It’s The Free Speech Rights, Stupid

And That’s The Simple Answer

I don’t like to use profanity. Not that I’m above it; it’s just that I can’t help but think that, when I see it in a blog, I’m reading a limited, inferior writer. Don’t have the time for that!

But today, renown blogger Megan McArdle questions the use of other language – the “n word”.

The comments discussion on the topic leaves me sad. And puzzled. There seem to be a lot of whites who are really annoyed that black people are telling them not to use the word. There is another, somewhat overlapping, group of whites who believe it isn’t fair that blacks get to use it when they don’t. There is a third group, related to the second group, who think the word should be banned, but are mad that blacks aren’t setting a good example for the rest of us.

I don’t understand this. What makes the word so appealing that removing it from your vocabulary constitutes a major hardship? It’s not as if the word itself is so lovely that I long to say it aloud for the sheer joy of its short i’s and gutteral g’s.

I have to say that I don’t understand her puzzlement. I don’t use the word myself, ever. Nor do I use other ethnic slurs (the one, rarely used exception I can think of is the slang for Polish joke, and, as the saying goes, “I R one”). But who has the right to tell me not to (besides my mother), especially in this country?

Land of the Free? Not so much, anymore, I fear. Self restraint I believe in. Coercion, I don’t.

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