Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Saying a Racial Slur Gets the Media into Frenzy

Ok, so there is a videotape and according to some sources Cincinnati police Sgt. Jeff Butler said the word "nigger" while being investigated by CPD internal affairs. I really wonder what the story here is? This happened in 1998, over 5 years ago. Beyond being the typical if it involves race then we can exploit it attitude of the media, I don't see the impact of this man's words.

Now, by saying the "n-word" he broke no law. You can think him to be a racist or bigot or idiot, but he broke no law. Plenty of other groups of people are insulted every day in the media alone, not to mention in the break rooms across the country. Why does this matter? What matters is whether this guy broke any laws, which is why he was being investigated. This got a skeptical play by WLWT, but Kathy Wilson seems to either have better hearing or has a problem with book covers. Leslie Blade lets opinion flow into her news story, but reports generally most of same facts out.

If WLWT or CityBeat wants to put on airs about hate speech, they should review the tapes from 1230 AM the Buzz and the number of incidents of hate speech would make your mind boggle.

What I have a problem with overall is the underlying theme on this issue: guilt by association. "If one guys says a word, then see, they are all racists." If this person had actually attacked or mistreated anyone because of their race, then this would be support for the contention that this man was a racist. Just because others around him don't correct him for saying a "bad" word does not mean much. If a religious person says they will pray for me, I don't like it. Sometimes they go out of their way to ask me "have you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior?" I don't say anything to say that offends me. I instead ignore them. If this police officer broke the law, then lock him up. If he said a racial slur, then call him an asshole and move on.

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