Obama Said "Nigger", and the Media Lost Their Collective Shit

Somewhere in time between the first Million Man March and the present day, a consensus was formed that stated once a year, somewhere around the pseudo - holiday of Juneteenth, a discussion must occur between the media, the black community, Al Sharpton, and Don Lemon.  

 

The topic of discussion? "Nigger".

 

Every year, something happens that opens the door to the conversation. J-Lo says it in her song, the media wants to know can Puerto Ricans say "nigger". Riley Cooper threatens to "kill every nigger" at a country music concert then has to walk into a locker room full of them the next week. Kramer from Seinfeld gets pissed off at a comedy club and yells "NIGGER NIGGER NIGGER". Paula Dean calls one of her workers "Nigger", the media ponders if she said "nigger" or the more endearing "nig-ga". And if she did say "nig-ga", how is a black person in a rap video any different in saying "my nigga" (endearing) any different from the decedent of a Mississippi slave owner saying "my nigger" (possessive)? There are questions that need answering!

 

Insert, Don Lemon. 

 

This year, the event was especially arousing. If a David Letterman "Top 10" list was constructed of "People the World Is Most Anxiously Waiting to Hear Say 'Nigger'" (in any form or fashion), above Betty White and Pope Francis, the name most likely to sit atop the mountain would be Barack Hussein Obama. Let's be honest. Obama is possibly in the running for the "coolest President in history", however America as a whole has been waiting for Obama to do something "Nigger-ish" since he outlasted Hillary in '08. Surely in 8 years, he would slip up ONCE. Surely, in a moment of frustration (which no one can deny, he's had plenty opportunity to say "GOT DAMMIT NIGGA" or "These niggas TRIPPIN") he would sink in to the gutter most of his critiques think he arose from.

 

The problem is neither happened. President Obama's usage of the "Nigger" was not a slip up of comfort or an utterance out of frustration. It was intentional. It was articulate. It was calculated. So much so it caused the media, in its entirety, to completely lose its shit. 

CODE RED "Obama said 'Nigger', what do we do?"

 

FIRST they had to get a grasp of the context as to which the words came out of his mouth. 

"Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior." 

NOW.  They were forced with the decision to either (a) address his comment in its totality (which would come dangerously close to committing the crime of adhering to journalistic ethics), or (b)take the snippet out of statement and run with it for the sake of sensationalization.

Of course they chose door number two.

 

Door number one would require actually addressing the existence of racism in this "post racial society" days removed from a man committing mass murder in hopes of starting a race war. Door number one would require an honest conversation among a majority Caucasian media about everything from institutional racism to white privilege to the corruption of the justice system. 

 

Door number two was all too easy to walk through. All it took was booking 4 types of characters: 

  1.  The black person who believes the use of "Nigger" should be banned because "it sets us back fifty years".
  2.  The black person who uses "nigga" all the time, but dares any white people to use it. He even throws "nigga" out a few times on air for good measure (or to watch the remaining two cringe with awkwardness). 
  3. The Caucasian who can't figure out for the life of him why he can't use it if black folks do. 
  4. The Caucasian who believes eliminating "The N-Word" would eliminate the source of racism all together.

Again... Insert Don Lemon to moderate.  (Equal parts shuck, jive)

this nigga...

this nigga...

The problem with Obama's utilization of "Nigger" is it contradicts everything the media believes about racism. In America, the media treats racism like the old childhood game "Bloody Mary". If you walk into the darkest part if the south and say "Nigger" three times, racism MIGHT show up. Otherwise, it doesn't exist if nobody conjures it up. On the contrary, what the entire context of Obama's "Nigger" insists is that rather you call it by its name or not, racism is alive, well, and stares a good portion of Americans in the face every day.

If there are two things the South has mastered since the establishment of these United States (outside of football) it's barbecue and racism. Barbecue is a process. You prep it. You season it. You cook it over a low flame for long periods of time. Funny thing about barbecue in the South is it looks different no matter where you go. Some like it with a bold sauce, it's mild in other places. Some don't use sauce at all. It's still barbecue.  

Racism is no different. Building the institution of racism in the South was a process. It was prepped, seasoned, and smoked for centuries. Racism doesn't look the same everywhere you go, but we know it when we see it. "Nigger" is the sauce. It's the enhancement. It's not the meat of the situation. But the media doesn't get it. The media wants to throw a party, Obama said "I'll bring the meat", but the networks collectively said, "Nah... we'll just have sauce."