Monday, July 20, 2009

Maloney Uses N-word, So What!

Politico's Glenn Thrush is reporting that House Representative Carolyn Maloney used the N-word in relating a complaint voiced to her about Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic Senator also from NY. Maloney, apparently against the advice of the national democratic leadership, is challenging Gillibrand in the Democratic primary. In relating her story, Maloney quoted the complainant who used the word "nigger" instead of saying "the N-word." I say so what?

This is certainly a political mistake on her part both to use the word and not to appear to give deference and respect by using n-word as a substitute. And Representative Maloney has predictably apologized.

But, if I were a potential constituent and voting in the Democratic primary, I would not allow what can be legitimately characterized as a lapse in judgment to affect my vote. Two reasons immediately come to mind. First, there is clearly a difference between someone calling a person a "nigger" and someone using the n-word in a way that is not meant to denigrate African Americans. We black people are sufficiently intellectually sophisticated to protest the former and let pass the latter. Second, of the many ills that plague communities of color, we should spend as little time as possible on this issue.