Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The "N" Word -- The Debate Continues

Damon Wayans mocks the desire of Laugh Factory to ban the word from stand-up.
"Give yourselves a big round of applause for coming down and supporting ' … Night,' " Wayans said, using the word itself, to gasps and laughs. The producers "tried to prep me backstage — 'Don't say the N-word.' They're going to fine me." Wayans sprinkled folded bills across the stage floor, green confetti at his feet. "How much you want?" he asked, looking at club owner Jamie Masada, who sat with his head in his hands at his table in a back corner of the intimate room's main floor.
Since Kramer has opened the door to discuss race some more, I was struck by this New York Times story. At first, it seemd embarrassing: a white police officer demanded some black motorists do a rap about the evils of littering if they didn't want to get a ticket. You hear that initial description and just shake your head. How degrading. But the truth may be much less incendiary. First, the mayor of Tempe, Arizona called a press conference to denounce the cop's actions when one minute of the encounter shot on video was spreading like wildfire on the Internet. The problem? The mayor never bothered to speak with the police officer or even wait to have the two citizens in it identified and speak to them either. According to the cop, a 25 year veteran who is specializes in dealing with gangs, he interacted with the men for about 15 minutes, they identified themselves as rappers in the music industry, he immediately made clear there would be no ticket if they simply picked up the litter, they immediately went to do that and he bantered and chatted with them in a friendly way after that, when there was reportedly no threat of a ticket. His joking comment to see if they wanted to rap about the dangers of littering was taken in good spirit and not a "dance for the man" cruel jibe. Naturally, you'd want to hear from the two men who were stopped, but without speaking to them and with what we are told by the cop, there's no reason to assume bigotry or an offensive incident occurred. Indeed, it seems more like a case of a cop interacting with citizens in exactly the manner you would hope.

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