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Diversity in Modern Society


#2952

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#2953

MASH literally did an episode on this.


#2954

So did All In The Family, I believe. Archie stood up to a group of KKK members (in Queens? In the 70’s?).

It’s ridiculously dated, now, but All In The Family was the first introduction a lot of people had to the racial, generational and ethnic problems that we’re still facing today.


#2955

More of this shit:


#2956

This is a problem with even discussing racism any more. Mortensen didn’t use the word in a racist context but as part of a much larger discussion how racism has changed since the time the movie is set. However, because a “twitter user” claimed that 'the oxygen immediately left the room," Mortensen is now a racist. Even his quote is being taken out of context to claim that he said since people don’t openly use racial slurs anymore, race relations have improved, when his point was the opposite. Racism has adapted so that it isn’t overt but still as strong as ever.

So, some might say we should have a serious discussion about racism in this country, but as soon as anyone does have a serious discussion about it, there will be people all too ready to pick apart and take any word out of context to basically just fuck with people. So, it stays quiet and under the radar.


#2957

That’s an extreme mischaracterization of what the article says and what happened.


#2958

The ref is under investigation for having a racist past…


#2959

#2960

It is just absurd. I wonder if the n-word will eventually be banned from the dictionary.


#2961

No.


#2962

How so? The article says the intent was taken out of context for twitter outrage.


#2963

Maybe I misunderstood what Jonny wrote, it seemed like he was saying that the article took the quote out of context.

But beyond that no one, especially not in the article is saying Mortensen is a racist which was the main thrust of his claim.


#2964

“One person tweeted I said that word and the room went silent. The room did not go silent. There was no context given, and that’s regrettable. It’s a serious thing to throw around. To accuse someone of being racist without giving context of what they were talking about, that’s not only unfair to me but it’s also damaging to social discourse. As the people who were in the room know, the context in which I used the word, which is shocking to people still, especially coming from a white person, it was to talk about the need for each generation to keep working. It does not disappear. We always have to be wary of it. That’s what I was talking about.”

Mortensen certainly felt he was being called a racist, and that’s the way the tweet came off. “Mortensen dropped the N-word” and “This should be bigger news.” That’s the way it was characterized.


#2965

Keep in mind that word wasn’t considered rascist back then, person who used may did it for jerkish reason, but it was also common term for African American (by other). Like the guy in gym in Million Dollar Baby.


#2966

No, it was always racist.


#2967

Nope. When people invented that word, it was. The later it got spread and people used it commonly, even in the most benign meaning for them. Some gang members now (and probably when gangsters arisen) use it without its full meaning.


#2968

Your first claim is that it wasn’t racist “back then” and now it’s that it isn’t racist now. Those are two very different arguments.


#2969

However, I agree it wasn’t “considered” racist, but it was generally part of an accepted racist condition that assigned African Americans a second-class place in society. Even if a person used the term simply to refer to a black person, it always had the connotation that that person was less than a white one.

“Colored” has a much more ambiguous development as it was also used by people who sympathized with the plight of blacks in America and around the colonial and post-colonial world. After all, it’s still called the NAACP even though no one uses the C in conversation anymore. You’ll hardly ever here anyone say the word “negro” anymore either but there is still the UNCF out their trying to help black students go to college.


#2970

I would basically agree with this. And I’ll add that Mortenson’s use of it is complicated. There isn’t agreement within the black community about using or not using the word (and the -a vs. -er ending is significant). I lean toward context. If I were teaching Huckleberry Finn or Kendrick Lamar I would use the word in that context. In the classroom I have a veto policy, though, where if one student prefers saying “the ‘n’ word” instead of the word, that’s what we’ll do.


#2971

Lenny Bruce has the famous piece where he runs down the list of every offensive racial slur asking if there are any in the audience. Then at the end, of course, he says that we should use these words so much and so often that they lose any power to make a six-year-old kid cry when someone calls him that in school.

Mortensen’s broader point goes there as well. Not saying it or calling it the “N-word” (capitalized always), gives it the “Voldemort” level of power and fear to invoke an involuntary emotional response. At the same time, calling it the “N-word” doesn’t actually change the way people behave and treat each other. It just teaches them to be careful about it.

However, we generally avoid talking about it sanely because everyone is so touchy about the words and ready to attack anything out of all proportion to context. On the other hand, it hasn’t changed at all from Bruce’s days as far as how this unspoken tension finds its way into stand-up comedy.