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In Defense of Slurs By: Jennifer Kabbany
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, August 30, 2001

IT’S COMMON KNOWLEDGE nowadays that Black Americans are the only humans allowed to say the word “nigger.” Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary even goes so far as to explain why: “Originally simply a dialectal variant of Negro, the term nigger is today acceptable only in black English; in all other contexts it is now generally regarded as virtually taboo because of the legacy of racial hatred that underlies the history of its use among whites, and its continuing use among a minority of speakers as a viciously hostile epithet.”

Keeping this in mind, let’s examine the recent Idaho case in which a white man faces felony charges, up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, for calling someone a nigger.

Long story short, there was a football game in Adams County, Idaho, in which some locals thought the referees, brought in from Boise, might be calling the game in an inappropriate manner. A local female journalist (Kimberly Rae) took a picture of the referees after the game, at which point one of the referees (a black man) tried to take the camera away from her. She screamed for her husband who came running and the scuffle quickly ended. Then the referees walked into the locker room.

As the dust settled, the journalist’s husband (Lonny Rae) noticed red burn marks from where the camera strap had been grabbed from around his wife’s neck. According to ABC News, the furious husband ran to the locker room, where Adams County Commissioner Ray Stoker was standing. Mr. Rae said to the commissioner: “You bring that nigger up here. I want to kick his fucking ass.”

No surprise in this politically correct nation, a few weeks later it’s Lonny Rae who is in big trouble with the law, not the referee who grabbed and wrestled with Kimberly Rae. Mr. Rae is facing felony charges because of this Idaho statute: “It shall be unlawful for any person, maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin …”

The Idaho prosecutor’s chutzpah in this instance is unbelievable. Here is a man whose wife had just been insulted and manhandled. Mr. Rae, in his anger, had called the guy a nigger. This does not imply that Mr. Rae is a racist, and that he wanted to beat the referee up because he was black. Mr. Rae simply called him a name in quite justifiable fury after finding visible marks on his wife.

But, alas, this is where the absurdity of so-called “hate-crime” legislation has brought this great country. America has become a nation of whining, thin-skinned victims. (Our forefathers are rolling in their graves.)

Certainly the word nigger is a horrible word. It should not be used, not by white people, not by black people, not by people of any race. But, I don’t blame Mr. Rae for being very upset at what happened to his wife, and I don’t blame him for his unfortunate slip of the tongue. Sometimes the word nigger is used. It happens. People should not face five years in jail or $5,000 in fines for using it. If the referee’s feelings were hurt, that is unfortunate, and perhaps an apology on both ends is in order. But jail time for this? C’mon people, wake up and smell the Orwellian Coffee.

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