21 thoughts on “N-Word and Upward

  1. I don’t know. For me, this is starting to get ridiculous. I abhor racism, but am very much on board for personal freedom – even for things I don’t like. We are creating a world where even our private conversations are open game for these events.

    Can we not just realize that these oldsters (including Sterling) grew up in a different time with different mores? I don’t like it, but I’m not comfortable tearing down a lifetime of work based on something that wasn’t meant for my ear to begin with. I (and I’m guessing you, the reader) have said things that you’d be embarrassed of. Maybe in anger, humor, or feelings that you don’t hold anymore. Lucky for us, those conversations haven’t made their way to the public forefront yet!

    This will end when the tables turn. When the secretary that I work with has her life ruined due to one of her rants about men (sexist! – fire her!). When one of my former warehouse workers makes fun of white guys for the music we listen to (happened to me! – Fire him! – Racist!). When one of my soccer players is surprised that a non-hispanic white guy is actually a good player (Expel him! – Racist!)

    At that point, hopefully this madness will end.

    If you’ve read this far (doubtful), I would be fine nailing this jackass to the wall if there was evidence of racism in fulfilling his duties. I would be fine with nailing Sterling to the wall when he got in trouble for discriminatory renting practices (nobody actually cared about that because it wasn’t salacious).

    Just my thoughts from an increasingly scared white guy that’s getting afraid to say anything to anyone…

    • I’m sorry, I just don’t accept the “he’s old, he’s from another era” excuse. Not anymore. Sherfiff Copeland is 82, which means he was in his ’30s when this country was going through a massive struggle for Civil Rights. He would have noticed.

      The word he used has been universally recognized as a term of virulent racism for the entirety of this man’s life. He knows it’s racist. He’s not confused.

      I understand that language changes, and sometimes older people have a hard time keeping up. It would be one thing if he couldn’t tell the difference between “colored person” and “person of color” for example. This is a different case.

      Calling the black president a nigger, then doubling down on it when confronted, that’s just racist. It’s not “clueless old guy who doesn’t know any better.” He knows better and doesn’t care.

      • All this is true. He is a deplorable human being. He deserves social backlash. But this was overheard in a restaurant, where he was very likely just shooting the shit with some people of like mind. If he’d said this in a public statement, I could support the calls for him to step down. If he’d Tweeted that the president was an N-word, sure.

        But this man was in a casual setting. I could see making him go to sensitivity training or something like that so he can learn to watch his damn mouth. Maybe some increased oversight to make sure he’s not putting this into practice in his work. That sort of thing. Demands for him to step down are excessive and smell of thoughtcrime.

        • Casual setting, yes. But it was public enough that people heard him. He’s supposed to be an authority figure. He’s an officer of the law. People are correct to be angered that someone who’s supposed to be impartial and fair would have such deeply-held biases.

          • Yes. People are correct to be angered. And concerned. As I said, there should be a close examination of this man’s performance in his office. If it is found that he has implemented discriminatory practices, then yes, he should no longer hold the office he now does. Note carefully that I am not saying his racism is okay, or should be excused and ignored.

      • You misunderstand me. I’m not claiming he’s not a racist. If I had to bet, I’d bet he probably is (I don’t know him, so I’ll withhold judgement). Regardless, he gets to be as racist as he’d like as long as he doesn’t act on it. As far as I’m concerned, a personal conversation in a restaurant is not acting on it. If he only arrests black people, etc. then we have a problem. As far as doubling down, that makes him not a liar. It doesn’t mean he was asked to be put in this situation. He doesn’t owe it to you to lie about it to make you feel better.

        My point about the oldsters is this, a lot of them were racist. My grandpa referred to Japanese as “F’ing Japs”. It made me cringe every time. I once told him that it’s not how “we” speak anymore. He impolitely explained to me that he’d call them whatever he’d like as he was the one that mopped his friends blood out of the ships during the war…

        Fair enough. I didn’t like it, but what’re you going to do? His unwillingness to change his vernacular didn’t change the fact that he was openminded on a personal level. He judged people as people (oddly enough, including “F’ing Japs.”)

        Two of his daughters married Mexicans in the ’60s, in the central valley of California. Kind of a big deal back then. He was a devoted father-in-law to my uncles and grandfather to his half-breed grandchildren, my cousins. To turn his life into a soundbite because he said “F’ing Japs” is ignorant.

        That’s my point. You don’t know this guy. He may be a great guy with an imperfection which happens to be a hot button issue for you. So what? Get over yourself.

        I’m sure you’re probably a great guy too. I’m sure you probably have done or said things in private that would piss people off. You just haven’t had the misfortune of being called out on it. It makes you luckier than him, not better.

          • Clearly not.

            Such self-importance and intolerance for the diversity that you claim to love. Truly, only tolerance and diversity on your terms.

            And Napoleon’s dogs growl on…

          • Yeah, Bronc, I’ve always found that to be the most asinine argument. If you say you’re tolerant, you have to tolerate racists!

            Bullshit. I mean, I could say the same thing about anything. If you say you’re tolerant, you have to tolerate murderers! Or rapists! Or bank robbers!

            There are plenty of things that nobody should tolerate. Hatred towards a group of people for merely existing is one of those things.

            Tolerance is only meant to be applied to things that don’t cause harm to others.

        • I was with you and thinking you sounded like an open-minded, accepting, flexible dude. I have roots in the deep south going back to the most horrible times but was raised in California. You gotta give a lot of slack sometimes and walk away. I understood you, that it was hard to argue with until, “Get over yourself.”

          You’re giving some crotchety, old racist law-enforcer more benefit of the doubt than our venerable host.

    • “I abhor racism, but am very much on board for personal freedom – even for things I don’t like. We are creating a world where even our private conversations are open game for these events . . . I don’t like it, but I’m not comfortable tearing down a lifetime of work based on something that wasn’t meant for my ear to begin with.”

      Freedom of speech means he can say it. I will fight for that freedom, even for people to say things that I personally find abhorrent.

      That does not mean, however, that anyone is guaranteed that their free speech to be consequence free.

      We CANNOT tolerate racism among elected officials – especially a police commissioner! – even in their time off. Racists don’t just stop being racist when they’re at work. We don’t need someone like that in a position with that much power to discriminate.

      And I don’t need to know him to know that he’s racist. A white person who refers to a black person using that kind of hateful slur is automatically a racist, end of story.

      BTW, I’m seeing from your examples that you’re one of those people who believes that reverse racism is a thing. That demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about what racism actually involves. Like to the point that I’m not even going to bother trying to explain it to you.

  2. Reverse racism is a thing. To think that a global minority can’t act as a local majority (and therefore exert racism) is silly.

    I had planned to be done with this thing for all of our sakes, but I couldn’t resist the Mark Twain cove/Tahoe thing. If you’re unaware, apparently a cove can’t be named after him based on his racist views towards Indians. Literally ahead of his time regarding black people, but apparently not Indians….

    So, of course my question is, should the racist views of a man that’s been dead for over a century disqualify his having a cove named for him?

    Obviously, we all know that I think it should be named for him as a great writer, local resident of the area, etc. I’m curious to know what you think…

    BTW, I’m begging for you to not dodge this question. I would sincerely (no sarcasm at all) love to know what you guys think. It’s clear that you’re bright people, and that our brains come from very different places and I can’t help but think that your answer to this might help me understand yours…

    • Okay, I’ll give you my take on reverse racism.

      When you have a group of people who have been systematically dehumanized, deprived of basic rights, and continue to suffer the long-term (over many generations) effects of discrimination against themselves and their ancestors, and they make negative comments against the ethnic group that as a whole oppressed them, you CANNOT put that in the same category as what the oppressors did. It isn’t even close to the same thing.

      Having someone make fun of your musical choices or surprised at your abilities because you’re a white person is so un-fucking-comparable to suffering true racism that saying so ventures into truly offensive territory. If you haven’t spent your life fearing for your safety, being turned down for jobs, having trouble finding decent housing, being pushed aside and treated as insignificant or less than human strictly because of your race, then you have NOT experienced racism.

      At most, you’ve experienced prejudice and dickishness. And I’m even willing to overlook dickishness if it’s backlash against the so-much-worse shit that they’ve lived with. I’m not saying that makes it okay, but comparing that to racism is like comparing being bumped into on the street with being thrown off a bridge.

      • I appreciate your response, but I honestly (again, not trying to be an ass about this – I know how intentions can be misinterpreted on the interenet) think you are railroading the definition of racism.

        From google: rac·ism

        the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

        I think that’s the definition most of us are working with. I hear you and your point, but I think you need to pick a different/stronger word than racism.

        BTW, I truly appreciate your response about the cove, but perhaps I asked the wrong question. Do YOU feel like Mark Twain should be recognized as so many others are?

        Essentially, where’s the line? Ultimately, this is a trap question and I end up spring Abe Lincoln as a racist on you (to save the time). Really, we need to get our shit straight on this. Either there’s a context for racism (being human) or their isn’t. If we’re going to give Abe Lincoln a pass (when he used the n-word and told racist jokes), but we’re not willing to slide a bit for Mark Twain or these oldsters, where does that leave us and why? Do we institute a random Roe v. Wade of racism? 100 years old and dead is ok to be racist, but 82 and alive isn’t?

        I am very uncomfortable with arbitrary lines being applied arbitrarily. You should be too, cuz sometimes you’re on the shit end of the stick…

    • As for the cove thing . . .

      It’s not that he can’t have *a* cove named after him. He just can’t have *that* cove. The objection to the name is coming from the Washoe Tribe, whose ancestral homeland it’s on.

      Their feelings about it take precedence over people who want to honor someone who’s not even living, and who can be – and is – honored in a zillion other ways.

      Respecting their wishes about something like this, which has zero impact on any of the rest of us, is the very least we can do.

  3. Oldness McJowels is indeed free to speak his mind, per the First Amendment.

    He just ain’t free to keep his taxpayer-funded job as a peace officer when he shoots off at the mouth. He’s full of hate and spite and I have no doubt what will happen when he or one of the officers under him decide to pull over “a car full’a them niggers”.

    The best thing about the future is that he’s not gonna be in it.

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