February 7, 2022
Let’s say I have a friend whose childhood nickname was “Stinky.” And, every time someone called my friend Stinky, it triggered painful memories of being bullied. Now, either my friend has made it clear to me, or I have observed that being called Stinky causes emotional pain to my friend. Out of kindness and respect for my friend, I don’t call them Stinky. I don’t want to debate it. I don’t want to test it. I don’t want to gaslight them into believing something according to my belief system and not theirs. I just don’t use the damned word.
It’s the smallest possible concession I can make to show empathy for someone I know has been hurt by the word. If they want to appropriate the word, fine. If they want to desensitize themselves to the word, fine. If they want to find power in a word that was once used to try to tear them down, fine. I’m still not going to use the word. I don’t have to. There are plenty of other words out there. I don’t need this one. They can have it.
Using this word doesn’t make me cool. It doesn’t make me edgy. It just makes me an asshole. I try not to be an asshole. Especially to my friends.
If I used the word more than 100 times in the past few years, I wouldn’t expect other people to rally to my defense, or argue free speech, or push back against censorship. I should know enough by now to know that using the word will cause others pain. I should know that using the word will only cause others pain and make me look like an asshole. And, as I said before, I try not to be an asshole.
And, if I regularly used the word at work, I wouldn’t expect someone to pay me $100M to go on their streaming platform and continue to use the word. I wouldn’t be surprised when my employer was forced to shit-can my work because, by using this word, I have produced offensive content that makes them look bad.
If I never used this word, I wouldn’t want to work for someone who encouraged other people to use this word at work (or, paid them $100M to do it).
If I were a consumer, I wouldn’t want to do business with a company that paid their employees to offend other people. Especially, my friends.
And, if I were the Chairman of the Board, I would question the business sense of a CEO who paid $100M to put a racist on the air. I might think it would be best to cancel the CEO, because he has shown himself to be an idiot by hiring an asshole. The asshole never pretended to be anything other than an asshole. Give him time and he’ll cancel himself.
So, that’s what I think about the whole Joe Rogan using the N-Word controversy. This story is exhausting in its ability to keep going and to keep showing people for the hypocrites they are. More to come.