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Is the 'N' Word Profanity?

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Is the 'N' Word Profanity?

Old 10-02-05, 10:55 AM
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Is the 'N' Word Profanity?

I was watching Kanye West on SNL last night, and he was essentially doing a radio edit of his song "Gold Digger":

Now I aint sayin she a gold digger
But she aint messin wit no broke - broke - (scratch)


As I was watching it, I just felt it was riddiculous. The word may be offensive, but is it obscene? If a black man chooses to call himself "******" should that be censored out?

Actually, in general -- should certain words, like "******" and "****" and "spic" and "honkey" -- be in the same league with curse words like "fuck" and "asshole"?

(Our friendly forum word censor caught the word used in the Kanye West song... along with a disparaging word for Jewish people that rhymes with "pike"... but missed the other two terms entirely. Case in point...)
Old 10-02-05, 11:02 AM
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I consider racial slurs worse than profanity. Black use of the N word is not a simple issue, however. But it's certainly not "clean" speech that kids should be hearing on TV if we're going to censor anything.
Old 10-02-05, 11:51 AM
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Yes, it is.
Old 10-02-05, 11:55 AM
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I would consider it an unnacceptable racial slur.
Old 10-02-05, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FiveO
I would consider it an unnacceptable racial slur.
As would I, of course. But does that mean that the FCC should ban it from the air? (I don't know that they do, by the way... but it would seem to me to be one of the new "seven deadly words"...)
Old 10-02-05, 12:08 PM
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What's a "honkey"?
Old 10-02-05, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Kittydreamer
What's a "honkey"?
It's a cross between a horse and a donkey, silly.
Old 10-02-05, 12:15 PM
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Its worse than profanity, IMO. Yes, they were right to censor it. Just because a black person used the word doesnt make it any less degrading or ignorant in use.
Old 10-02-05, 12:20 PM
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It is a word that shows you how much race still matters. Any word that is okay for one ethnic group to use, but offensive if another group uses, is so incredibly stupied. Either it is wrong for all groups, or okay for all groups, and I personally don't care which it is, so long as it is consistant.
Old 10-02-05, 12:38 PM
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I agree with the offensiveness of it, and the inconsistancy as mentioned above.

Oddly, I was sure that I heard the N-word used in the premiere of Everybody Hates Chris, where the white bully kid was picking on Chris. How can it be okay in "family" prime time but not on a late-night satirical-comedy (and I use "comedy" sparingly) show like SNL?
Old 10-02-05, 12:44 PM
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I think the FCC should just ban Kanye West from speaking in general.
Old 10-02-05, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bronkster
I agree with the offensiveness of it, and the inconsistancy as mentioned above.

Oddly, I was sure that I heard the N-word used in the premiere of Everybody Hates Chris, where the white bully kid was picking on Chris. How can it be okay in "family" prime time but not on a late-night satirical-comedy (and I use "comedy" sparingly) show like SNL?
Besides, who can forget the great skit between Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase?

Interviewer: Alright, Mr. Wilson, you've done just fine on the Rorshact.. your papers are in good order.. your file's fine.. no difficulties with your motor skills.. And I think you're probably ready for this job. We've got one more psychological test we always do here. It's just a Word Association. I'll throw you out a few words - anything that comes to your mind, just throw back at me, okay? It's kind of an arbitrary thing. Like, if I say "dog", you'd say..?

Mr. Wilson: "Tree".

Interviewer: "Tree". [ nods head, prepares the test papers ] "Dog".

Mr. Wilson: "Tree".

Interviewer: "Fast".

Mr. Wilson: "Slow".

Interviewer: "Rain".

Mr. Wilson: "Snow".

Interviewer: "White".

Mr. Wilson: "Black".

Interviewer: "Bean".

Mr. Wilson: "Pod".

Interviewer: [ casually ] "Negro".

Mr. Wilson: "Whitey".

Interviewer: "Tarbaby".

Mr. Wilson: [ silent, sure he didn't hear what he thinks he heard ] What'd you say?

Interviewer: [ repeating ] "Tarbaby".

Mr. Wilson: "Ofay".

Interviewer: "Colored".

Mr. Wilson: "Redneck".

Interviewer: "Junglebunny".

Mr. Wilson: [ starting to get angry ] "**********!"

Interviewer: "Burrhead".

Mr. Wilson: [ defensive ] "Cracker!"

Interviewer: [ aggressive ] "Spearchucker".

Mr. Wilson: "White trash!"

Interviewer: "Jungle Bunny!"

Mr. Wilson: [ upset ] "Honky!"

Interviewer: "Spade!

Mr. Wilson: [ really upset ] "Honky Honky!"

Interviewer: [ relentless ] "******!"

Mr. Wilson: [ immediate ] "Dead honky!" [ face starts to flinch ]

Interviewer: [ quickly wraps the interview up ] Okay, Mr. Wilson, I think you're qualified for this job. How about a starting salary of $5,000?

Mr. Wilson: Your momma!

Interviewer: [ fumbling ] Uh.. $7,500 a year?

Mr. Wilson: Your grandmomma!

Interviewer: [ desperate ] $15,000, Mr. Wilson. You'll be the highest paid janitor in America. Just, don't.. don't hurt me, please..

Mr. Wilson: Okay.

Interviewer: [ relieved ] Okay.

Mr. Wilson: You want me to start now?

Interviewer: Oh, no, no.. that's alright. I'll clean all this up. Take a couple of weeks off, you look tired.


That whole sketch would be neutered if they hadn't used the "N" word.

Last edited by NCMojo; 10-02-05 at 01:03 PM.
Old 10-02-05, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cultshock
It's a cross between a horse and a donkey, silly.
Oh you're just too helpful. Thanks.
Old 10-02-05, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
As would I, of course. But does that mean that the FCC should ban it from the air? (I don't know that they do, by the way... but it would seem to me to be one of the new "seven deadly words"...)
Are you sure it was the FCC who was responsible?
Old 10-02-05, 01:44 PM
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Are there any other races out there besides blacks that use a racial slur among themselves?
Old 10-02-05, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
Are there any other races out there besides blacks that use a racial slur among themselves?
Yes, certainly among friends. But not nearly used on the same level to my knowledge. Not even close. And certainly not on the same level publicly.
Old 10-02-05, 02:08 PM
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I agree with white bread.

Actually, the only thing close I could think of would be the gay community.
Old 10-02-05, 02:17 PM
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So is anyone here going to answer my question or am I actually going to have to look it up myself?
Old 10-02-05, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kittydreamer
So is anyone here going to answer my question or am I actually going to have to look it up myself?
It's white people.
Old 10-02-05, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DodgingCars
Are you sure it was the FCC who was responsible?
No. Thus my parenthetical comment. But I have seen this word censored on radio and on TV.
Old 10-02-05, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
But I have seen this word censored on radio and on TV.
It's censored on BET.
Old 10-02-05, 03:04 PM
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i don't think that it's profanity. i do agree with the above comments about the hypocrisy of the usage though. am i for using it? nope, but it shouldn't be okay for some people to use it and not for others.
Old 10-02-05, 03:10 PM
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Use 'coon' instead
Old 10-02-05, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
As would I, of course. But does that mean that the FCC should ban it from the air? (I don't know that they do, by the way... but it would seem to me to be one of the new "seven deadly words"...)
The FCC has much broader standards to determine what can and can't be broadcast (and when) than just the "seven dirty words" (linky).

Excerpt:

It’s Against the Law

It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours. Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility for administratively enforcing these laws. The FCC may revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture, or issue a warning, if a station airs obscene, indecent, or profane material.

Obscene Broadcasts Are Prohibited at All Times

The Supreme Court established the definition of obscenity. The Supreme Court’s definition is designed to cover hard-core pornography. Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time. To be obscene, material must meet a three-prong test:

* An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
* The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
* The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.


Indecent Broadcast Restrictions

The FCC has defined broadcast indecency as “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community broadcast standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.” Indecent programming contains patently offensive sexual or excretory material that does not rise to the level of obscenity.

As such, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely. It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of the day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.

Consistent with a federal statute and federal court decisions interpreting the indecency statute, the Commission adopted a rule pursuant to which broadcasts -- both on television and radio -- that fit within the indecency definition and that are aired between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. are subject to indecency enforcement action.

Profane Broadcast Restrictions

The FCC has defined profanity as “including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.”

Like indecency, profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The only one of those three categories that the "n" word could possibly fall into would be profanity (by the FCC definition), but, even if it did, if it was on SNL, it would be during the "can broadcast" window.

Sounds like the network sensors jumped on this one.
Old 10-02-05, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
Are there any other races out there besides blacks that use a racial slur among themselves?
Carlos Mencia is having no issues with "wetback" jokes.

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