For just about as long as racial issues have existed, certain words or phrases have been deemed inappropriate and racist.
The n-word is among the most egregious of these. And as such, when it is found to be uttered, there are usually immediate and rather severe consequences.
Take the recent use of it by country music superstar Morgan Wallen. In a short video taken in his own driveway, Wallen was recorded saying it by TMZ. And the effect was immediate.
Not only was his music pulled from nearly every single radio group and hosting on the market, but his label, Big Loud, instantly suspended his contract “indefinitely,” according to a report by Billboard.
The outlet cited Black Music Action Coalition as one of the resounding voices for the disciplinary action taken against Wallen. Additionally, the group said that they were not happy with his punishment so far and that more was needed to make Wallen learn his lesson.
“The group effort from the country music community that we are witnessing is an example of what can be done when we choose to oppose racism. While we are heartened by this community endeavor, we know that there are deep-rooted racist practices ad beliefs within the country music sphere, and the incident with Morgan Wallen is only one small example.”
The coalition went on to say, “There is much more to be done to continue to raise anti-racist awareness, to demolish racism wherever it is encountered, to achieve racial equality, and to support Black country music artists and Black country music executives.”
And to some extent, I would agree with the coalition.
Racism most definitely needs to be stopped, and if action like this is what it takes to get that done, then so be it.
However, that action needs to be consistent across all demographics. And it is most certainly not.
Enter the case of Tampa Police Officer Delvin White, a black officer who recently served as a school resource officer for Middleton High School.
White was recently fired for apparently saying the same racial slur, the n-word, on multiple occasions while in the line of duty.
According to the Tampa Police Department, one was heard on body camera footage on November 13, when he referred to a specific group as “ghetto n*****s.” As the Tampa Bay Times reported, it was said while White was on the phone driving home after an off-duty assignment.
Another time he used the slur while talking to his wife on the phone. And again, on November 30 of last year, White admitted that he had used the derogatory word while performing a trespassing arrest. And bodycam footage confirms this, proving that he said the word twice during the arrest.
And while it seems to be a blatant violation of trust for an officer of the law to use such vocabulary, the same coalition that is demanding more action against Morgan Wallen says the firing of White is “too harsh.”
The group made a post via Facebook saying, “The fact in the Delvin White matter do not reflect an act or any intent that warrants the punishment he received for his alleged transgression.”
But why the difference in treatment?
Well, because Wallen is white and Officer Delvin White is of African-American descent.
The coalition cites that White’s use of the word, and on more than one occasion even, is just a “misstep,” while Wallen’s is a sign of deeply-rooted systemic racism.
And the sentiment seems to be shared by many in the black community, as black rappers tend to use the word frequently in their music. White explained to the New York Post that it is “commonly used in today’s society as a means of shared culture and experiences among the African-American community.”
But only in societies that not white, apparently.
If a white man or woman uses it, it is all the proof one needs that individual is inherently racist and thinks they are better than everyone else.
If communities, no matter their color or race, expect to be treated equally and justly, they have to forget double standards like this that inconsistently make it ok for some to say and not ok for others. If it is derogatory for one to say, the word should also be derogatory for anyone else to do so.
Only then will the real issues of racism be addressed.