January 15, 2010

Steele's hypocrisy on racial slurs

GOP leader continues ‘honest injun’ controversy

MSNBC commentator uses ‘off the reservation’

By Rob Capriccioso
After covering Steele’s distaste for Reid’s remark, host Chris Wallace asked the top GOP politico about his own “honest injun” remark, noting that congressmen from both parties said that it is a racial slur. Dictionaries agree, noting that the phrase is considered impolite and politically incorrect because “injun” is a slang term for American Indians.

“Well, if it is, I apologize for it,” Steele responded on the show. “It’s not an intent to be a racial slur. I wasn’t intending to say a racial slur at all.
And:Steele’s conditional take on the phrase has outraged some Native Americans, as they say he is qualifying his own racism, while hypocritically calling for the resignation of a person who has said he was wrong--and apologized unconditionally--for using a racist term.

“It is astounding that his mind can separate himself from Sen. Reid when it comes to deciphering racist remarks,” said Ronnie Washines, president of the Native American Journalists Association.
And:The Steele scenario has called increased attention to the complexities of racial language in America--and the sometimes divergent ways people think about Native Americans and racism, compared to African Americans and racism.

Michelle Bernard, a political commentator for MSNBC, hit that point home when discussing Reid’s words on-air Jan. 11.

Bernard, an African American, discussed the Reid situation, saying she didn’t think the words he used were completely “off the reservation.”

Ironically, many Native Americans have a problem with the “off the reservation” phrase, saying it’s disparaging and [implies] that Indians should be kept in line.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see "Injun" as Bad as N-Word? and Steele:  "Honest Injun on That."


dmarks said...

I tend to think that "Injun" is definitely worse than the N-word that Reid used, but not as bad as "The N Word".

Chance said...

"in-*n" is DEFINITELY WORSE than both "N" words(the ni**a version african americans choose to use(eye-roll), ni**er version white racists use)

Honestly if it wasn't for the fact that black people ignorantly continue to use that word (I don't care which form they use its still negative) and have succeeded at keeping a negative term used against their OWN people relevant in modern dialect, I would agree that they are equally demeaning. But Not only do they use the n word regularly in their vernacular so that now people have forgotten how harshly negative the word is and now can not find the harm in using it themselves, but they are extremely protective of the word.....do they not realize this word was used to demonize, dehumanize, degrade & demean them. why would anyone want to "modernize" an out of date term used to degrade them???? I have never heard of Indians using the "I" word as an everyday word.

Sooo in conclusion YES "in-*n" is in fact WORSE than both forms of the n word. Black people have practically taken the sting out of the word completely.

Delux said...

@Chance: so all African Americans use the N word and think its wonderful? Way to reduce a diverse group with absolutely consensus on the issue to a monolith at the same time you complain about stereotyping... There's also the whole thing about how the word's current popularity largely rests in music content largely developed for people not in African American communities but that's a whole different topic not really germane to Rob's website.


Many (but of course not all) Black folks have been done with Michael Steele for a while. The progressive blogger Transgriot summed up a lot of people's feeling when she gave him her shut up fool of the year award: http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2009/12/shut-up-fool-of-year.html

Chance said...

@ Delux

I never said ALL African Americans use the N word. Im sure there are some who choose not to, but MOST do. and it is used frequently in pop culture, its a popular word in Black entertainment. The majority of African Americans who use this word still are the ones who brought the word into popular vernacular. soooo I don't see how anything I said is wrong.

Delux said...


I really am curious about who these "most" Black people that you know are, because this does not apply to the "most" Black people that I know.

And I mean, are you even considering age group differences as you look at these people who are so 'protective' of the n-word?


Still, my earlier point stands--the use of the n-word use in pop culture and what now passes as "Black" entertainment has little to do with actual Black people. Even though it might look like it does.

Delux said...

@Chance, have you been relying on BET?


(this piece contains profanity)

(Rob can you delete my 2:16 comment? Thx)

Chance said...

@ Delux

you are right, most of the African Americans who use this word are the younger generation. I have heard older AAs use the word but not even half as many as the younger gen. I think it means more to the older gen. who actually had to LIVE with it. younger people should have more respect for their culture and heritage and what it means to the elders in their community.

Im sorry for what came off as generalization, it was really a misunderstanding because I never even meant to generalize.
I am 20 yo, and the younger gen was mainly what I was referring to, naturally since I am apart of the younger gen.

and no, I don't need to rely on television to understand and learn about people.

Rob said...

I believe the vast majority of African Americans still consider the n-word a vicious racial slur. By that I mean maybe 80-90% of them. The youth-oriented subculture that has reappropriated the word is still a small percentage of the population.