Obama’s N-word Send-off

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Obama’s N-word Send-off

What was expected to be a friendly and light-hearted skewering of political and media elites at the White House correspondents’ dinner by Larry Wilmore, comedian and host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show,”  turned into a night of off-color remarks, edgy jabs where you heard moans and groans.

In his closing remarks thanking  Obama for his tenure as president and the mark he has made in the world, Wilmore dropped the n-word. And at that moment you heard audible  gasps and saw visible grimaces of shock, pain and embarrassment.

“When I was a kid, I lived in a country where people couldn’t accept a black quarterback,” Wilmore said. "Now think about that. A black man was thought by his mere color not good enough to lead a football team — and now, to live in your time, Mr. President, when a black man can lead the entire free world.Words alone do me no justice. So, Mr. President, if i’m going to keep it 100: Yo, Barry, you did it, my n—-. You did it.”

When Wilmore dropped the n-word twitter blew up. And what will  probably be debated for a while is whether Wimore went too far. Many of the comments on twitter were asking is the n-word what the American public need to hear associated to  Obama’s last months in office, especially  given the racial rollercoaster the entire country has been on since Obama took office and evident by the treatment of him.

Wilmore won’t be the last African American comedian to use the epithet in public discourse. But how it’s used means everything. 

For example, last year when news broke that President Obama used the n-word during the podcast interview “WFT with Marc Maron” about America’s racial history, it caused shock waves. We are shocked because we are all confused as to when — if ever — there is an appropriate context to use the word.

On CNN, legal analyst Sunny Hostin said that Obama’s use of the word was inappropriate because of his office, and given the history of the word itself. New York Times columnist Charles Blow countered Hostin’s assertion, pointing out that Obama used the word correctly: as a teaching moment.

The confusion illustrates what happens when an epithet like the n-word, once hurled at African-Americans in this country and banned from polite conversation, now has