Common Language


The February 4, 2020 Charlotte Observer printed an article by David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel. Whitley’s article rightly criticized CNN and Don Lemon for the show in which Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali mimicked Southerners who support President Trump. As Whitley demonstrated, no persons should be ridiculed because of their race, economic status, or sexuality, and more. He points out that “they would have been fired if they’d done Asian or African-American accents or tired to sound gay. That double standard is nothing new.”

While I generally agree with Whitley, I wish he had not tired to “prove” his qualifications for criticizing CNN by writing about his Southern roots. What CNN allowed is wrong, and anyone, not just Southerners, should object. But our culture has grown accustom to, what my mother called, “trashy language,” and sadly the President of the United States is a leader in using such language.

However, what bothers me  most is the Observer’s use of the word “rednecks” in the headline for Whitley’s article. Now, take a minute and imagine that Wilson and Ali had used an Amos and Andy accent. Imagine Whitley writing his (justifiable) article and the Observer reprints it. Now, would the headline read: You know you’re CNN if you hate n******?

Slurs abound in our public and private language. They denigrate the user and the abused. None of them have any place in our lives or thoughts or emotions. Yet, here is a newspaper that desires to be a major one using such an epithet in a headline.

Point made, but I have one more observation. Why would the Observer use the word “hate” in any headline?  Speaker Pelosi taught all of us a lesson when a reporter asked her if she hated President Trump. Political principles should take a back seat with her answer of something like, My Catholicism teaches me not to hate. Hate is such a strong and harsh word that has no place, along with the slurs, in our lives.

Any epithet is a slur. Let us work to rid our language and thinking of them.  We all are better than that.

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