I almost made this an Ethics Quiz, but then decided that there is only one ethical answer.
Star high school quarterback Marcus Stokes posted a video of himself in a car singing a rap song that used the term “niggas.” Or maybe it was “niggers.” We can’t find out, you see, because our infantile, unethical news media will only write that he said the “N-word,” and the video has been deleted. Journalism!
Stokes’ video caused the University of Florida to rescind its scholarship offer. Stokes is white; there is little question that if he were the right color, singing the song and posting it would not have raised any issues at all. But as Yahoo!’s , “Saying the N-word as a white person goes into another territory,” at least in the hypocritical, race-obsessed worlds of sports and academia. observes
He is a kid. He was singing in his car. The song he was singing is commercially released and receives radio play. Yes, posting the video was stupid, but they don’t hand out football scholarships for intellectual acumen. This is a university grandstanding, virtue-signaling and racially pandering, and using an innocent teenager as a means to a dubious end. This isn’t merely unethical, it is despicable.
Oh, how wonderful it would be if Marcus refused to humble himself to such dastardly administrators, and explained articulately and defiantly that we cannot tolerate a double standard like this! If popular culture accepts and employs that “N-word,” whatever it is, someone of any hue singing the song, online or off, cannot be fairly punished or even criticized. But no, for the same reason he posted the video—this is not Thomas Paine we’re dealing with here, but a dumb jock— Stokes groveled an apology:
“I deeply apologize for the words in the song that I chose to say. It was hurtful and offensive to many people, and I regret that. I fully accept the consequences of my actions and respect the University of Florida’s decision to withdraw my scholarship offer to play football.”
“I was in my car listening to rap music, rapping along to the words, and posted a video on social media. I deeply apologize for the words in the song that I chose to say. It was hurtful and offensive to many people, and I regret that.”
“My intention was never to hurt anybody, and I recognize that even when going along with a song, my words still carry a lot of weight. I will strive to be better and become the best version of myself on and off the field. I know that learning from my mistakes is the first important step.”
No, of course he didn’t write that. It was ghost-drafted to maximize the chances of him getting a scholarship to play football somewhere else.
So the new standard is that even if a song is on the radio, a white kid can’t sing along, and definitely can’t video himself doing it, if it contains certain words, because that means that he has insufficiently accepted and absorbed the society- mandated race-based speech restrictions.
17 thoughts on “‘HA! You Fell For The Trap, White Boy!’”
I think that the last season of the revival of Law and Order contained dialogue that is all of this in a nutshell, when black Detective Bernard tells his white partner who dares to say that expulsion for the same behavior is excessive that “there is no reason for any white person to ever use that word.” That’s it, apparently. The Great and Powerful Woke has spoken. There is no vote, there is no appeal, there is nothing but swift and severe punishment if someone one particular color uses one particular word. This is the world we are headed toward.
Over my dead body, of course.
Just idle curiosity: Would “Honkey” fall into the same category?
This drives me crazy. Robert Sarver is being forced to sell his NBA Franchise for a number of alleged misbehaviors. But the one that drives me crazy is he is alleged to have asked his black, well-paid, head coach why an opposing player could call his, Sarver’s, well-paid center a “nigger,” using the word. That’s just nuts.
Sorry black guys. If “nigger” is kryptonite, you’ve got to stop using it as well.
If a white guy can’t say “nigger” not using it as a slur, surely black guys can’t say it as a slur or affectionately.
This poor guy made the unforgivable, if incomprehensible, mistake of thinking he was “one of the guys” among the black guys he plays with and hangs out.
White guilt rears its ugly head once again.
When will it ever end?
I’ve noticed a trend among people seeking social change–not a universal trend, but an annoyingly common one.
Stipulated: Many social groups have faced and continue to face prejudice, slander, and abuse at the hands of the dominant groups. It would have been better had this never happened, and taking steps now to counteract the effects of this abuse is a good step towards a healthier society.
The annoying trend is that many people in the groups that have faced abuse believe that the way to counteract the effects of the abuse is for them to be able to say whatever they feel like, with nobody being allowed to question or criticize them. Similarly, anyone not in the abused group is not allowed to say things the group doesn’t want said, and inversely can be compelled to say things the abused group wants them to say.
As gratifying as the role reversal of absolute social power may feel, this trend is not a step on the path to the future the members of the abused groups desire, unless that future is one where there are still socioeconomic systems of oppression serving a privileged group, except that the abused group becomes the new privileged oppressor. In which case, I suppose this path would lead them there, but I would be opposing them on their journey rather than aiding.
When humans bother to learn why freedom of speech is valuable and how to harness that value for themselves, I will help them take that path, and with their approval I could speak on their behalf in spaces they’d prefer not to visit.
To be sure, it’s fine for social groups to have private spaces unofficially (or sometimes officially) restricted to only members of their group. When people share key reference points in their experiences, they can communicate easily with each other and are likely to have aligned goals as well. The majority culture doesn’t always appreciate the importance of such spaces because they rarely have to go to any special effort to find spaces where outsiders are either absent or disinclined to interfere. It took me a while to understand the significance myself.
What’s not fine is demanding that the public space take on the same properties as a private group space. Anything said in public must be subject to free discussion. (Of course, we’ll have to teach people what intelligent discourse looks like so that they can maintain free discussion without it degenerating into pointless expressions of contempt. People need to learn that an argument someone makes can be thoughtful, pleasant, presented respectfully, in agreement with one’s own beliefs, and/or probably correct, but that these qualities are all completely separate and independent of each other.)
When any group, privileged or otherwise, starts using their private spaces to polarize members of their group against other groups, that’s when people might need to start deconstructing the premises and goals of the group in the public space and as many relevant private spaces as they can reach. I won’t go into all the different ways they can do that, but it’s usually much more subtle and respectful than fighting polarization with more polarization.
Long story short, if people don’t learn how a healthy society discusses issues, they’ll keep fighting the same battles over and over again, and everyone except the figureheads will lose.
You would not last ten minutes with this kind of explanation on most college campuses today.
You would likely be heckled, or pummeled, and the campus possibly firebombed, cars set afire, windows broken, wanton assaults, for defying the campus brownshirts all while school admins and mayors stand down and observe.
A good read on EA however.
Yeah, it’ll take all of the empathy-related mindsets to get this idea into people’s heads:
Background, so I send the right signals.
Reputation, so they trust that I’m trying to help.
Rapport, so they feel safe and calm.
Translation, so they understand what I’m talking about.
Surprise, so the idea gets past their defensive biases.
Deconstruction, so they see where their paradigms, goals, and choices don’t align with each other.
Inspiration, so they start thinking about the possibilities for more effective options.
Politics, so I have allies to back me up.
We’re also going to have to demonstrate that these mindsets work on the people whose speech they fear. The reason they fear free speech in the first place is because they’ve seen the dangerous side of it, what happens when people’s ignorance is allowed to echo without anyone deconstructing it. We need to show them what effective speech looks like. With a toolbox of foundational concepts, it’s not difficult to do much better than the current level of discourse.
I should also point out that singing a song someone else wrote does not constitute expressing an original thought, unless there’s some context I’m missing. If the song was not offensive when composed or when sung by the original artist, what makes it offensive when someone else sings it? By extension, how can it express racist views when a person of pallor sings it if it had no such connotations when a person of color writes it and sings it?
These aren’t rhetorical questions. I expect there are answers; it’s just that the people who have those answers still need to figure out what they are. If they refuse to, they’re not going to be taken very seriously.
If rap artists are writing songs that sound racist when unironically sung by people of different ethnicities, then maybe they should reflect on their choice of lyrics and how they are influencing their intended listeners.
Various human ethnicities have songs about themselves, both self-deprecating and self-affirming, and I acknowledge that it can feel weird when they’re sung by people from other ethnicities. If your target audience is your own group, then having fans from the outgroup can be awkward because the meaning they get from your music isn’t always quite the same as the one you intend to convey. Well, welcome to the diversity and inclusion party. It’s actually quite vibrant once you get used to it.
Which part of the word N- do you N- understand?
Er… Thomas Paine pretty much was at the level of a dumb jock. As could be said of George Bernard Shaw, deep down he was shallow. That’s precisely why his shallow and facile efforts eventually got him into such trouble when he took his show on the road*, much as Che Guevara found when he, too, took his show on the road.
I’m pretty sure both Che and Tom could have beaten this kid in Scrabble bu 100 points, though.
Again, you may be taking your eye off the ball. Paine had the sort of why-check-the-work-I-know-I-am-right approach that leads to rushing in where angels fear to tread – even if often right (though this does get results quicker, when it works as it sometimes did for Paine, as checking takes time even when there is nothing to fix after all). Just as he found out rather late what happened when instructing French revolutionaries, so also he would have blundered into a taboo area today. I am not suggesting simple stupidity, but rather more confidence than competence (as with Shaw, which I found once I learned some background that undercut his easy irony and sarcasm). So it is a distraction to point out that Paine had intelligence, when the issue is that he did not use it wisely.
First, the alumni of FSU need to cancel all contributions to this school.
Second, the federal government needs to interdict here on behalf of the boy’s civil rights.
Third, Anyone who attends FSU games or purchases FSU gear needs to reallocate their purchases.
Fourth, we, as a nation, need to differentiate between objective vs. subjective reality.
Fifth, If an object is deemed offensive, then it must be offensive to all, regardless of ethnic identity.
This boy’s career was turned around due to something he did in the privacy of his private vehicle, which he stupidly put on stupid TicToc. Tic Toc, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc all are the homeland for the stupid, insensitive, or hyper-sensitive members of humanity and all should be avoided by the intelligent, balanced portion of humanity.
The kid’s only transgression was the contrived apology.
Every time some poor schmuck raises the white flag thereby defying their innate sense of right and wrong, the neo-fascist Left is further emboldened to harass and destroy another cracker.
So far, tapping the vein of white guilt is an enduring winning strategy for those seeking power and revenge although the formula is dependent on whitey’ acquiescence. Only when targets of oppression stop giving permission to being oppressed does it ever stop. This is no different.