It's hard to know where to start with this story, so we're just going to begin with this Tim Allen quote from a recent interview he did with the Tampa Bay Times. It's important to know before reading this that the reporter Tim Allen is speaking to is, in fact, of African-American descent.
"You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it," he added, telling a 50-year-old joke by Bruce about how President Kennedy could defuse slurs by using them to describe Jewish, Italian and black people in his cabinet. "If I have no intent, if I show no intent, if I clearly am not a racist, then how can 'n-----' be bad coming out of my mouth?"
What surprised me, is that a star big as Allen would say the actual n-word in a conversation with a journalist. But Allen seems to wear his heart on his sleeve during much of our conversation, from pulling back on claims that he’s a Hollywood conservative to talking about how using racial lurs feels from a white guy’s perspective.
He clearly has learned nothing from Paula Deen's downfall.
So, here's the general rule of thumb when it comes to the conversaion about the n-word: If you are white, you have no business participating in said conversation. Tim Allen, last we checked, is a white guy from Denver. While his idea that we should "take the power away" from the word is great, the way to do that isn't by making white people say that word like it's suddenly the 1850s again, or something. White people were never oppressed in society or enslaved and taunted with that word. It's similar to whole "cracker vs. n-word" debate on CNN during the George Zimmerman trial—the n-word has a history rooted in violence, hated, oppression, and its connotation isn't anything short of offensive, while "cracker" is, well, "cracker." We're sure Tim Allen does not mean harm by this statement, but his intent doesn't change anything about the word itself.
Why does Tim Allen believe all this?
“I’ve had this argument on stage a million times. I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they’re referring to me, 'hey, my n-----’s up.' So I’m the n----- if I’m around you guys but 7 feet away, if I said n-----, it’s not right. It’s very confusing to the European mind how that works, especially if I’ve either grown up or evolved or whatever, it literally was growing up in Colorado, with Hispanics and Anglos, that’s all I remember. So when Paula Deen (admits her language), they go after her, and now we’ve gone backwards in the world. She said n----- in ’83 or something?"
’86, I think.
"’86? How the f--- do you know that? Who remembers that?"
She also allegedly made her former cook dress up as Aunt Jemima, and detailed her ideal southern-style plantation wedding as including African-American employees dressed as slaves during the reception. So...
She admitted it in a court deposition.
“In Webster’s old dictionary the word “n-----” means unemployed and indigent dock worker. That’s one definition. So I said, (to my brother) in that case … he lives in Boston and he’s not employed … so you’d be a n-----. And he goes, yeah. If my brother told me not to call him a dingleberry in front of my mother, ‘cause I knew it pissed him… pisses me off. As soon as Mom left, and I wanted to piss him off? I’d say ‘dingleberry, dingleberry, dingleberry.’ So if you’re around a word to be problematic for you and low intellect or uninvolved people find that out, they’re gonna call you n----- all day long ‘cause they know you don’t like it. And I said, so this debate rages in the public, but when it gets to the comedy world, we’re not even allowed to say it, and I gotta refer to it as the N word, F word, B word … it gets all the way down the line. It gets really intense; we’re running backwards.”
He's worse than CNN! Instead of comparing the n-word to the word "cracker," he's comparing it to the schoolyard insult "dingleberry"? What's next, comparing it to "doodie head" or something? This is a terrible interview.