'NY Post' Writer Uses the N-Word & Then Calls Jay-Z Racist

Jay-ZNew York Post columnist Phil Mushnick has embroiled himself in a little bit of a mess now, hasn’t he? He suggested the Brooklyn Nets should be called the New York Niggers because of co-owner Jay-Z’s liberal use of the word in his lyrics and also because, let’s be honest, he couldn’t resist a subliminal N-word jab. But like the trooper that he is, he’s standing by his story and flipping the script by saying Jay-Z is the racist one. For using the N-word in the first place.

I was riding with him until that part. I rail against anybody calling a black dude a nigger (or a “nigga,” which is the African-American-ized remix of the age-old slur). It grates my nerves personally and insults our heritage wholly, whether it’s falling from the lips of a middle-aged, white sports journalist or a multimillionaire superstar rapper from Brooklyn. But I have to shake my head at Mushnick accusing Jay of being racist. That doesn’t make sense. 

A racist, by definition, is a person who believes in the superiority of one group of people over another because of the color of their skin. If nigga/nigger is in fact a denigrating word—and it most certainly is—then he’s actually putting down his people, not putting them up on a pedestal. People love, love, love to throw that word around: you’re a racist! No, you’re a racist! But at least 7 times out of 10, they’re not even using it right.

But please allow me to pause for a preventative public service announcement. Attention all white people: it seems like you’re just not getting the message. You cannot use the N-word in any capacity. You cannot use it as a joke. You cannot use it in a quote. You cannot use it on a train. You cannot use it on a plane. You cannot use it here or there. You cannot use it anywhere.

That being said, it’s also interesting to see so many black folks up in arms about the hypothetical team name he created when there are real team names that are just as offensive -- but not to us. I have long said that if there was an NFL franchise called the Philadelphia Sambos or an NBA team indeed named the New York Niggers, we would be all kinds of put out (obviously). The NAACP couldn’t throw together a picket fest fast enough and Al Sharpton would be marching and sound biting himself into a little tizzy.

But we feel absolutely no cultural or political alignment with Native Americans, who are collectively slapped in the face with racist team names and mascots without so much as a murmur of support from us. I guess so long as it’s not the dreaded N-word or any derivative thereof, it’s not our fight to square off over. And white people could care less because standard privilege allows them to pick and choose the racial debacles they want to throw their support behind. Elian Gonzalez? Yes! The routine disenfranchisement of black, Latino, and Native American peoples? Eh, not so moving. What else ya got?

I moved to D.C. about six years ago and have built a happy little life here. One thing I had to learn pretty quick, though, is that you can talk trash about the Nationals, the Caps, even the Wizards, but what you won’t do is even offload a whiff of disapproval about the doggone Redskins. It’s the strangest of contradictions to see one group of marginalized people so passionately cheerlead a team that directly insults another. Native Americans have annually descended on D.C. to protest the Redskins name and the names of other pro and college teams and mascots that are still in play all over the country. Their leadership has lobbied for the team’s trademark to be revoked because of its cultural offensiveness and for more than 20 years, activists have fought to override the inconsideration of pop culture mania over sports teams for the legacy and posterity of ravaged Native American tribes. Nothin’ doing. Seems we like our sports unfettered by social consciousness and political correctness.

It’s so very simple to remedy: if a group says a name, a remark, a word, a phrase, a show, a statement, a characterization, is offensive to them, it’s not up to the rest of us to tell them why they shouldn’t be insulted or, even worse, dismiss their reaction because we don’t feel motivated or obligated to change whatever it is that’s insulting to them. There are so few Native Americans left, their community so decimated by the same calculating mainstream machine that has bulldozed black America, that we should empathize. Then again, considering how many black folks have absolutely no problem at all with being called or referring to others as niggas, that might be too much to ask.

Is Mushnick wrong for standing by his word and refusing to apologize for his statement?

Image via nick step/Flickr

basketball, college sports, football, nba, nfl, scandal, racism, human rights


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Flori... Floridamom96

Right. Because it isn't racist to tell people what they can or cannot say based on their race.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I actually hung out with white people who said nigga. Nobody had an issue with them. They was very good friends only hung out and date black people. The word doesn't have any power until you give it power. I knew white people that call EACH OTHER nigga. So yea I say when a word has been used that much white people start feeling comfortable to say to themselves you can't compare it to a word like redskins because as far as I know there's not one Native American calling themselves a redskin.

bills... billsfan1104

You dont use the term racist right either.  So you must be part of the 7 people who dont use it right.  Do not lecture people that they are using the word wrong, until you stop making everything racist and teaching your daughter that the big bad evil white people are out to get. 


PonyC... PonyChaser

So, let me get this straight. "You're black, you can't sit in that chair", is racist. But "You're white, you can't say that word", is NOT racist? Hmmm, double standard much?

You have two different arguments here. One is the entitlement mentality that surrounds the word "nigger". No, it is not right that Blacks can say it but Whites cannot. While that may not be racist (by the correct definition), it is certainly a double standard.

Your second argument is that terms like "Redskins" are derogatory (DIFFERENT from "racist") and should be eliminated. That argument makes a valid point, but once again, you frame it in your usual terms that it is all the fault of the whites. In many situations, there are MORE whites than Native Americans fighting for the elimination of sports team names ("Fighting Illini" in Illinois, for example. In fact, in Illinois, the reps of the Illiniwek tribe have fought to KEEP the name). But honestly, unless you're going to protest names like "Fighting Irish" as well, you don't have a leg to stand on, there, either. Because either you dislike ALL ethnic references and fight to change them ALL, or you live with them.

nonmember avatar jmomma

Right on, ponychaser. This chick never fails to amaze me.

nonmember avatar yeahok

@ponychaser are you thick? its not a privilege to be able to say nigger...clearly its a derogatory word just like redskins. Woe isnt you just because whites shouldnt use the word - even though some ignorant ones are quick to use it. It was created by whites to demean african americans sooo I think they've had enough time to use it since its origin. Either way all of the nonsense words should be eliminated.

jasmi... jasmineg86

to the commenters: are you really itching to use the word n*gger that bad? is it killing you that you cant have it as part of your vocabulary? is it causing you emotional distress to be told its off limits because its hurtful? you cant say it. simple. move on.

*goan* you sound remedial arguing for your right to say a word most of you admit to not wanting to use. you just want the right to?  fine. use it. and you sp*c and j*p and f*g and r*tard. weave them into your everyday speech. enjoy the attention it brings you and the hurt you cause others.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Oh please. You say that people don't know what the word racist means when you are the most racist writer here. If any of the white writers on this site wrote half of the things you do they'd be out on the street. Just imagine the uproar if one of them said they only wanted their kid to play with white dolls or they wanted their kid to attend a historically white college.

MomIWant MomIWant

IMO until Blacks quit using the word, no one else will.  Want the word eliminated - stop using it.  That goes for all derogatory, inflammatory, discriminatory words - no race or gender can complain about who gets to use the word, until everyone stops using it.  Blacks can't call each other "nigga", women can't call each other "bitch or slut" etc. etc.  I don't believe you take away the power of the word by using it  "affectionately" - I think that concept is absolutely ridiculous.

jasmi... jasmineg86

i hate to break it to you, but most white kids do play with only white dolls and most of the colleges in the country are historically white colleges. it doesnt have to be said, it doesnt make anyone racist- it just is what it is.

despite what the thoughts of commenters here may be, the expirence of minorities in the country IS different. as much as you personally would like it to be, the same rules dont apply to every american. you dont give up anything by saying you cant relate, you actually gain respect- try it.

1-10 of 24 comments 123 Last