by G. Brown
Walmart may want to rethink its slogan “Live Better” after making life miserable for a huge portion of its customers. Twitter lit up when someone posted a picture of the weaving net for hair extensions ad. The slur “N*gger Brown” was listed in the headline for the product and in the description about the item.
As soon as Walmart caught the slur, PR got on damage control issuing an apology: “We are very sorry and appalled that this third party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace. “It is a clear violation of our policy and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.”
How could this have happened? Perhaps because people are under the false illusion that racism is a thing of the past and since we all live as one there are no boundaries that can’t be crossed. It’s the same pitfall that HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” plunged into recently. Normally, Maher is a pretty entertaining as his show zeroes in on political and current event hot topics. Last month while interviewing Republican Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who was promoting his book, “The Vanishing American Adult”. In one exchange, Maher sarcastically joked, “I’ve got to get to Nebraska more.” Sasse responded “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.” Maher shot back, “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n*gger.” The groans from the live audience quickly swelled into a category 4 twitter-storm with many calling for HBO to fire Maher.
You know you screwed up big time when even the Republican you were interviewing joins in on the public flogging. Sasse tweeted:
HBO then had to deal with damage control issuing a statement condemning Maher’s use of the racial epithet and distancing itself from the host-“Bill Maher’s comment last night was completely inexcusable and tasteless…We are removing his deeply offensive comment from any subsequent airings of the show“. Maher’s cutting edge humor usually slices his target razor thin, but that edgy humor can cut both ways. Maher is by definition a liberal… or as known in the currrent political landscape–a progressive. They ‘re the people who believe that the government is responsible for providing all people with equal opportunity and that no one should suffer lack or need. Equality means the same education, employment, health and quality of life opportunities. It also apparently means equal footing when using the “N-word”.
We haven’t come so far in race relations that everyone, maybe anyone should be comfortable with the use of that word. The week after Maher’s politically incorrect racial slur, rapper Ice Cube was a guest on “Real Time” and confronted Maher some ‘real’ criticism.
Cube was right. Just because you hang out with Black people, date or marry Blacks, doesn’t give you the right to use that word. Those are the people who mistake familiarity with privilege. Just because you fight for the rights of Blacks or any group, doesn’t give you a ‘pass’ to use colloquial terms. Familiarity can look a lot like racism when you believe you’re so liberal that you make disparaging comments because ‘it’s ok, I’m not racist, I’m just making a joke to point out the problem’. The person responsible for the Walmart ad that wrote “N*gger Brown” probably thought it was a joke or was trying to make a point. Point taken, racism is still around—it just hides behind jokes and ads.