They really, really, really want to use racist slurs

Dennis Prager is upset that he “isn’t allowed” to use the n-word.

He’s wrong, though. There is no n-word police, anyone can use the term any time they want, there isn’t a gang of leftists waiting to kneecap you for saying those two syllables. Go ahead, say it, Dennis!

The only consequence is that it confirms you’re a racist. But then, wanting to say it is sufficient to affirm that, so mission accomplished, Dennis Prager.

Anyway, it’s just the strangest thing to desire.


  1. Larry says

    What he means, of course, is he wants to be able to say the “n-word” without consequences.

  2. says

    Perhaps Prager was disturbed that modern concerns make it difficult for him to engage in an intellectual and carefree exercise like a scholarly discussion of Huckleberry Finn. He must cringe in fear that some members of the imaginary language police would pounce on him while he expatiates on the character of Jim (who is obviously a jail-worthy criminal, because he robbed his owner of personal property by running away — shocking!).

  3. garysturgess says

    Oh FFS. You have a Republican President, who has just gotten off scot free from impeachment, because of a right wing Senate. And he still thinks the left is in control of the culture that includes Alt Right marches resulting in homocides?

    I’m about as left wing as I can be, but even I don’t think we should have 0% conservatism. These idiots will never be satisfied until they have achieved 100% conservatism, and then they’ll eat themselves because they’ll have run out of enemies.

  4. raven says

    Anyway, it’s just the strangest thing to desire.

    Among other things.
    It is also a trivial and very stupid thing to desire.
    It says Dennis Prager is as bright as Jordan Peterson with just as much worthwhile to say.
    Which is comparable to any random concern troll on the internet and less than my cat.

    We are also not free any more to buy and sell black people as slaves.
    We are not free to get a mob of white people together and kill random black people for no reason either.
    Women got the right to vote a century ago.
    For Dennis Prager, it has all been downhill since the Enlightenment.

  5. unclefrogy says

    I like it that the a holes can so freely make it clear what they are.
    I guess he never heard the old saying “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool then speak up and remove all doubt”
    uncle frogy

  6. robro says

    raven @ #6

    We are not free to get a mob of white people together and kill random black people for no reason either.

    I hope you’re right but I’m not 100% sure that it couldn’t happen these days. There are a lot of very messed up people around who think killing black people would do the country a world of good, along with some Muslims and some Mexicans while they’re at it. Then our POS president would get them off and award them with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  7. waydude says

    “I can’t say just about the worst insult we have ever imagined about a group of people that were enslaved and subject to this day to systemic and endemic racism without any consequences! Totalitarianism!”

    I do not think it means what you think it means

  8. hemidactylus says

    What really astounds me is when white people feel discriminated against by the acceptable use of the word by black people but it being verboten when used by us as if the two usages could ever be considered similar. Opinions of acceptability of usage by black people varies amongst black people and I have no place to opine there.

    I recall buying a CD by Busta Rhymes because I loved his rapid fire style as I heard it on radio and video friendly songs and putting it in my car stereo and cranking it up and immediately saying to myself “No this isn’t meant for me” because the word. Yipes. Awkward!

    I watched Django Unchained as I was invited by some black friends (a fave film of theirs). I hated it and felt a bit uncomfortable because the word was itself a supporting actor. I mean if it comes up occasionally in movies or hiphop songs no biggie but damn!

  9. says

    You know, he’s partially right. He’s just blaming the wrong people.
    It is idiotic that it’s problematic to use the ‘n-word’. It’s just that it’s not ‘the Left’ who made it a problem. It’s the fault of racist assholes who specifically chose the term to additionally communicate their unwarranted animus towards people when referring to them. If we lived in a world where that idiocy wasn’t a thing, no one would have ever had a problem with the term.
    The desire to use that term in particular, in light of the well-known history and ongoing use of what the term is intended to communicate is telling.
    Someone: “So, you want to use terms specifically chosen instead of other terms in order to communicate that the speaker feels animus towards a group?”
    Racist: “No, I just want to prove I can do it if I want to.”
    Someone: “And you did it, so you proved you wanted to do it, like you said?”
    Racist: “Nooo… It’s just that I’m making the point that I can do it if I want to.”
    Someone: “Sure, and you wanted to, so you did it, proving you could do it, since you wanted to.”
    Racist: “No! I said ‘if’ I wanted to!”
    Someone: “So you expect me to believe this just so happened to be a randomly-selected activity meant to prove your autonomy, when your autonomy was never in question. Because it’s awfully coincidental that so many people just so happen to choose things like this as the issue to highlight their autonomy, instead proving that they could do something ‘if’ they wanted to by wearing an elegant ball gown to an event even though they don’t specifically want to, just to highlight their autonomy.”
    They want to openly communicate their animus without having to justify it, since that would be a losing proposition. So since they can’t justify it, and don’t want to give up the animus and communicating it, they hope that whenever they’re criticized for it, they can obscure the real issue by claiming they’re merely making a point of supporting autonomy in general.

  10. drew says

    No, he’s saying that to trigger the libs, like he apparently just did. Then he can step back and do his “what? I’m just talkin’ about Shaft” routine.

  11. wsierichs says

    I was born in Richmond, Va., in 1952 and grew up a few miles down river. My mother (a native of Richmond) made it verrrryyyy clear to me and my younger brother were never to use the N-word. That’s because she grew up knowing black people who worked for her parents (farming and domestic work in the 1930s-1960s.). I remember one of them. She punished my brother once when he used it. This is not “political correctness. My parents were not liberals on the civil rights movement nor were they PC. But my mother (father was a Yankee) had a very strong personal bias against using the N-word.

    Oh, and my high school in southern Va. was desegregated in 1967, when I started the 10th grade. I had black classmates (in front, behind or beside me in various classes) for 3 years. About a third of my graduating class was black. I have nothing but hatred for racists and segregationists, because I’ve seen both side of the seg/deseg issue and I know segregation was 100 percent bull. I had no problems with my black classmates. I don’t know if there were any racial incidents in my time. There might have been, but I did not hear of any. (Note that I was not the most gossip-connected student.) But again, the only problems with desegregation have always come from the segregationists as far as I can see. I have never heard of black students starting any stuff. It’s the parents and some (not all) brainwashed racist children.

    So I’m not some liberal being “triggered.” I know for a fact that the N-word is nothing but mindless, vile bigotry.

  12. says

    It’s not even anything inherent to that specific arrangement of letters.

    It’s the baggage attached to that arrangement of letters. Baggage piled high and deep by white people. And much of that baggage is a nasty history of violence against the targets of that word, inflicted by white people. Perpetuated to this day by white people. So for a white dude to have the nerve to use that word — and it ain’t about if he “can” — for a white dude to insist that he should be able to use that word, wield that weapon, regardless of who he may hurt with it, and without consequence, is the height of white audacity.

    We don’t get to say, “ignore the baggage and history of this word, kthxbai.” We get to sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and listen to the people we’ve harmed with that word and all the attendant baggage that WE piled up.

  13. yjw11374 says

    Back when I still gave Prager the benefit of the doubt, his crowd was still publishing those ‘The Case for Censorship’ in Commentary, etc, and bemoaning the debasement of American culture by celebrity thugs. Makes me want to puke (of course, I have the flu—and that doesn’t help either). Prager and flu—prognosis negative!

  14. imback says

    Samantha Bee did a whole segment on Prager U this week on Full Frontal. She compared it to Monsters University, unfavorably.

  15. davidc1 says

    Watched a bit of Pulp Fiction last night ,more N -words flying around than you could shake a stick at .
    How come Q T is allowed to use it ,i know it is over 20 years old ,i did notice the difference between the N -word and Negro when S L J was talking on the phone to V R .

  16. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    It utterly astounds me that conservatives flip out over this one word–one word for which there are countless synonyms, unless one’s real intent is to repress and intimidate. This one word is the last word that many black men and women heard before they died horrible deaths. What’s next? Building models of the crematoria at Auschwitz for a table in his office? Putting “Arbeit macht frei” above his door. Sending gold pendants of sniper rifles to the descendents of Martin Luther King?

    Frankly, I don’t want him to use the n-word. He’ll never see a black face. I want him to use the c-word around his wife. He’ll never taste the arsenic in his coffee.

  17. katahdin says

    So how do you think current editions of Huckleberry Finn should handle Jim’s name. There is at least one which has excised the n-word. And should the original name ever be used in literary discussions of the book?

  18. says

    So how do you think current editions of Huckleberry Finn should handle Jim’s name.

    I think there’s room for multiple editions. I wouldn’t want the world to lose all trace of the original version, but if there’s a version or two that are popular that don’t use the word, I’m fine with that.

    And should the word ever be used in literary discussions of the book? Sure. It doesn’t have to be used for most discussions. Even in most discussions in the use of the word, you can introduce the topic, use the word once for effect and/or clarity, then continue the discussion using “the n-word” or “the word” or whatever other placeholder seems appropriate.

    I also think that those “literary” discussions of the word shouldn’t happen before high school, at least. I don’t think it’s easy to get 30 8th graders together in the same class and have the all be mature enough to handle such a discussion. Could happen. Kids are smart, but by definition not mature. If they have the right information and the right amount of self-control you can’t get an entire class to stop having immature impulses, but you might be able to gather a class where all 30 stop themselves from acting on them. Since I wouldn’t trust that, though, I wouldn’t schedule the unredacted book for an 8th grade class.

    It’s not really about banning topics, it’s about doing them right. If your audience isn’t ready to have the conversation, then delay the conversation until they are.

    Note that it’s very different when it’s a parent and one or two children. In that case you know the kids better, can assess the situation better, and there’s no harm in simply stopping early for the day and moving on to something else. It’s also true that the kids might be less tempted to act out without 29 of their peers around. The one adult to one or two kids ratio changes things significantly.

    So if you want to discuss this stuff with your kids while they’re still in 8th grade (or 6th or 4th), I’m sure you know your kids better than I do and so I leave that decision in your hands.

    But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the situation of Prager is nothing like that. It’s not at home. It’s not private. It’s not even limited to 30 kids. There’s no controls on the discussion. There’s no trust built up with the audience. (In fact, there’s a history of conservative racism that must be considered as part of the context.) This isn’t about whether or not Huck Finn must be abandoned. This is about conservatives whining that they’re oppressed because people are asking them to treat others with respect. Fuck that noise.

  19. unclefrogy says

    Crip Dyke I would add that in Huck Finn that was Jim’s name and his plight was portrayed with a fair amount of sympathy as the boys confronted the reality.
    and absolutely the question of twain and the modern conservatives attitudes are very different and stated better then I could I just get mad and the words get all tangled up with fuck you’s
    uncle frogy

  20. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I think it is important to view works like Huckleberry Finn in historical context. Twain was writing in the aftermath of the 1876 Presidential election, which awarded the Presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes in part for support to end Reconstruction. I think it is arguable that Twain’s goal in writing the book was at least in part to humanize black Americans. I have the impression that the n-word is used with less frequency as Huck comes to sympathize with Jim’s desire to free himself and his family, finally saying, “All right, I’ll go to hell!” in deciding to help Jim.
    The fact that Twain uses the n-word reflects common usage at the time. If I were teaching the book in a class, I would use the term “n-word” in discussions of that usage. Only if I were reading passages directly from the page would I consider using the actual word, and even then, I would certainly think twice before I, as a white man, read them. In Twain’s work, use of the word does not reflect well on those who use it.
    And now we have over very nearly 135 years of additional history of lynching, of redlining, of destroying prosperous black businesses and townships and of racism, be it institutionalized or unconscious. We should no more want to use that word than we want to tell rape jokes–and if someone does want to do either, that tells us something very unflattering about them.