Joe Walsh, who we just wrote about the other day, was cut-off on air by his radio station for using the racist terms “n*gg*r” and “sp*c.” He later reused those words in an angry tweet, without censoring, about what he could and could not say on air. For Joe Walsh, this is about his rights to treat people like garbage – because that is what he does best. But don’t worry, White Supremacist radio listeners, he’s back on the air. Because Joe Walsh’s slurs aren’t gonna keep him from maintaining his audience.
If you want to listen to the portion of his radio show that deals with the issue of unacceptable slurs, start here at the 30:50 moment. In one sense he’s making an argument – which we’ll get back to – that if the mainstream media find the term “r*dsk*ns” to be offensive, they should refer to it in the same way they do other racist slurs. But in the interest, he says, of being “adult” about the topic, Joe Walsh – a white man with some serious racist issues – asks his white, Tea Party, racist audience to call in and inform him what the “N-word” means.
He really wants to say and hear that word in its glory.
“I’m assuming it’s terrible because he [Don Lemon] won’t say it.” So he’s baiting, obviously. And using the lure of the prospect of being able to say the “N-word” on-air as a catch for his abundantly white audience. He continues baiting by playing some more Don Lemon, who makes a distinction between the word “Negro” (which to me sounds like Walsh repeats and runs through his mouth like a thirsty man) and the referent slur, which Lemon spells out but won’t say out loud. Walsh teases about the “N-word” being “Negro” and halfway through his supposed revelation, he’s interrupted by commercials.
After over two minutes of ads, he comes back to say he wasn’t facing technical difficulties. “I think I said something that management didn’t want me to say and I don’t think it was ‘R*dsk*ns, I think it was HEY HEY—” And then he’s cut off again for a traffic report.
He then tweets:
Just got kicked off the air until further notice. Tried to have honest discussion about racist terms and management censored my language.
Yes. Very honest it was. No race baiting. None whatsoever.
Of course he was informed why:
Found out if I said R[redacted] or Cracker or Redneck Bible Thumper, I could stay on. But if I said N[redacted] or S[redacted], they cut me off.
Right. Because “redneck” and “cracker” are violent slurs used before genocidal campaigns by the majority population. No, wait…
“Further notice” didn’t last too long , though. Since Joe Walsh is a wealthy angry white male with a white male fanbase, he’s back on the air the next day. And defiant as ever he begins the next radio show saying:
I’m going to continue to have that dialogue. And I’m not offending anybody and I’m not pointing a finger at anybody. This country better grow up and get over all these names.
Yeah, see, that’s the problem, Joe. This is not a dialog. You’re a White man with an obviously racist perspective hosting a radio show for other conservative whites about your rights to use racist slurs. Growing up means you leave childish taunting names behind, dumbass.
Listening to this episode (and I love myself too much to hear the whole thing. It is, after all, AM radio), I also noticed that he refuses to call Obama “President.” Isn’t that curious? Huh. Wonder why…
But let’s talk about what validity that Walsh has. His main argument – as flawed as it is – was that media outlets, including purportedly liberal ones (though if he believes Don Lemon is a liberal, he’s deluded) consistently and without equivocation use the anti-Native slur “r*dsk*n.” As I’ve mentioned some times here at Forward Progressives, I asterisk-out or otherwise avoid the term whenever I can. I do the same on Twitter and Facebook. That is an editorial decision, and not everybody who finds the term offensive or derogatory does the same. The mass media doesn’t, and that may be due to several factors such as page hits and ease of understanding. But I believe that the term is on its way out of respectability and when that happens, it will be treated as anti-black slurs, anti-woman slurs, anti-Latino slurs.
Which is to say that White conservative blowhards like Walsh will probably really, really want to say them in public – like he obviously wanted to spew those slurs – but the public blow-back will be decisive.
Because, you know, America has found out that shaming people for using certain racist words is effective. What we haven’t figured out is how to identify racist behavior so much.
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