Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's in a Name?

If you haven't seen the exchange involving the word "bitch" between John McCain and a Hillary hater or the remarks by CNN's Rick Sanchez, watch it here.

Crazy or Stupid?

I'm not a McCain fan but my initial reaction is that he handled it pretty well. Of course, CNN's Sanchez would like to think this finished the whole campaign but that's what I'd expect from CNN. That's not what I want to discuss, however.

Thinking about it some more brought me to an interesting hypothetical. What if the questioner was an African-American referring to Barack Obama asking:

"How do we beat the n*****?"

I wonder how it would have played had this been the case. I believe McCain would have reacted much more harshly and if he hadn't, then Sanchez would probably be right. McCain would be finished.

Notice how even I will print the "b" word and not the "n" word. The "n" word has certainly become quite the taboo in our society. It's interesting isn't it? How many women would think it's okay to use the "b" word and not the "n" word? Should we react upon hearing the words equally? If not, what makes one okay to use and not the other?


Erik said...

I wonder the following: Why wasn't this more of an issue then it was? I really do fear if Obama or Hilary get elected if there will be an attempt to kill them. There is so much still racism today and the fact that McCain wasn't outraged shows to me that he agreed with the comment. I recall Chris Matthews, another right-winger, saying something along the same lines (I have it on my site somewhere in my archives) and again not an issue was made. I guess it depends on who says it.

Robert E Wilson said...

You missed a very key point about this whole thing. It was a woman who called Hilary the "b" word." Likewise, my hypothetical had an African American calling Obama the "n" word. This is not about sexism or racism. It is about taboo words.

As for it not being "more of an issue". I guess that means you agree with Sanchez. What do you think should have happened? I think it's unreasonable to expect McCain or any other candidate to publicly scold a supporter for calling a potential opponent a name.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Erik said...

I hear african american people call each other the "n" word all the time. I think there are just things in the world we are not made to understand. My point is also though does it make a difference who calls who what. Is it "different" if you or I or in my example of Chris Matthews called her a "b" then this woman? I don't think there is. Is there a difference when say Rush compares Barrack Obama to Osama Bin Laden comparing Obama to the terrorist leader or when Glen Beck calls Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison a terrorist for the sole reason he's arabic? Robert it's just there are a lot of ignorant people in the world who would rather degrade other people then really hear what they have to say. That's what I think.