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Mum's the Word on N-Word for Funnymen

12/3/2006 2:02 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Has Michael Richards' racist rant made the n-word forbidden comedy fruit? How taboo is it, really? Is it taboo enough for the biggest, brashest African-American comics to ban it from their own acts?

TMZ contacted Dave Chappelle, DL Hughley, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and Katt Williams through their reps, and their response was uncharacteristically laconic. Last week, comedy vet Paul Mooney, who was a writing partner of Richard Pryor, and who appeared on "Chappelle's Show," said he was forsaking the word in his comedy henceforth -- but since then, none of his younger colleagues have taken a similar pledge.

One source, who has worked with almost all of the comics, tells TMZ that Richards' screed will probably end up being a boon to all of them, providing them not just with material, but stoking interest in their acts -- and whether they'll use the word and how often. The renewed focus on the n-word and its implications will, says our source, no doubt give the word itself added piquancy on stage, "until it becomes calloused and overused again."

109 COMMENTS

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46.

My two cents    

Sheesh- I am well aware of the role whites played in the PAST regarding racisim. I am well aware that whites had black slaves. I know about the segregation that put black in the back of the bus, had a separate water fountain, and all the other sh*t that went on back then, HOWEVER there are laws now that forbid such a thing. I just want YOU to know that "I" had nothing to do with slavery, segregation and all that other crap, so why is it that YOU have to continue throwing it in MY face. Think about THAT and get back to me. And another thing, for saying, "Whites are short sighted" ? You can demean the white folk with that comment and your tired of the white man of saying anything demeaning to YOUR race? I think it may be YOU that is the racist.

2847 days ago
47.

jamis    

Unless, the critics who pounced on Richards pounce on the others they're hypocrites.

2847 days ago
48.

Sarah    

It seems that many of you are getting into personal arguments when the topic at hand is actually the use of a word. Some of you are saying that a word has no power to it and shouldn't cause any harm or offense. However, if that truly were the case, you wouldn't be wasting your time writing in this blog because, after all, words don't have any real meaning. Clearly they do and at times the words we choose with each other can be hurtful.

Many of you say that it's not fair that blacks can use the n-word while whites can not, and some have gone as far as to insinuate that all blacks use this word when talking to each other. Neither are true. In the first case, I, a young black girl, have never used that word when talking about ANYBODY and I grow frustrated when others use it -even musicians or comedians. I find it offensive and I think it sets a poor example to the youths in the black community. At the same time, however, I understand that the root of using that word comes from the idea that the one who wields it is the one that has power over it. Some might think that if they use that word indiscriminately that it will simply cease to be hurtful and evolve simply into a jumble of letters. When you look at it that way the reason becomes clear why comedians, musicians or kids in the street would use that word - it is the process of a culture trying to cleanse itself of the past and the negative associations that are so tightly attached.

I don't know if Michael Richards is racist or not. Perhaps he just grew so frustrated that he said the first things that came to his mind, the words that he knew would hurt the most. Regardless, I appreciate his attempts to rectify the situation, it sets a good example for many others. As for black comedians using the word, I do not, and have never approved and I think others should realize that.

And, as a young bi-racial girl in the black AND white community I think that all of you should reflect on the hurtful things you've said in this forum, and realize that many of you are no better than Richards himself in the rants that you posted here for the world to see.

2847 days ago
49.

p1tey1    

@Sheesh

I am sorry that you took offense to my comment. But, as long as we continue to discuss, and be offended by, and hold on to that word, it will continue to have power.

IT'S A WORD!!! As hurtful and mean as it was back in the day, its time Black folks got over it!!

We are sitting around waiting for the world to change and its not. Its time for us to change, and take the power from that word!!

As long as we continue to sit around being victimized by that freakin word, people are going to continue to use it to try to hurt us. But once we take the power away from that word, we will be able to laugh at those who try to use it to hurt us.

Until then, Black folks will continue to be victims and we'll be having this same discussion 50 years from now, which would TRULY be a shame.

I wouldn't be where I am today if I had let that word or racism stand in my way. I'll be damned if I am going to allow anyone to stand in the way of me living my American Dream. But you and others can if you want to.

2847 days ago
50.

Tommie    

HEY PEOPLE, THE ONLY AND I MEAN THE O-N-L-Y THING THAT IS EVER GOING TO STOP THESE RACIST DUMMIES ON THESE BLOGS AND EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS IF THEY WERE ALL JUST WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. IT WOULD BE LIKE CONQUERING THE DEVIL HIMSELF. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE HOW NICE AND PEACEFUL THIS WORLD WOULD BE? ALL OF THE EVIL WOULD BE GONE AND EVERYTHING. IT WOULD BE LIKE A NEW BEGINNING. OH WELL, THAT WAS A LOVELY PICTURE, BUT BACK TO WHAT WE'VE GOT.

AND WHAT'S SO BAD IS BLACK PEOPLE SHOULDN'T EVEN BE RESPONDING TO THESE DEVILS BECAUSE IT DOESN'T DO ANY GOOD. IT'S LIKE TALKING TO A CHAIR. YOU CAN'T REASON WITH THE DEVIL. IT'S OUT OF BLACK PEOPLES HANDS. NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY OR DO, THE DEVILS ARE ALWAYS GOING TO REAR THEIR UGLY HEADS!

2847 days ago
51.

coco puff    

The funny thing about super stars like Tiger Woods is that people of color claim them as black. Tigers mom was Tia and you are what your mother was. Why aren't the Tiwaneese not jumping up and down? The blacks in this country are a insecure people, period. Blaming their problems on the white man is getting very old. When the Irish immigrated to America they were treated as badly as the blacks. If you want respect, earn it, and stop bitching about slavery.

2847 days ago
52.

Chaz    

As a middle-aged white gay male, I am thrilled that we (homosexuals of both genders) have 'reclaimed' and defanged the terms queer, homo, dyke, faggot, etc., and rendered them powerless to hurt (heck, they're now TRENDY in some circles).

In my lifetime, I have had various epithets (and more than a few raw eggs) hurled at me by passers-by as I entered or exited well-known gay nightspots, so the 'invisibility' of my queerness does not always factor in.

If as a group you reclaim a discriminatory slur, as a community you can render it harmless (in my experience). Names can never (now and in the future) hurt us. As for past offences fueled by discriminating labels, perhaps it is time to move on and look to the future.

2847 days ago
53.

LS    

I think all the weight would be taken off the word if we just started using it on white people. They originated the word and they should have it.
WHITE PEOPLE ARE N*GGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2847 days ago
54.

Lara    

Yeah! White people are n*ggers now!!!!

2847 days ago
55.

Courtney    

You know, when I started reading this blog, I was getting angry... but I like the "white people are n*ggers" comments.... certainly it is not the best term but it fits that the name we gave is one in which we can accept back. We've accepted so much, why not one more name?

2847 days ago
56.

Rod    

We, as black people should get over the n word. It's over. It's history. I think White people are the new n*ggers. It would totally invalidate the word. We'd not be bothered by it anymore because we'd use it in a different way. We'd no longer be so sensitive about it, and obviously, neither would white people.

2847 days ago
57.

SP    

#6 Says when was the last time whites were hung , well it has not happened to a black in a while either. As a matter of fact blacks have no excuse for not getting a good education becayse the government will pay it all. And they have no excuse for not having a job because employers will get sued if they don't hire them. Blacks have an oportunity to be what they want to be if they would quit living in the past. I'm not saying forget it, but quit using it as an excuse for the mistakes in your life. I could go as far as saying Cracker Barrel has aracist name, but that would be stupid. New Orleans was a great example of blacks waiting on whites to come and feed them and give them money. They do not want to be slaves like their forefathers, but that is what they are when they wait on the governent to feed them and house them,. Have some pride in yourselves. When these guys asked for money there went their pride.

2847 days ago
58.

Rod    

TMZ doesn't have the balls to post that WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE NEW N*GGERS.

2847 days ago
59.

GoAway    

Billy Ray#35 - You have just won the the award for the most ignorant HONKEY on this site! Congratulations, you made your point!!

Best Wishes,
Still Happy & Black!

2846 days ago
60.

GoAway    

sorry about the double "the" - my bad!!

2846 days ago
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