seriously only after you read about them picketing a rap concert or demanding Apple remove all songs from their iTunes selection with the offensive n-word.

So should a person who has ever said the n-word, no matter the context or the distance in the past, commit perjury if such an absurd question were to come up in a trial?

And for those souls who refuse to lie under oath from either fear of legal consequences or fear of God, and admit having done so, what “non-legal” societal penalty should they face?

Is there a point when this blemish will be expunged from their record, or shall they become the 21st century’s lepers?

Is telling a black joke worse than committing a violent crime, such as shooting someone?

The latter will get forgiveness sooner than the former, and the felon’s next employer will receive a tax credit.

And what could literally be the million dollar question for those who find themselves on the wrong end of litigation, does having said the n-word make one a racist?

The perpetual outrage crowd cannot answer these questions, at least with a straight face, as they’re making up their faux hysteria as they go along, and applying their outrage selectively.

Here are the broader consequences of Paula Deen’s admission, society’s unmerciful rejection of her apology (was she supposed to offer it to the bank robber who put a gun to her head decades ago?) and the financial hemorrhaging that has followed.

Business owners and counsel for entities accused, justly or unjustly, are going to seek expedited settlements to keep the allegations out of the public eye.

And while some of the settlements might be generous for the handful of accusers, the real winners in this will not be blacks but attorneys.

Plaintiff lawyers are going to start working the “have you ever said the word” tactic in their cases turning trials related to on job racial discrimination into bitter media circuses that will severely damage reputations, including defendants who are eventually found innocent.

Allegations make bold headlines, retractions make Page 2 small print.

Yet the worst fallout will ironically land on the black community, as non-black business owners fearing the possibility of one day being dragged into a bogus racial discrimination lawsuit will skip the “potential settlement” part and “go in a different direction” when it comes to new hires.

For a segment of the population struggling with 13.5% unemployment and an above average poverty rate, that outcome is a harsh and unwelcome reality though it is a swell bargain for the political haymakers and the pinstriped rainmakers.

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