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Jefferson

Slip of the tongue?

Posted on 2006.03.23 at 11:53
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Thee Headcoats - That Special Kind of Clay
Today's question involves a DJ in my hometown of St. Louis MO; in touting the idea that the next commissioner of the NFL should be Condoleeza Rice, who has in the past expressed interest in that job, he said:
"She's been chancellor at Stanford...She loves football. She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon? Oh my God. I am totally totally totally totally sorry for that. OK? I didn't mean that. That was just a slip of the tongue."
According to this article on the story, which contains a link to audio of the incident, the DJ was almost immediately fired.
Should he have been?

Comments:


permavultur
permavultur at 2006-03-23 18:45 (UTC) (Link)
The critical part was the apology right afterward. It's pretty clear what the DJ was trying to say.

I knew a guy once who was a meteorologist in Las Vegas. He accidentally said 'coon' while giving a weather report ... about Martin Luther King weekend. (It sounded to me like he blended the words King and Junior.) There was no immediate apology and when the time came to 'fess up, he didn't go far enough. Needless to say, his career is over.
Jonathan
theservant at 2006-03-23 19:07 (UTC) (Link)
I might agree, except that he did use it right as he mentioned her ethnicity...I don't know. I don't know about this one.
I have seen that MLK one- I guess the question is would you ever say that in public if you never said it in private? I remember once a few years ago when Rep. Dick Armey of Texas referred to Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts as "Barney Fag." He claimed that it was a slip of the tongue, but Frank responded "No one has ever called my mother 'Mrs. Fag.'"
starrydesert at 2006-03-23 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
I've heard of too many incidents like this and it's upsetting. A CA politician suffered the same "slip of the tongue" while referring to a black gentleman in front of an entirely black audience. That stunt guaranteed the loss of his election. I know that people can be nervous and tell themselves, "don't say it, don't say it!" and the next thing out of their mouths is exactly what they didn't want to say. A perfect example:

When I got married, I was so concerned for my husband that, when it was time for me to recite my vows, the first thing out of my mouth was "I, David." People changed their gift tags to read "To David and David". We still laugh hard at that.

So, I've flubbed - several times. However, I've never had a racial slur leave my lips while something even slightly racial was the topic of conversation.

Why does this happen so often? Is the world full of closet racists or is this some sort of Salem witch hunt? The real question is, are people allowed to make racial misspeaks in today's society? The answer is definitely "NO!"

Is this guy prejudiced? I don't know. Did the station have a choice in firing him? Absolutely not. It was business and they would've lost sponsors and ad dollars and the majority of their fan base. In today's society, prejudice belongs in the closet. The station had no choice in the matter.

Now, all that said, I just don't get the following Lenihan quote one bit, so feel free to enlighten me:

"I've never, ever really used that word in my life. Maybe psychologically-wise deep down perhaps, but it's not how I feel,"
Jonathan
theservant at 2006-03-23 21:26 (UTC) (Link)
First off, congrats for you getting an LJ account! I friended you, and I encourage anyone else reading to do the same!

I generally agree with what you say, and I don't understand the quote. The one thing is that people can't help how they were raised, or the environments in which they were raised, and those are not always enlightened by today's standards. I was not raised in a household that tolerated any kind of racism, but I had friends whose grandparents would call african-americans negroes or coloreds or things like that. I don't think that that makes people who heard that racists by any means, but it means that those were words that they heard growing up.
For people my age, while racial epithets weren't tolerated, homophobic ones were. While now I completely support gay rights, and am glad to live in a state that has marriage equality, I admit that when I was in high school, just about everyone, including me, used terms like 'gay' and 'faggot' as insults. In an odd way, those terms were just insults, interchangeable with 'asshole,' and not even, at least in my mind, necessarily charging that the person in question was gay. We didn't know of anyone who was openly gay, and in that climate, it is no wonder. I feel badly that I contributed to that environment.
But the point of it is that as much as my view has improved, I can't deny that I have said those words, that they probably lurk somewhere in my brain, and that they might pop out, probably at just the wrong moment. It sounded to me like that guy totally owned up to what he did the moment he did it, and maybe people should be allowed to make a hugely fucking stupid-ass mistake and be able to make amends for it.

But I don't know. I am really unsure about this!
Susan
suzermagoozer at 2006-03-24 03:27 (UTC) (Link)
i can't take my eyes off your astounding animal.

:::hypmotize

i think this slip of the tongue is tragic. i have no idea if it is prejudice or not. i can't listen for myself, because the clip is off the server. oh well.
i agree...slips of the tongue are common with regular people who are getting married or talking to their friends. But most people measure their words when talking about race (which he obviously was)...and DJs are experts at avoiding the accidental word that could get you fined.

i think it's shady, but i don't know.
metalclarinet
metalclarinet at 2006-03-24 04:59 (UTC) (Link)
"She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon"

This sounds like more than a slip of the tongue. Do we know if this person normally skates close to the edge or if this is the only questionable thing they have ever said on the air. If the former, then I would toast them in a heart beat.

My candidate for Commission of Baseball, however, is Fidel Castro. 1) he knows baseball; 2) it allows us to reconcile with Cuba; 3) The baseball owners AND the players deserve him.

(No, I have not seen the Seinfeld episodes where George Constansa goes to Cuba and learns that Fidel is just like his boss, George Steinbrenner. Even if those two were twins separated at birth, I still think my plan is a good one.)

Jonathan
theservant at 2006-03-24 22:23 (UTC) (Link)
I know nothing about this DJ and where he normally skates. The article said that he had only been working there for a brief time, but it didn't mention any previous incidents. I assume there were none just because if there had been the station probably would have mentioned them in order to bolster their case.
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