Warning: Graphic content follows. Words and video are in this blog that are nowhere near appropriate for most people to see, say or hear in public.
I'm not a Seahawks fan, but people are way overreacting to Richard Sherman's post-game interview. He made a fantastic, game-winning, send-your-team-to-the-Super-Bowl play, and immediately after was interviewed about a play he made on a player he didn't like. The response has ranged from finger-wagging to just plain shameful.
Before I get into the meat of this post, let's start with the source, in my opinion, of the problem.
In 1996, Chris Rock's HBO special, Bring The Pain, famously and hilariously makes the distinction between black people and "niggas." I'm a fan of Chris Rock. At the time, it was kinda-sorta more acceptable for black people to refer to other black people as "nigga," or "my nigga." The rationale was that we took something that was meant to demean and turned it into a insider thing of respect. Looking back, that was stupid. But that's not the point.
Chris Rock's famous rant about "niggas" made a specific distinction between "undesirable elements" and normal black people, and through that distinction made it okay for people to use the word who had no business using the words, and using it for its original purpose to boot. I got into several conversations with my more melanin-deprived friends on the East Coast in the months and years immediately following that HBO special that went something like this: "I fucking hate niggers, they're lazy and unmotivated and steal my stuff and my girl. Not you though, you're cool."
Just because Chris Rock said it doesn't make it okay for you to say it.
So, flash forward 18 years. Richard Sherman makes his play. He has his interview. Then, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, comes the internet response.
|Whoa, white dude. WTF?|
|For the record, Richard Sherman went to Stanford. As in, Ivy League. And he was a 3.9 student. Which means, even by the Chris Rock definition, he's not.|
|Wow. Speechless. Stay classy, dude.|
You can see the rest here.
By no means is this okay. The N-word isn't cool. You don't legitimize your "down" ness by spouting it off at every turn. And there is no distinction. We're black people, African-American, not niggers. You don't distinguish, you demean. Especially when you call someone who's done things, and is doing things, that you can't. Such as go from a 3.9 at Stanford to the best cornerback in the NFL.
Chris Rock was wrong.