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I haven’t figured out how to embed Keke Palmer’s dumb tweet and Richard Armitage’s dumber retweet of it into my blog.  But then I’m too annoyed to work on it.  If you really want to see it, look here and here.   Here’s my imaginary message to his retweet:

Dear Rich,

What in the hell is wrong with you?  I know defenders will say “but he’s British!” and therefore doesn’t know but you’ve been in this country long enough.  Keke Palmer might think she’s hip and edgy using the N word but being black doesn’t make it any more acceptable.  It’s a derogatory term and no supposed “re-appropriating” of the word makes it any more palatable no matter the spelling.  It’s still a derogatory racist slave epithet and will always be one.  This is an ongoing big bone of contention in the African American community.  Personally I think it’s a hallmark of colossal ignorance.

And you, my white friend, don’t get to use it, retweet it or anything else.  Don’t add to the confusion and perpetuate the ignorance.

No Love,

Judiang

24 Responses to “Here’s a Retweet You Need to Delete #Richard Armitage”

  1. […] substantially in agreement with what Perry and Jazz and Judiang have said about this. (I’m also in the middle of writing a job application.) Comments at […]

  2. Guylty says:

    I think it’s a good thing that you haven’t figured out how to embed that tweet, Judi. The less that word is seen, the better.

  3. Servetus says:

    Amen.

    Being British, my point wasn’t that he’s ignorant b/c he’s not from the US. It’s that the lens through which Brits see race is really different from ours in many cases. I used to encounter this at work all the time. Brits (not all, but the majority) tended to be determined opponents of affirmative action. It’s not enough to know, somehow; it’s they don’t share our history.

    • judiang says:

      That probably explains his lack of understanding despite being in this country for several years. It just contributes to my ongoing dismay about his social cluelessness.

      • Servetus says:

        That’s probably just as big a question. I don’t believe that he’s an old-school racist (if he were it’s doubtful that David Harewood would speak so well of him, I think). But what a gaffe.

        • judiang says:

          I don’t believe he’s a racist either. I do think he doesn’t really consider the things he posts. And I feel disturbed he has deleted it yet.

  4. Servetus says:

    [which doesn’t excuse it. I agree with you. He’s not Black.]

  5. jazzbaby1 says:

    You know I’m with you, Judiang.

  6. KathrynRuthD says:

    As a Brit, I feel I must say that the word in question is most definitely unacceptable over here and given his background, education and chosen path in life there is simply no possible way “he” doesn’t know that. I mean, Cumberbatch was almost lynched over here for mistakenly saying “coloured” when he was discussing the lack of diversity in their industry. Armitage, in my humble opinion, seems to be keen on “do as I say, not as I do”. I am wholly unimpressed.

    • judiang says:

      Thank you for sharing the Brit perspective. I was wondering how much could be excuse by him being not from here. I hadn’t heard about Cumberbatch. Yikes!

  7. Bollyknickers says:

    Agreeing with Kathryn. I’m British and remember seeing a slogan with that word painted on a wall when I was a child. I asked my mum what it meant and her response was that it was very bad word and that I must never ever use it. That was 40 years ago – it’s never been acceptable in my lifetime or his, and he knows it.

    • judiang says:

      Thanks Bolly. Based on what you and Kathryn said, what in the world was he thinking? Did he get caught up in the supposed “hipness?”

      • Zigzag says:

        I think so. I read his tweet as him trying to suck up to Keke, be seen as “cool” by his followers. IMO neither of them comes out of this with their reputation enhanced: he comes across as easily led (which is never appealing); and she appears to be a self-promotionalist narcissist. He shows a lack of judgment and should know better.

  8. Sheri says:

    I do agree that the word itself is vile and shouldn’t be used by anyone, not even Keke. That being said, he did not type or use the word himself nor do I see anything in his tweet of him acknowledging the word. She used it. Not him. Being American I see members of the Black community using that word all the time among themselves and they accept it. If Keke wants to use it that is her choice. Sensor her for it not him.

    • judiang says:

      Welcome to the blog, Sheri! 🙂

      I must point out that the black community is not a monolith. As an African American, I can say that the N word seems mostly acceptable among rappers and artists and the people who patronize them. In my circle, nobody I know accepts or condones the word. So don’t think that the Black community as a whole uses the word all the time among themselves and accepts it. IMHO, the segment that uses it is small but widely shown in the media. Personally I think it shows disrespect and gross ignorance of our history. It’s unacceptable in anybody’s mouth.

      RA’s retweeting of her tweet implies tacit acceptance of the word. Yes, the word is vile. If, saying it himself would have been unacceptable, then it’s unacceptable to retweet somebody else doing so. He has a passive responsibility in this thing.

  9. Servetus says:

    I have less understanding of him retweeting it than her saying it, frankly. She is a grownup and can make her own decisions (and my own anecdata supports your statement about use in the media vs. everyday use, Judi. I hear that word on radio and TV but nowhere else. I may hang with the wrong crowd but I’ve never heard that word from the mouth of a real life African American friend and if I used it, that would be the end of the friendship). She obviously makes her money doing this. And her fans want that from her and have signed up for it (I guess).

    I don’t think we have, though. If we were on the street and he were shouting down the street, hey, KeKe says hey to all you n*******, repeating what she said, I would be horrified. I have done a lot of classroom reading of books with students in which the word appears (for historical reasons) and the convention in classroom is that when the word comes up in a quotation or a discussion you don’t say it.

  10. Kathy Jones says:

    I agree. No need to repeat/retweet that word. Maybe he thought he was being hip. Or hung out with rappers while he was in L A. There really is no excuse for his lack of judgement in this case.

  11. judit says:

    Hi Lady . Wow . Love your response . I think he wants to be cool . But she is a child . He wants to get down to her stage to show her he is cool . Hmmmm …. Well …what can I say about that

  12. Thank you for your essay response, Judiang! Well said! Appalled was what came to my mind when I saw KP’s video via RA’s retweet.

    We just had local elections where a longtime (since high school 40 years ago) friend and another lady became the first African Americans to win elected seats on a local body of civic government. We’re elated! And their win also points out how much work there is still yet to do to create a more healed and more inclusive/representative society. They are the first, but they will not be the last!

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