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Using the N-Word to Make a Point? NY Paper Under Attack for Headline Using Racial Slur to Describe Obama

A New York City community paper is under attack after it ran an op-ed calling President Barack Obama the ‘n-word.’

The West View News has a readership of around 20,000 monthly, many who were up in arms about the July edition.

Believe it or not, the writer behind the headline James Lincoln Collier is actually pro-Obama. He penned the title, “The N-gg-r in the White House’ to draw attention to the far-right voters who he said, “hate Obama because he is black.”

Still many New Yorkers did not take kindly to the use of the phrase, whether or not the author, who is white, was using it to illustrate his point or not.

“How do you refer to Jews, Mexicans, Muslims and Asians? Just curious,” asked Tweeter @DonnaBee511.

A fellow writer said that she understood the impact the writer was trying to make, but still it went too far.

“I can see his point but the fact that is a headline in this paper that represents the West Village is disgusting,” poet Florence Kindred told the local news.

Yet perhaps the strongest, and most reasoned reaction, came from fellow op-eder Alvin Hall, who directly underneath the provocative title penned his own article titled, ‘The Headline Offends Me.”

Hall, a writer, broadcaster, and teacher, explained that while he knows the slur is used by the very people Collier is trying to skewer, it does not make the its usage any less offensive or hurtful in print.

“Just seeing the n-word in an article or in a headline always makes me bristle,” Hall wrote, stressing that the word could never be completely removed from the painful memories he and other African-Americans have with the phrase and its vitriolic past.

He added that after considering that the racist headline could help be a ‘mirror on America’ and perhaps draw attention to the fact ‘post-racism’ is a myth, in the end, he said, it simply seems wrong.

“The decision to use the headline feels misguided to me,” Hall wrote in his op-ed on the same page as the headline.”I don’t see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it offends me.”

Photo Credit: West View News

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.