Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Ready For Your Fat, Racist Whore Comments

Okay, so I am going to do something I've never done. I'm going to stick up for Lindsay Lohan. And, after reading three words, some random asshole will probably call me a racist for doing so, but whatever. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Am I insensitive or is everyone else too sensitive?

Seems our favorite little freckled freak recently told Access Hollywood that she's very excited that Barack Obama is our first "colored president." The blogs are having a field day, painting Lindsay as an ignorant racist who blatantly disrespected a man whom she vocally supported throughout his campaign.

Lindsay Lohan - ignorant? Well, yeah. Kinda. Disrespectful? A touch. Whorish? Yup. On something? Uh huh. Racist? I doubt it.

Maybe the girl didn't choose her words as wisely as she should've - and that should surprise no one - but I really think that too big of an issue is being made of this. Have we really all become this easily offended?

This reminds me of older men's use of the word "girl." I've worked a lot of administrative and support jobs in my life, and I can't tell you how many times a boss has referred to me as "his girl" or, in an office of several support people, one of "the girls." Then there was the dreaded "sweetheart," or "dear." This kind of talk is all very Mad Men and seems sexist and condescending, but 9 times out of 10, I could tell that those guys weren't trying to insult or belittle me. That doesn't mean that it didn't annoy me, because sometimes it did. But I didn't let it bother me too much because I knew that that was just they way they talked. (And I don't know how many of you have ever pulled your boss aside to tell him that he's wrong, but those of you who have are probably pretty familiar with the unemployment line.)

By the same token, I completely understand that the word "colored" carries a negative connotation with it. It takes us back to the racial oppression and segregation of the '50s and '60s. So, YES, I absolutely understand why many people find it offensive. But I think anyone can watch LiLo's interview and see that she isn't trying to offend. She isn't trying to be disrespectful. She's just trying to remain upright and form words.

Further complicating this issue is that the phrase "people of color" is still in widespread use, which, to me, is really no different than "colored." Maybe I look at it like a writer and think: Well, now, that's just good editing. Get rid of that preposition! Then there is that pesky NAACP - the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Sure, it was founded just about 100 years ago, but as the leading civil rights organization in the country, one might expect it to look into a name change if there are major negatives associated with the current one.

Also, even though there has been something of a push to replace "black" with "African American," "black" is still used and generally not thought of as demeaning. It's a descriptor, just like white. Now, if you want to say that it's wrong to use "colored" to describe "black" people because black is actually the absence of all color, then that's the kind of anal thinking that I can get behind.

I'm not saying that people don't have a legitimate reason for bristling when they hear the word "colored," but sometimes words are just words. When white people (except Eminem, I guess) use the N-word, there is obvious malice behind it. No guesswork needed there. But with a word like "colored," or even "black," the context in which it's used is important.

If a sweet, little 70-year-old Christian woman calls someone "a colored," it could just be because that was the word used in her day. She could also be a raging racist because she grew up in a time when everyone else was. Wow, okay. So that's a bad example.

Well, since I started out talking about Lindsay Lohan, she's the perfect example. She's talking about her happiness over a man she voted for, and even wanted to work for, being elected president. For some reason, she chose to say "colored president" instead of "black president" or "African American president." No one knows why. Not even Samantha Ronson. Did she mean to insult this man whom she is so proud of? I don't think so.

Seeing as how Lindsay is so young and has probably never been a big American history buff, I'm surprised she even had such an archaic word in her vocabulary in the first place. But if it wasn't used to harm, why is everyone jumping on this and voicing their "outrage" over her "derogatory comment?"

What bothers me is the immediate backlash from people in the media and in the blogging world, using all of their righteous anger to paint all of these labels on the girl for a small lapse in judgment or, more likely, a complete lack of knowledge. If her problem really is ignorance, then why not simply try to educate her? Why vilify her? This wasn't like Michael Richards' racial rampage or Mel Gibson's anti-semetic tirade. She said a word that isn't used in polite society anymore, and she obviously knows that now, so let's all move on. And you, idiots at Access Hollywood, you're making things worse by trying to cover it up and issuing a statement that "the word was unintelligible." Give me a break.

And give Linz a break. She will do something truly worthy of outrage soon enough. I have faith in her. After all, she still has her driver's license.

42 comments:

Poobomber said...

See, the problem is not whether or not she IS a racist person or not, it's whether or not she SOUNDS like it.

There are plenty of people out there that are horribly racist/sexist and they can STFU and be PC and get through life without offending people. Sure, that sounds bad, but it's probably not as bad as being a non-racist public figure and calling people 'colored' or 'homos' or whatever people do when they're stupid.

It's not like childish ignorance where a little white kid says, "Mommy, that person is black!" She's a grown adult living in the modern world where modern people don't use the expression 'colored' unless they're idiots, so she should know that her comment at least makes her sound like a plantation owner.

I guess what I'm saying is that she should just shut the fuck up really, there's no reason for her mouth to be open unless she has something intelligent to say.

SouthernBelle said...

I'm with you, beckeye. Great post BTW!

I think the real problem stems from the fact that young LiLo lives in a society where it seems important who an [alleged] drug-addled [alleged] fire-crotchy young [alleged] actress voted for.

My boss is *black* and says he prefers that word to *African-American* since his people are actually from Haiti, not Africa. He hates the N-word, even though we both like hip-hop and rap music where the word is used frequently.

We haven't discussed the word *colored* since, as you point out, nobody really uses it any more.

Bubs said...

I'm reminded of my grandfather, one of the most decent and non-racist people I've ever known. He grew up in Kentucky, where as one of the few Catholics in town, he had a lot in common with the small population of blacks whenever the Klan burned a cross on the weekend. For him to use the word "colored" was way better than what 95% of the other whites of his time said, and the fact that he didn't change gears to "negro", "afro-american" or "black" was a reflection of his age, not any racist attitudes.

With Ms. Lohan I bet she was trying to use "person of color" that she probably heard from someone cool and she just botched the delivery.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

I agree with you, Beckeye, there's certainly a need to look at intention when judging a statement like that.

Falwless said...

Poobomber is a colored homo.

Falwless said...

I KID I KID. Sheesh.

Seriously, though, I'm with you on this one, BeckEye.

I will never forget the words of a wise Words Words Words when he once said:

I'm offended by all the people who keep getting offended.

SkylersDad said...

You are spot on Beckeye, it is totally about the intent behind the words. I have some experience here with my son Skyler getting called a lot of things that polite society doesn't or shouldn't use. That's why I bristle at "retard" or "cripple".

BeckEye said...

Poo, if she couldn't open her mouth unless she had something intelligent to say, she would never get to talk at all.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

I won't argue that she sounded STUPID. Of course she did. But, the context of the word is what's going to make it sound either racist or just plain ignorant. Or like Miss Daisy. I'm sure in more "capable" hands, use of that word could sound a lot more racist, but if you watch the video, she doesn't even really form the word with her lips...it's practically said through a closed mouth. (So, she did keep her mouth shut and STILL managed to sound stupid.) I think she might have been reaching for a word and picked the first one that popped into her mouth. You'll notice right after that she says something about "this all came to fruition." Fruition is really garbled and glazed over, like she wasn't sure if it meant what she thought it meant. The point is, the girl is not the brightest tool in the shed. I don't know why people are looking for any deep meaning - racist or otherwise - in anything she says.

Knot said...

I remember when she tried to endorse Obama and they said, "Ughhh, thanks, but no thanks," I don't think I've ever seen that.

Her wheels are so off. It's almost sad and you know I kind of have an odd crush on her. Maybe it's the red hair?

Knot

Kimizzy said...

I'm with you, Beckeye. That's just over the top. It's ok for rappers to say "nigga" but let's imagine she said that instead... "our first nigga president..." I think we'd see a LiLo effigy this time, but it wouldn't be a mannequin.

It is mainly edited liberals that are offended by it, and true liberals believe in and defend our first amendment. They don't buy into this political correctedness BS. If one group has that freedom, all should have it too.

And I think she's too stupid to consciously offend anyone. Idiots usually try to fly below the radar.

In a nutshell, I think you are right on the mark.

deadspot said...

"there's no reason for her mouth to be open unless she has something intelligent to say."

Samantha Ronson respectfully disagrees.

Oh, snap. I went there.

Poobomber said...

Whether or not she's racist is the object of speculation here?

Then by all means, I hope she is. She de-legitimizes everything she does, so it'd be a step forward for society.

I'm sure lesbian women everywhere were mortified to have her join their ranks when she did. (Or didn't she? What's the story with her now anyways?)

deadspot said...

I kill me.

Cheap jokes aside, poo, you lost me when you said it was better to be a PC racist than a non-racist who sometimes chooses the wrong word.

I'm with Becks. LiLo gets a pass on this one from me.

Doc said...

It's funny that you should mention this. I wrote an article about the word Negro recently because I didn't know if that was a taboo word or not. I still don't, but perhaps you or one of your savy readers could steer me in the right direction. Who knows when Access Hollywood is going to come knocking on my door looking for an interview and I'd like to be ready.

Here is the article: http://cultureofbeer.blogspot.com/2008/10/is-this-something-i-shouldnt-say.html

Sorry, I don't know how to do links in the comments section.

I love it when you take some celeb to task for something stupid they have said, but it's cool that you can also stand in their defence, even when their defence is only ignorance. Wonder post, as always.

Doc

P.S.- I promise not to call you "Dear" anymore.

SouthernBelle said...

I'm with you, deadspot.

I would rather an unwitting and unintentional racist than someone who is really racist but just watches what they say. And believe me, I've been exposed to both kinds in Georgia - as well as the least desirable, openly and intentionally racist.

MelO said...

I'm with you all the way... I do see Poo's point about her being completely stupid to even say ANYthing at all...

but the girl is NOT racist.

I worked for a few of those men, too, btw. The phrase "My Girl will call your girl" gives me awful flashbacks and panic attacks :(

Cormac Brown said...

Meh, she's not the first celeb that shouldn't talk while mixing the little red pills with champagne, even though the warning label says not to.

I identify myself as mixed and I list my five races if pressed on it, amongst which I say "Black" because I'm old, and old school like that. Yet on occasion, I see people wince at that expression.

So while I think Lindsay took a little from the "so has not spent any time around a diverse set of non-affluent people" column and a little from the brain fart column, I'm not labeling her "Mel Gibson" or "Trent Lott" on this.

To anyone who would call you a "racist?" I know that if that were even a remote possiblity, neither Chelene, Poor George, Anne, The Kid or me would've sat down to eat with you. You have a big heart, though why you put up with Simon Cowell is beyond me.

Poobomber said...

deadspot: You're right, it's NOT better to be a racist than it is to be a simple fool.

But in the company of one or the other, I'd prefer a prejudiced person that can manage their issues and STFU and maintain a high level of sensitivity rather than a person that makes me or other people feel like crap even though they're not racist.

Heather said...

What exactly is the acceptable word for someone with dark skin? Negro, black, colored, person of color, African-American? Ask any "black" person which they prefer and it will differ. Everyone has a different take on what is offensive and what is acceptable and as a society we have yet to come to a consensus.

I don't think she was trying to be offensive in any way and the fact that there is such a bruhaha over this is asinine.

Obama is officially mulatto and yet I haven't heard that word uttered once.

Red said...

I completely agree...she is probably ignorant, not racist. I was wrong to compare her to my racist old grandma (who was racist. Just because she grew up "in a different time" doesn't give her the right to be racist), but the use of the word "colored" which NO ONE except old people and closet racists use anymore is a little suspect.

The Guv'ner said...

I was one of the people enjoying making fun of her but I don't think she's racist either. Just a little ignorant and uninformed. I certainly don't think she's a screaming Klan member or anything. Just a fine example of being young and ignorant and of someone who spent time in her teens making Disney movies instead of going to school. But man she is fun to make fun of.

Bluez said...

I dunno what the big deal is. We all know he's Irish anyway.

deadspot said...

I think Becks is right. LiLo probably started the sentence with the intention of using the ultra-PC "person of color", got halfway through before realizing there was no good way to fit that into the sentence, and punted with unenviable results.

Frankly, I'm hoping that our first President of Color will clear this up by periodically issuing advisory executive orders on which terms are currently acceptable for white folk to use.

I know he's only the President of Color Elect, but I'm just so damned excited that I just can't wait until January. Besides, it's not like Bush actually won either of his elections.

CDP said...

Excellent post, Beck, I couldn't agree more. Idiot? Absolutely? Racist? No, and it's silly to call out every little verbal gaffe and infraction as offensive...it takes the heat off the few people who really ARE racists or woman-haters, or whatever. Intention is everything.

Malcolm said...

Lindsay earns a free pass from me. If she's a good girl, I might even throw in some frequent flyer miles.

Seriously, for all I know, Lindsay could be a racist. Hell, I don't know and neither does anyone else who hasn't had dealings with her. However, her use of the term "colored" doesn't make her a racist. I think one of the reasons she is taking a beating for referring to Obama as colored is because of her bad girl reputation. Had it been one of America's sweethearts (Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Carrie Underwood, etc.) who used the term colored, it probably wouldn't have been blown this far out of proportion.

If no one has yet, someone in Lindsay's camp needs to sit her down, tell her she fucked up, and suggest she educate herself. It's as simple as that.

Liz said...

I think Lindsay got it confused with the term "people of color," which I agree is a weird phrase, but at this moment it seems to be the preferred term for "non white," even by non-white people. I don't know really understand this whole thing though, like Stephen Colbert, I don't see color.


You know what would have been awesome? If Lindsay called Obama the first "Negro" president.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

BeckEye, fantastic post! I agree with you and don't think LiLo thought before she spoke. She's practically a baby for goodness sake and now she's learned a lesson she won't soon forget. You know, I'm sure she's working with a few less brain cells than she should be these days.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Excellent post, as always.

I guess living in Canada, I have always been somewhat removed from what the currently correct phrase would be, and why. Sure, "coloured" sounds sort of old timey to my ears, but not exactly offensive. But what do I know?

KK said...

Way down here in the deep, deep south - we still use the word colored at times. But mostly we just use the term "black".

You don't hear the term "african-american" used in the black communiy or anywhere else unless someone is talking in generalities in a crown not wanting to "offend" someone.

But quite simply - instead of classifying people by their color (or lack thereof) - I think we should classify them by by what they eat.

I'm a p@ssy!!!

Tanya Espanya said...

I'm glad Barb piped in with the 'coloUred' since here in Canada we roll with that U.

And really...African American? Like Charlize Theron?

Black seems fine to me. As does brown, beige, human...

pistols at dawn said...

Also, I'm sure someone else has already mentioned this (I don't usually read people's comments), but Daniel Craig said the same thing, that we were ready for a "colored" James Bond. It's not ideal, but it's also not worth caring about Lindsay Lohan for, either.

David Amulet said...

You are a voice of reason in the wilderness.

I may never be able to say that again, so I'm getting it out quickly!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

When I saw the article on yahoo! or something, it said "Lindsay drops the 'c-word' about Obama."

I was like "Holy shit, did she call him a 'Coon'?" I was aghast. Then I saw that it (thankfully) wasn't that, and then I kind of shrugged it off as "Lindsay being Lindsay", kind of like how Red Sox fans for years put up with Manny Ramirez's stupidity by saying the same stuff.

I remember hearing something growing up about a black man talking to a white man, saying something like "when you're born, you're pink; when you die you're purple; when you're hot, you're red and when you're cold, you're blue, and you have the nerve to call me colored?" I think it was supposed to be a joke, but it made me nod my head and say, "Yeah, you're right...that is a good point..."

While I don't think Lindsay was necessarily being racist, she did use an archaic, stupid term. But, wow, shocker, some "celebrity" says something stupid this week. Stop the presses.

Dale said...

Po po Li lo! Great post, I remember Doc's concern over the whole thing too.

Is it racist of me to say the black girl on the new season of Top Chef reminds me of Jar Jar Binks?

Happy Villain said...

I'm 100% behind the word's intent being more important than the word itself, and clearly there was no hostile intent, so it makes sense to just roll your eyes and chock it up to someone catching her having another stupid moment in public. We all have stupid moments, and if cameras were following us around all day, imagine what stupidity they would catch.

Whoa. Wait a minute. Am I defending her too? What's this world coming to?!

deadspot said...

Dammit, Dale. Your nickname for her is so much funnier than mine.

cube said...

I have no problem with LiLo's statement. I do think someone lacking qualifications has been fast-tracked into the US Presidency merely because he is black. This is why we Republicans have railed against affirmative action for years, unfortunately, to deaf ears.

Gifted Typist said...

I'm in agreement with your arguement but Lilo should not be left alone on this one.

Racism and ignorance go together. You can be one without the other, but most racists are ignorant too.

Also, if you are a public figure making a public statement, your words are turbo charged and you must accept responsibility what you say and face the music.

LoraLoo said...

Lindsay Lohan and politics don't even belong in the same sentence.

Seriously, however, I completely agree with you.

Grant Miller said...

Actually, if you read her blog, you'll find she is a big, big history buff. Surprising as it may seem.

Moxie said...

I vote for giving her a pass on this one, too. Seems like no one can make a verbal gaffe anymore without someone having a raving fit about it.

I love deadspot's idea about Obama having occasional advisories on proper terminology for blacks/people of color/African Americans. I say we have Dave Chappelle head up that group. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

I would love to lick her fire crotch.

 

Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine