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MLK Day Racial Slur Incident

Media TV MLK Racial slur Weatherman KTNV-TV

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#21 Rhys

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 03:51 PM

^

Except for morning radio. :)

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#22 Zwolf

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:19 PM

Living in Mississippi, I've come into contact with a lot of white folks just don't seem to be swift enough on the uptake to realize that Martin Luther King helped them as much as anyone (that screwed up, seperate-and-unequal system wasn't heading anywhere but trouble for all involved, and it could've gotten a lot more violent than it did.  King brilliantly came up with a workable plan that benefitted both sides, and anybody who doesn't recognize and respect that needs some serious help).   I've heard that "Martin Luther C**n" slur a hundred different times from a hundred different people - it's commonly used.

Since I don't know this weatherman, I can't for certain say he's a racist.  It's always possible that he had that phrase in his head from thinking, "It's stupid when people say that," and since he was thinking about it, it slipped out.  It's not likely, but it's possible.  So, I don't know the guy's motivation... but I don't think that it was just a couple of syllables getting tangled and coming out wrong, because people do use that insulting "nickname."

Unless he has a really good explanation, canning him was likely the right move.  Newspeople can slip up, but that's a pretty baaaad slip-up.  This is a tangent, but I witnessed one slip-up personally that's always stuck with me.  This girl on the local news was doing a report about a little toddler who was lost in the woods.  People had been searching for her for about four days and it wasn't looking good to turn her up alive, and they were showing all these guys on three-wheelers, combing through the woods and talking to reporters, all desperate and sad.  After they came back from that clip, the girl needed a segue to the weather, so she said, "Well, if you had to be out in the woods looking for a little girl's body, at least we had nice weather for it!  Right, Jim?"

I don't think she got fired, and I certainly don't think it was meant to be malicious or a bad joke, but I hope they still gave her a talking-to for it...

Cheers,

Zwolf
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But I'm never talking to you again
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But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
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Trying to talk to you

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#23 Rockhound

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:23 PM

Oh God...that was a bad slipup. ;)
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#24 tennyson

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:24 PM

Maybe it says something about race relations that I had never heard of this derogatory term at all until I saw it on this website or it may just say something about the kind of sheltered life I had, it could be either or both.
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#25 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:34 PM

I think both, tennyson.  I think the fact that its usage isn't prevalent anymore is a sign of promise in race relations... and the fact that you'd never heard it before may mean that you didn't get told about it in school - which I was, or perhaps that you hadn't watched the (now jeopardized :() Eyes on the Prize documentary.  I'm curious about your education as regards to civil rights in this country - what you thought of what you learned, if you learned more later that you wish'd you'd learned in school, if you felt some things were overemphasized, etc... and particularly how this relates to the topic I raised here...

Edited by Handmaiden07, 18 January 2005 - 04:35 PM.

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#26 Kosh

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:43 PM

tennyson, on Jan 18 2005, 05:24 PM, said:

Maybe it says something about race relations that I had never heard of this derogatory term at all until I saw it on this website or it may just say something about the kind of sheltered life I had, it could be either or both.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>





Come down to the sourthn part of the state Tenn. I stil hear it.
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#27 Zwolf

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:52 PM

Just in case anyone still has doubts, I did a Yahoo search for "Martin Luther C**n" and turned up a whole slew of webpages... some of 'em Klan sites.

If you managed to get through life without having heard that phrase, you probably live in an area with some better people in it than I do.   Mississippi is nowhere near as bad as it used to be - I think racism is dying out here pretty well, especially since we have a bad past to live down.   But there are still plenty of old die-hards out there who refuse to let go of the past, and still have that "Trent Lott" mentality.  Most of them are getting pretty old now, though. Things like racism usually have to die out generationally, and the state seems to have a pretty good start on that in the younger people.   It'll be good when those remaining die-hards finally die off...

Cheers,

Zwolf
"I've moved on and I'm feeling fine
And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
-Pittbull, "No Love Lost"

"There are things that I'd like to say
But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
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#28 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 05:47 PM

Handmaiden07, on Jan 18 2005, 08:29 AM, said:

Dev F, on Jan 18 2005, 11:23 AM, said:

^
Actually, I'm pretty willing to believe that it did. It could easily be an unintentional spoonerism -- "King Junior" becomes "Kun Jinior" -- that the poor guy caught halfway through.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Nonsense.  That "Coon" joke was a favorite in civil rights era.  If it slipped out, it slipped out because it was on his tongue in the first place.

"Coon" by the way, was yet another derogatory name hurled at blacks.

HM07

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I agree.  I don't think I'd be wrong in guessing that this guy routinely thinks of blacks as "coons" and on this day just happened to vocalize it.

Quote

I can't believe anyone could seriously even for a moment consider something so monumentally ridiculous as to claim that "of course" it MUST have been a racist thing.

Well I have difficulty believing that anyone in this day and age doesn't know that "coon" is a derogatory (and definitely racist) term used for blacks so there you are.  We can revel in eachother's disbelief if it makes you feel any better.

Lil
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#29 tennyson

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:14 PM

Well, I didn't know that word was a derogatory term until I read it here used in that context. If I had heard someone use it I would have thought they were using a shortened form of racoon for the animal like possum for opposum unless context showed otherwise Express disbelief but its the truth, outside of this website I have never noticed an utterance of it as a derogaory term.
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#30 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:16 PM

Something just occured to me. I remember a news announcer doing a piece on J Lo...something about her giving a block party or something. Only in his report he slipped up and said. "And tonight J Lo will be doing a "blowjob". For some odd reason he confused blowjob with block party. However, no sooner did the word "blowjob" leave his lips and he was fumbling overhimself apologizing right then and there.

And that is what I'm wondering here. It says the weatherman apologized on the 6 and 11 o'clock news broadcasts...but did the slip up happen on the 6 o'clock one? Or a previous one? If it happened and he, like the one with J Lo, apologized right then and there...then I could possibly say it was a slip. But if it happened earlier and he didn't apologize right away...and only apologized later, after pressure...
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#31 Rockhound

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:17 PM

Tennyson, "coon" is short for racoon just like possum is short for opossum.  How it got to be a racist slur is beyond my knowledge, but you probably remember Iraqis being referred to as "DuneCoons."
"Wow. This is a ga'damn greek tragedy." ---Rockhound

#32 Spectacles

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:43 PM

Quote

Rockhound: I'd be more impressed if Martin Luther King's name was actually "Martin Luther." It wasn't...it was Michael King Jr...or if he'd actually earned that "Dr." instead of having it handed to him.

I'm probably going to regret this, but curiosity has the better of me. What's this about King having a phony name and a "gift" diploma?

And, regarding the use of "coon" as a derogatory term for blacks, I can testify along with Z and Lil and others. I heard it all the time when I was growing up in Alabama.

Was it a slip of the tongue? If so, it was a mighty suspicious one, kinda on par with Dick Armey calling Barney Frank "Barney Fag" and then claiming it was just a slip o' the tongue. Frank's mother had the best response to that one: "Funny, I don't recall anyone ever slipping up and calling me Mrs. Fag."
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#33 Balderdash

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 07:37 PM

I was born and raised in the south and "coon" can be short for raccoon or it can refer to black folks in a derogatory manner.  I find it incredibly hard to believe that anyone on the planet hadn't heard the word coon used in such a way but I suppose anything is possible.  That was no slip o' the tongue, Martin Luther King and then throw in the word coon, really, what are the chances?   :wacko:

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#34 Dev F

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 07:52 PM

LORD of the SWORD, on Jan 18 2005, 06:16 PM, said:

Something just occured to me. I remember a news announcer doing a piece on J Lo...something about her giving a block party or something. Only in his report he slipped up and said. "And tonight J Lo will be doing a "blowjob". For some odd reason he confused blowjob with block party.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was thinking of that same incident. It was a puff piece about J-Lo, investigating whether folks from her old neighborhood believed she was "still Jenny from the block," as her song claims. He was supposed to read the line:

But folks from that street in New York, the Bronx section, sound more likely to give her a curb job than a block party.

Instead he tripped over the awkward phrasing, and ended up saying ". . .sound more likely to give her a curb job than a blow job." It was a totally unintentional slip of the tongue that happened make sense in an embarrassingly dirty way. Which just goes to show that such improbable accidents do happen from time to time.

Edited by Dev F, 18 January 2005 - 07:53 PM.


#35 tennyson

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 09:58 PM

I am from a dirt poor rural county in West Virginia with something like a 99 percent white population(94 people classified as non-white in a population of 8000 in the 1990 census) and I never heard of the use of the word as a denigrating term in my life up to my encounter with it on this very website. I also did not enounter derogatory terms for Jews, Hispanics, Polish people or Italians until I got to college. The people who raised me never used such terms or my immediate neighbors although they still did use the archiac term "chinaman" for anyone of Asian descent. I did know derogatory terms for people of Asian descent from movies about Vietnam but that was about it until college.
I have never used such terms, made a joke predicated on racial/ethnic/gender stereotypes or designed to denigrate people who aren't me in my life.
But then I had a very isolated and almost hermetic upbringing and I apparently missed a lot of things across the board that other people consider common.
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#36 Rockhound

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 10:12 PM

Spectacles, on Jan 18 2005, 05:43 PM, said:

Quote

Rockhound: I'd be more impressed if Martin Luther King's name was actually "Martin Luther." It wasn't...it was Michael King Jr...or if he'd actually earned that "Dr." instead of having it handed to him.

I'm probably going to regret this, but curiosity has the better of me. What's this about King having a phony name and a "gift" diploma?

OK, the story on that is: MLK Sr.'s name was really Michael King Sr.  Somewhere along the way, he supposedly had this vision from Gabriel or someone that he should change his name to Martin Luther King because he would become a new Martin Luther in leading the black population of the US to a spiritual awakening.  He changed his son's name to MLK, Jr.  However, neither name was legally changed.  So, MLK isn't his real name, just a freaky alias.

As to the diploma, King plagiarized his 1955 dissertation at Boston University. Look here for more info on that.

Oh, and that famous "I Have A Dream" speech?  He took the best parts of an address by the Rev. Archibald Carey at the 1952 Republican Convention.  IIRC, Rev. Carey was later murdered for that speech...guess those words were somewhat volitile.  :pout:

Here's a book on King's habit of plagiarism that I've heard good things about.

Look, here's the deal: I'm not into running someone down over their race, sex, preference in hair conditioners or whatever.  I just don't put a lot of faith in the words of a guy who basically had to steal most of his intellectual property in order to get ahead.

Edited by Rockhound, 18 January 2005 - 10:13 PM.

"Wow. This is a ga'damn greek tragedy." ---Rockhound

#37 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 10:42 PM

In the south, it was fairly common for people putting down information on birth certificates to get it wrong when it came to black people, both because of difficulties communicating across racial barriers.  My grandmother has the wrong year of birth on her birth certificate because of such a mishap - her birth certificate was written from the family bible, and the family bible was wrong, and no matter how many times she explained that she was really such and such age, no one would correct the mistake.

As I read it - MLK Sr's name was Martin, but he was called Michael for no apparent reason (although that too was common).  Intending to name his child after himself, the doctor wrote down "Michael" because that's what he was accustomed to calling MLK Sr.  But no one ever called Martin "Michael" - his birth certificate just says that.

Regarding the plagarism business - I've read about it, but without doing a text by text comparison, I don't know how much was plagarized, and what it meant.... I do know that black preachers tend to borrow stuff quite liberally - its part of the culture to share sermons and the like - there are even some sermons that are famous, and other preachers preach them almost verbatim with their own special twist on it.  Those sermons have names associated with them, so that a minister could know which one he was using, and amongst ministers, they could talk fluently about which sermon worked well on Sunday.  I would assume that it isn't the same when it comes to writing books, and that Dr. King would know better - but I don't know that for certain.  I do know that he isn't known for books - he's known for his life.

As to his gifted doctorate - so what?  Many people who perform great humanitarian works get honorary degrees - and they are entitled thereby to call themselves Dr.  Again - in context - that kind of honor was not frequently bestowed on Blacks at the time... I am very glad that Dr. King earned an honorary degree and assumed the title, instead of just treating it like nothing - it established a sense of pride in the black community.

HM07

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#38 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 10:46 PM

Rockhound, on Jan 18 2005, 10:12 PM, said:

Look, here's the deal: I'm not into running someone down over their race, sex, preference in hair conditioners or whatever.  I just don't put a lot of faith in the words of a guy who basically had to steal most of his intellectual property in order to get ahead.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well - when you show me how Dr. King's doctorate, or books got him "ahead" - how those are his actual legacies, then we can talk.  Dr. King wasn't a rich man, he was a preacher.  He didn't need any degrees- the job of pastor was there for the taking - he would have assumed it from his father.  Dr. King's legacy isn't in intellectualism, although he was an intellectual, and a very bright man.  Dr. King's legacy is in the fight for freedom, justice and equality of human beings in this country. Whatever else anyone wants to say about him - this is his legacy - and it stands just fine.

HM07

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#39 Ogami

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 10:47 PM

I bought the latest DMX album last week, it has more offensive quotations of the "N-word" than anything I've ever been exposed to.

One song in particular carries the refrain, "Hey f--- y'all n------s. Hey, f--- you too!" over and over.

These are strange times. I would like to think that America could do more in the future to fight genuine racism, than a slip of the tongue. Firing a weatherman won't end the real racism that is going on out there. Not by a longshot.

-Ogami

#40 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 10:49 PM

Ogami, on Jan 18 2005, 10:47 PM, said:

I bought the latest DMX album last week, it has more offensive quotations of the "N-word" than anything I've ever been exposed to.

One song in particular carries the refrain, "Hey f--- y'all n------s. Hey, f--- you too!" over and over.

These are strange times. I would like to think that America could do more in the future to fight genuine racism, than a slip of the tongue. Firing a weatherman won't end the real racism that is going on out there. Not by a longshot.

-Ogami

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Why'd you buy that?  

Anyway, I agree with your last two sentences, wholeheartedly.

HM07

Een Draght Mackt Maght




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