TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

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

No Avatar
91.

kathryn    

Laughing at all of you: Your dead on. Everything you said was exactly right. Keep 'em coming!

2778 days ago
92.

Open Mind    

i was raised never to pull the race card!! My mom always said if you want something go out and get it and let no ignorant white, black, chinese, etc stand in your way. I just completed my masters degree and i am currently enrolled for my docorate degree. Even though some races maybe handed a harder life it is all in what you make of it!!

2778 days ago
93.

sam    

Never Held Back, "docorate degree" should be "doctorate degree". i should be I. And you should capitalize the word Chinese. I'd ask for a refund if I were your parents.

2778 days ago
94.

Whatthehellevah    

"Laughing at all of you" I'm far from being a racist; I'm a realist. It's unfortunately that people still live in denial about race relations today. All I have to say is look up "White Privilege" on the Internet and that will explain to you how and why white people benefit from the past (and present) offenses of racism.

Oh and let me emphasize the comment you made about the "PAST," All I can say is that I wish it only were the past. Yes, slavery did happen many years ago, but what I'm trying to explain is that still waters run deep. The same racist mentality (read some of of the posts on this message board) still resinate to this day. Why do you suppose there is so much hostility? Many accusations whites make towards blacks are unfounded and erroneous.

I just don't think white people get it.

2778 days ago
95.

Ann    

Never Held Back.

Sorry I don't agree with you. I have never been held back either. I have been lucky enough to have been able to go to University etc. But I think it's unfair to assume that everyone can do that and that everyone has that opportunity available to them. Not everyone can be successful if they "put their mind to it" or if they "go out and get it". Alot of people aren't so lucky. Sometimes no matter how much you want that something, just taking the "go out and get it" approach isn't enough.

I guarentee you that if you polled all the rich people in the world, they could each name that one person that opened that one door for them that got that ball rolling. It could even be their mother. It could have been the loan officer that had to decide whether or not to give them that loan to start that business that turned into a multi-million dollar operation. Someone had to help them. We don't live in this world alone. Noone starts at the top.

Just how poor are YOU? Just how poor are THEY? Think about what kind of existence you have enjoyed and please don't use it to judge other's who have not been as fortunate. Just because you don't pull the race card doesn't mean it hasn't been used against you at some point in your life. Then again, it doesn't mean that it has.

2778 days ago
96.

Whatthehellevah    

Doug, your point is? And...does that eliminate what the white slave owners did once the slaves arrived in America. Mute point. Anyway, I'm not about to talk about slavery (except to respond to your post) because that's not the discussion at hand.

2778 days ago
97.

Whatthehellevah    

Mark, your comment about how the Irish were treated is a mute point. They aren't treated like that now so that's not even relevant. Everyone has been treated badly at one point or another, BUT they don't have the long history of hatred geared towards them like blacks do.

Oh, let me know how bad the Irish in this country are treated now. Compare that with all the racist bullsh*t towards black people on this message board and them come back and talk.

Look, white people and blacks people will ALWAYS see things differently. That's a given fact. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you really want to be enlightened, read author Tim Wise. He is a white man who thoroughly understands the gaps between whites and blacks. He gets it!

2778 days ago
98.

Whatthehellevah    

Black and not offended, are you saying that if a white person came up to your face and called you a Nigger, you would be okay with it?

Words do have power, Black and not offended. If a person has a child and that parent calls their child vile names from the time they are young until they get older, you don't think that WORD is going to have some power in their lives? Yes, we as blacks cannot afford to be "victims" but I do believe we cannot sit back and not hold people accountable for what they say and how they treat us.

Please do not get me wrong. I do not have, and will never have, a victim mentality. Black people have lasted as long as we have because we are strong.

I completely understand where you are going with this, but we as black people cannot afford to be complacent and apathetic. My bottom line is: What Michael Richard's said on stage was deplorable and we cannot afford to sit back and say, once again, that it's okay for some to just unload vicious, ugly things (no matter what race) and they not be accountable.

2778 days ago
99.

PDX    

Hi, Tracee,
I really do understand the point you were making about the light-skinned friend and what she experienced. I am not only white, I am Jewish. Contrary to what many people believe, you can't tell a Jew by looking at one. Some people say we have horns, but I could never find mine (btw, I loved the Borat movie!). Anyway, probably a dozen times in my life I have had people make anti-semitic comments aimed at Jews in front of me, because they did not know I was Jewish. Fortunately, I can take solace in the fact that these people were all very under-educated (I know that for a fact) and not very professional. I don't mean to say that I revel in the fact that they are not as well off as me, I am just trying to say that people that are racist tend to be not as well educated and/or far along in the work world as you and I. Hence, the argument I made earlier that most of the people making employment decisions in the corporate world are less likely to be racist in this day and age. Of course, I realize it still happens, and that my experiences may differ from others.

Anyway, I must run now. I hope you have a great day.

2778 days ago
100.

no pervs allowed    

Just found my copy of the First Amendment,,, thought I would go out and burn it with an American flag since I no longer have any freedom of speech,,, my thanks go out to the politically correct socially unconcious nazis who now run American pop culture,,, someone want to tell me if I shopuld wipe my ass properly, wouldn't want to offend anyone,,,

2778 days ago
101.

LS    

#93 Sheesh,

You're right, Tim Wise is a white man who can break things down quite eloquently.
Here's an article he wrote:

I think it's called 'projection.' When someone subconsciously realizes that a particular trait applies to them, and then attempts to locate that trait in others, so as to alleviate the stigma or self-doubt engendered by the trait in question.

It's a well-understood concept of modern psychology, and explains much: like why men who are struggling with their own sexuality are often the most outwardly homophobic. Or the way whites during slavery typified black men as rapists, even though the primary rapists were the white slaveowners themselves, taking liberties with their female property, or white men generally, raping their wives with impunity.

I got to thinking about projection recently, after receiving many an angry e-mail from folks who had read one or another of my previous commentaries, and felt the need to inform me that people of color are "looking for a handout," and are "dependent" on government, and of course, whites.

Such claims are making the rounds these days, especially as debate heats up about such issues as reparations for enslavement, or affirmative action. And this critique is a prime example of projection, for in truth, no people have been as dependent on others throughout history as white folks.

We depended on laws to defend slavery and segregation so as to elevate us, politically, socially and economically. We depended on the Naturalization Act of 1790, to make all European immigrants eligible for nearly automatic citizenship, with rights above all persons of color. We depended on land giveaways like the Homestead Act, and housing subsidies that were essentially white-only for many years, like FHA and VA loans. Even the GI Bill was largely for whites only, and all of these government-sponsored efforts were instrumental in creating the white middle class. But it goes deeper than that.

From the earliest days, "whites" were dependent on the land and natural resources of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Since Europe offered no substantial natural riches from its soil, European economic advance and expansion was entirely reliant on the taking of other people's land by force, trickery or coercion. That, my friends, is dependence.

Then these same Europeans relied on slave labor to build a new nation and to create wealth for whites; wealth that was instrumental to financing the American Revolution, as well as allowing the textile and tobacco industries to emerge as international powerhouses. From 1790 to 1860 alone, whites and the overall economy reaped the benefits of as much as $40 billion in unpaid black labor. That, my friends, is dependence.

Though apologists for black oppression enjoy pointing out that Africans often sold other Africans into slavery, this too indicates just how dependent whites have been on black people: having to pay and bribe Africans to catch their own and deliver them to us so as to fatten the profits of European elites. We couldn't even do that by ourselves.

Then whites were dependent on Native peoples to teach us farming skills, as our complete ineptitude in this realm left the earliest colonists starving to death and turning to cannibalism when the winters came in order to survive.

We were dependent on Mexicans to teach us how to extract gold from riverbeds and quartz--critical to the growth of the national economy in the mid to late 1800's--and had we not taken over half their nation in an unprovoked war, the emerging Pacific ports so vital to the modern U.S. economy would not have been ours, but Mexico's. That, my friends, is dependence. Then we were dependent on their labor in the mid 20th century under the bracero program, through which over five million Mexicans were brought into the country for cheap agricultural work, and then sent back across the border.

And we were dependent on Asian labor to build the railroads that made transcontinental travel and commerce possible. 90% of the labor used to build the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860's were Chinese, imported for the purpose, and exploited because the railroad bosses felt they could better control them than white workers.

In fact, all throughout U.S. labor history, whites have depended on the subordination of workers of color; by the marking of black and brown peoples as the bottom rung on the ladder--a rung below which they would not be allowed to fall. By virtue of this racialized class system whites could receive the "psychological wage" of whiteness, even if their real wages left them destitute. That too is dependence, and a kind that has marked even the poorest whites.

The plantation owners in the South were surely dependent on blacks, and for more than field labor. We relied on black women to suckle and care for our children. We relied on blacks to build the lev

2778 days ago
102.

Dragonslayer    

I as a white male have been descriminated against because I have a latin last name. In high school I was treated as a mexican on paper and a white in person. I received two F's for two class's that I did not take or need to take and then the principal called me into his office and questioned me on my latin last name. I told him that my last name came from my step father and that, yes the three boys and a girl he asked me about were my syblings, half brothers and half sister in fact . He apologized for the F's and said that he would remove them. I was very angry that he would be biased because of my skin color and that if I were really Mexican/Indian he would have probably made me accept the F's. I am part Portuguese and am proud of my ancestry and feel that everyone should be proud of theirs too.

To those ignorant and obviously white people who have posted negative comments about the black people need to know this, we were all from Africa and at one time were all black too. Black skin is a bodies way to defend itself from too much exposure to the uv radiation from the sun and pale skin is an adaption to adjust to less sunlight and a need for the body to utilize the sun to produce vitamin D . It is true that color is only skin deep and underneath it all we are all brothers and sisters on this planet Earth. Ignorance is Bliss . Action without purpose is piffle.

2778 days ago
103.

sam    

You people are too verbose. No one reads your post when they are as long as a book not a comment. Learn to be more precise and terse. Someone may actually read what you have to say. For me I don't use the word so it doesn't affect me one way or the other.

2777 days ago
104.

PDX    

You want to learn the history of slavery (including the slavery of whites)? Here is a good place to start - it's not too long to read either: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery

Modern slavery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Sudan
also: http://www.antislavery.org/index.htm

2777 days ago
105.

JENNIFER    

i HAVE READ SEVERAL PAGES OF COMMENTS ON THIS ISSUE. I SEE THAT ALOT OF PEOPLE ARE USING THE FACT THAT WHITES DIDN'T INCLUDE BLACKS IN THEIR PAGENTS, SO THEREFORE BLACKS HAD THEIR OWN PAGENTS. IF YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED THAT WAS YEARS AGO. DO YOU SEE US NOW WITH AN ALL WHITE PAGENT OR AN ALL WHITE TELEVISION STATION OR ALL WHITE COLLEGE? NO!!!!! THAT WOULD BE RACIST! BUT FOR SOME DAMN REASON IT IS STILL OK FOR THE BLACKS TO CONTUINUE WITH THEIR BLACK ONLY MISS AMERICA, TELEVISION AND COLLEGES.

NO ONE IS SAYING THAT WHAT RICHARDS SAID OR HOW HE SAID IT WASN'T WRONG. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DOUBLE STANDARD THAT IS IN PLACE HERE. DOUBLE STANDARD OF THE WORD.

ALOT OF PEOPLE ON HERE ARE SAYING BLACKS CAN USE THE WORD N*GGER AND WHITES CAN'T? WHY? WHAT IS THE REASONING BEHIND THAT?
SOME HAVE ALSO SAID THAT WHEN A BLACK COMEDIAN USES THE WORD IT IS NOT OFFENSIVE? I DIDN'T KNOW THE WORD N*GGER HAD A DIFFERENT MEANING IF SOMEONE OF THE SAME ACCEPTING RACE SAYS THE WORD.
AND MOST OF THE TIME THE FORMAT OR WAY MOST BLACK COMEDIANS LIKE EDDIE MURPHY AND DL HUGLEY USE IT IS IN A DEMEANING MANNER.

I LOOKED UP THE WORD N*GGER IN THE DICTIONARY. IT HAS THREE MEANINGS. THE MEANINGS WERE TAKEN STRAIGHT FROM THE DICTIONARY.

1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
a. a black person.
b. a member of any dark-skinned people.

2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.

3. a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks;
a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.


MY POINT IS THAT THE WORD IS RACIAL TO ALL RACES. THE DEFINITION IN MUMBER 1 IS JUST FOR THE BLACKS, BUT IN NUMBERS 2 AN 3 IT IS REFERRING TO ANYONE OF ANY RACE THAT MEETS THE DEFINITION.

IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO DOUBLE STANDARD. THE DICTIONARY CLEARLY DEFINES THE WORD. SO, IF BLACKS CAN SAY IT SO CAN WHITES!! IT MEANS THE SAMES THING. THE DEFINITION DOESN'T CHANGE WHEN IT IS BEING SAID FROM A DIFFERENT RACE. THE WORD IS WHAT IT IS. NOTHING MORE OR LESS.

RICHARDS SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID IT. NO ONE SHOULD SAY IT. PERIOD!
iF ONE RACE GETS THE BRUNT OF THE WORD AND IS DEEMED RACIST, IT SHOULD GO FOR ALL RACES.

2776 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web