Riley Cooper, a mid-level talent NFL receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, made headlines last week when a video surfaced of him at a Kenny Chesney concert cussing and bailing against a security officer, ending with a flourish by challenging “every nigger here”. Hit the link to see the clip framed by a TYT commentary segment. This was particularly intriguing to me for a few reasons. Chiefly how this shows Riley Cooper is a clown. But I think it runs a little deeper than that.
Some of you will recall a few years back when Don Imus of NBC radio fame got into a shitload of trouble for referring to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team as “nappy-headed hos”. Now let me be clear about this: I’m not making any excuses for the man in any way, shape or form. But to quote one of my favorite lines from NYPD Blue: ‘Everything’s a situation’.
Imus had and continues to exhibit a streak of irascibility a mile wide. It’s his thing. Like Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, etc, you go in knowing what to expect. Hell, even my mother used to listen to him back in the days of AM radio. This type of comment was nothing new from him; his reaction to the fallout was what surprised both me and my mother. He crossed a line, but if he’d simply accepted the responsibility for the remark and accepted the consequences, I’m telling you here and now everything would’ve been fine. It really would’ve. Even NBC wasn’t looking to fire him for it; they did everything humanly possible to keep him around. He just wouldn’t let them. His responses ranged from contrite to escalating levels of combativeness, including the sadly predictable you-people-do-it-all-the-time excuses that eventually led to his dismissal. And it was his own fault.
When the topic of Imus came up amongst co-workers who couldn’t see what the issue was, I told them about how I was talking to an Italian female friend and in describing her day of shopping with relatives her favorite adverb was ‘guinea’- “this is so guinea… that looks so guinea…” Guinea, btw, is the Italian equivalent of nigger. I was a little confused at first- maybe she just felt that comfortable talking to a black man, but then I realized she was just used to saying it all the time. I asked my co-workers what do they think would happen to me if anyone heard me on the street or in a bar throwing that word around. It started to sink in at that point. “We can do it, but you can’t” applies to everyone.
Back to the issue of Riley Cooper: lots of hipsters think it’s so KEWL to associate with black folks, or even dally with interracial relationships. And yeah, I call it associating/dallying because hipsters do all kinds of shit simply because it’s KEWL. But that’s why they’re hipsters; if they really were their friends this wouldn’t be much of a discussion because I’ve heard a few slinging the word nigger around in the presence of their black associates, who were either too stupid, embarrassed or KEWL to respond to them. I’m not sure if Riley Cooper is simply a cracker- it was a country music concert- or just caught up in the mix of everyone throwing the word around… I’m leaning towards the former. American Black Culture has always been COOL, and Hip-Hop/R&B took the shit to a whole ‘nother level. But left common sense in the dust when it did. Too many people still think just because they hear it in a song or on every track on a cd… or on every cd they buy… that this makes it alright (thanks for that, NWA). It’s not, nor will it ever be, regardless of what you see us doing. Just ask any Jewish person if you can call them kikes, hymies and hebes. Or any Irish person about being a mick or paddy (take one guess what the term ‘paddy wagon’ is referring to).
***300TH POST- PWNED!!!***