Quick. Don't Think of a Black Elephant!

Okay, so with that resume you probably shouldn't apply for a job as a marriage counselor - although here where I live, it can be two men or two women involved, so that might provide for a suitable challenge for someone with your background - but there are still other things you can do with your life.

Writing this kind of stuff, for example. Inspiring the rest of us.

In Seattle, Charleston, or wherever (and which Charleston, exactly was that?)

Posted by Everyman at September 28, 2006 4:01 PM

I'm so ashamed....I have actually said The Word...as recently as last week...but, and this is really really important...if I said it in a forest and nobody was around to hear it....did I sin? Am I damned? Forever? Oh, Shit!

Posted by rascafair at September 28, 2006 5:12 PM

I find this very interesting ... I just finished writing a book and included aspects of racism ... what was acceptable "yesterday" ... the "N" word. I talked with a local black man too. He said when he was growing up he and the white kids ganged up on the "Indians". So there you go eh?

Dr. King. So happens through family connection - my great grandmother's sister n law (think that is how it goes) became a nurse in Boston area and took in a border ... Coretta Scott who then became Coretta Scott King. Family archives. From Canada - Barbara

Posted by Barbara J Gill at September 28, 2006 5:32 PM

Oh the shame of being born a WASP and not having full freedom of speech! But isn't free speech in the constitution? SHHHH! Best we not talk about things that are "extra constitutional," like the "n" word. And the right to be paid by the guvmint for not working. Or the right to be paid by the guvmint for not planting certain crops. Oh, oh, getting into dangerous territory now. Best I shut my mouth just in case I decide to run for office.

Posted by Jimmy J. at September 28, 2006 6:35 PM


There is no one else in the land who writes with such sense, originality, clarity and beauty.

The recent absence of new posts to your site was worrysome. Nevermore. If you go silent awhile again, I will return to this post for refreshment, knowing there is intelligent life nearby. It resides in Seattle. Its name is Vanderleun.


Posted by Gale in Sequim, WA at September 28, 2006 11:10 PM

I completely agree with your view that the Civil Rights movement we grew up with and loved has morphed, like the feminist movement, into a perpetual motion victim rights machine, er...kind of like the tar baby. Oh dear, did I say that? I guess I'll never get to be president either.

Growing up in a small town Southern family in the middle of the 20th century, the "N" word was verboten. "Nice" people simply didn't talk that way. We were allowed to say "colored" or "Negro" but the "N" word was never to pass our lips. And it didn't. I knew my father would have given me a switchin' I would never forget.

Then in the sixties we could say "Blacks" and "Afro-Americans." But I mostly avoided saying any of it and just tried to call people by name. Martin Luther King was Martin Luther King and that was that.

Years later, I was reporting and writing for a liberal newspaper here and was sent to Decatur, Alabama to cover the kickoff of Jimmy Carter's second, ill-fated Presidential campaign. While there, I landed an interview with one of the grand wizards of the KKK. He used the "N" word often and with great emotional charge and many expletives.

Like cringing when fingernails are scraped across a blackboard, I found his hate-filled talk so horrifying that I almost had to leave the sleazy room and quit the interview. I simply had been sheltered from the reality that people still thought and talked in that hate-filled way.

The story was page one in my paper. But it took me weeks to get over the stunning reality that I saw face-to-face that day in Decatur.

The point I wish to make is this: I completely agree that the pendulum has swing far, far the other way and what has been used to bludgeon George Allan is ridiculous and inexcusable. Nevertheless, there is a real historical reason that the "N" word has become a weapon of political mass destruction...and it isn't a pretty sight. Having said that, none of us can be held hostage to acting from guilt and that's what the Jesse Jacksons of the world are playing on, as WASPs and others are forced to bow and scrape.

Maybe it's a good time to go back and reread the most wonderful "To Kill a Mockingbird." And to see how far we really have come.

Posted by Webutante at September 29, 2006 6:01 AM


Another superb, well written, cogent and spot-on piece. Thank you.

I am frequently encouraged by friends, neighbors and my wife to enter politics. My reply is always the same: "Not on your life". There is nothing any longer that is attractive, decent, civilized or even respectable about the craft. The recent flap that inspired your brilliant piece is emblematic of the profound sickness that has infected politics in this country, and I am afraid we will be subjected to much worse for much longer before a 'stateman' appears to shame them all into behaving properly....and that is pure unadulterated optimism.

Posted by Frank V. at September 29, 2006 6:20 AM


You've been on my list for a long time. My list of some of the smartest people and best writers in this country.

Posted by Wes at September 29, 2006 7:32 AM


Posted by Mark J. Keaney at September 29, 2006 8:29 AM

We all have THAT Permanent Record. Spot on!

Posted by Obi's Sister at September 29, 2006 8:30 AM


If no one was in the forrest to hear it then did you really say it.....or was it did you really make a sound.....Oh, my brain still has to recharge after reading this post. Good One!!!

Posted by Adam at September 29, 2006 8:37 AM

For thirty years I've been active in politics, and I've seen the viability cutoff point move further and further from the heart. People can now expect to be driven away from elected offices for transgressions 99% of us have committed.

This leaves politics to the shamelessly and intensely manipulative, the uncannily innocent, or the wealthy obliterators. And we are all the losers because of it.

But I'm glad Gerard won't be running for anything. We need him to WRITE. Congratulations on another fabulous piece!

Posted by AskMom at September 29, 2006 9:03 AM

Another fine gem. Thank you.
I'm sure I've a lot to say, but this is not the place.
A minor bone to pick: Anthony Burgess first pointed this out: WASP is redundant, as all Anglo-Saxons are white.

Posted by Alear at September 29, 2006 9:29 AM

Well, is it better to be stung by a WASP or bitten by an ASP?

Posted by Gerard Van der Leun at September 29, 2006 10:49 AM

A fine essay.

However, "nigger" is not the most verbotten word in American English. Your references to pop culture and the hip-hop world make that clear. My young black friends use "niggah" more frequently than I use the word "man".

However, the most forbidden word in English is the C word. Nobody, certainly nobody with a Y chromosome is ever allowed to let that word pass their lips. Hell, even in sex chat rooms the C word will get you slapped down by the sisterhood. They can use any and every slur related to slang terms for the male appendage but use of the C word is taken as prima facie proof of misogyny.

I'm quite sure that if you called a black woman a NC, she'd beat you down for the C word first.

Posted by Ronnie Schreiber at September 29, 2006 11:22 AM

"C word is taken as prima facie proof of misogyny."

Yep, mention cooking and you're toast.

Posted by NC3 at September 29, 2006 12:25 PM

I read that Webb and his Navy buddies used to ride through Watts (must've been in the early 60's) carrying rifles and yelling out the "N" word to taunt the locals.

He's not like that now, so I merely shrug at the anecdote. Would that he and his vicious-weasel campaign staff could shrug off Allen's purportedly less outrageous behavior.

NOTE: THIS IS MY SECOND ATTEMPT TO POST. The first time I spelled out the"N" word. How's that for irony?

Posted by Roderick Reilly at September 29, 2006 12:45 PM

It looks as if we're doing that telepathy thing again, Gerard.

Well done, by the way.

Posted by Francis W. Porretto at September 29, 2006 3:53 PM

I knew we'd descended into lunacy when the word "Niggardly" was slammed because it "sounds like..."

For future reference, I will probably not be able to state I must caulk a few "chinks" in the wall, I can be drenched but can never have a "wet back," and as far as saying I have watched the "Day Go" by...

Who's running this place, anyways? Could someone sharpen their head and screw them into the floor, please? Please, oh please?

Posted by Christopher at September 29, 2006 6:37 PM

The only way to reduce the power of the "N" word is for those of us, who refuse to accept the guilt shoved onto us,to flood the zone and say "nigger", "niggardly" and other permutations of "nig", in public.

Posted by Mary at September 30, 2006 8:01 AM

Seems as good a time to quote Scripture as any.

"The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought."

Posted by Baillie at September 30, 2006 12:20 PM

But it is not as deadly as Holocaust denial, right? You lose your freedom to live as a free man (free speech) if ever you doubt the Holocaust.

Posted by Rommel at September 30, 2006 1:03 PM

I wrote about the same thing last week. This whole country is paralyzed when a white person, especially the dreaded conservative white male, brings up anything involving race. The whole Senator Allen thing is a perfect example.

My favorite part about the whole controversy are the a**holes who say "That word has never been a part of my vocabulary." Give me a break.

Posted by Jeff Lemmon at September 30, 2006 6:03 PM

I'm sure many of the same people that go bonkers when they hear accusations that a white right-winger said the "N" word many moons ago, listened to the John Lennon/Yoko Ono 1972 hit "Woman is the Nigger of the World". So in this Humpty-Dumpty world, the meaning of a word depends on who uses it!

Posted by Tom TB at October 1, 2006 1:58 AM

In his book, "Sinisterism," Bruce Walker writes that one of the primary goal of the sinisterists in the US (communists, neo-Marxists, socialists, Clintonistas and the Democrat Party of today) is to capture the English language and create a confusing means of communication that resorts to euphemisms, reinterpretations, and even ownership of the language. Only a Black person or a liberal can use the word "nigger," Look at Sen. Robert Byrd using the term on Fox News Channel -- did anyone hear one black leader call for his resignation? And Byrd was a Klansman and a segregationist.

Juxtapose his treatment with that of Sen. Trent Lott, who made a statement that all of us knew was designed to blow smoke up Strom Thurmond's butt, saying things would be better today if Thurmond -- who ran for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat -- had been elected president.

Lott had to apologize over 100 times and stepped down as the leader of his party in the Senate.

The problem is, as I see it, that there are too few real conservatives in the GOP. The Democrat-news media attack machine goes into action and the leaders of the Republican Party fold like cheap cameras.

There are a few men in the GOP who can be counted on to fight the good fight -- men such as John Cox, who's the first Republican to throw his hat in the ring for 2008. But it's a certainty that the sinisterists in the GOP will attempt to destroy his campaign. Hopefully, the new media will be powerful enough to initiate a counter-attack during the 2008 primary season.

Posted by Nathan Tabor at October 1, 2006 9:33 AM

Mr.Vanderleun: I have always wondered about the origins of certain words such as DENIGRATE. It appears to be a combination word. The prefix "De-"
added to a word changes the meaning of the word to
the 180 degree opposite of its original meaning.
Consider,for instance,"water" and "dewater". Am I being confused by spelling and pronunciation? It seems there ought to be a word, "nigrate", which has a positive meaning, since "denigrate" has a negative connotation. My WEBSTER is silent.

The "P" word in WASP has two meanings depending upon its' pronunciation: religious practices on the one hand,and dis-agreement on the other. In this case, I believe there should be one pronunciation: PRO TESTant. The other way,
PROT es TANT, obscures the fact that the meaning
is exactly the same.

Posted by Scattershot at October 1, 2006 4:16 PM

When the media went so far out of its way to claim that "macaca" is a racist term, never mind that Allen doesn't speak Portuguese, I knew this wasn't really about racism.

This is biblical; making a man an offender for a word uttered 30 years ago. I think this will backfire on the Post, however. I can't imagine there are many Virginians who are thinking the same thing as Vanderleun.

Posted by AST at October 2, 2006 9:08 PM

When I was seven years old, I was thrust into the strange predicament of being the only white kid in a Mexican school. I spoke no Spanish- no one there spoke English. Every day was war. If I fought back, I was punished when I came home for not "turning the other cheek".

I experienced more racism in one day than many of today's blacks, (uh, African-Americans, ?, what is today's "preferred nomenclature"? it's hard to keep up) do in a lifetime.

I admired Dr. King. As a child, I listened to his speeches and knew here was a messenger of God, an annointed one, speaking. Listening to his speaches still moves me to tears. They were tears of inspiration. Now, they are probably tears of loss- loss of a dream.

When I moved back to the States, I thought I could be part of the movement to end racism. I really did. Then, I realized that I would forever be judged by the color of my skin, not the content of my character. It didn't matter what I had experienced, because blacks in this country have a monopoly on being the victims of racism. ("Lord, hep me thru the day.")

I am a white male, therefore, I MUST be racist. I'm just too dumb to know it yet.

I still hold out hope. Some day, we will see the purity of Dr. King's dream fulfilled. Until then, I can never belong to that club, the club of people who are committed to ending racism, because I am white.

Posted by Foxy Wizard at October 5, 2006 9:08 AM

Isn't it interesting that the liberal witch of a reporter asked Senator Allen about his Jewish background. What a witch she is--and she'll rise high in the MSM. Once again shows how the media is nothing other than the electronic wing of the coalition of scum, slime, filth, vermin and manure that is the Democ-Rat Party.

Posted by D.S. Levine at October 12, 2006 6:06 PM

Well, at least it is still okay to call Sarah Palin a c-word, right? And in Seattle, it is practically mandatory.

Posted by Sherlock at July 11, 2012 6:58 AM

Hmmm, niggling over semantics.

I don't believe I want to be that civilized, but thank you anyway. – Hoot Gibson

Posted by chasmatic at July 11, 2012 7:23 AM

With all due respect: Fuck To Kill a Mockingbird.

And fuck Dr. King's Dream while you're at it.

The whole civil rights project was a gigantic mistake.

If these statements make you all unanimous in your hate for me, that's fine. I welcome your hatred.

Posted by Robert Oculus III at July 11, 2012 8:51 AM

Question: are there any people in the civil rights movement anymore who believe in actual racial equality, or has the movement been completely taken over by race-hustling con-men, blackmailers and grievance-mongers?

Posted by Sherlock at July 11, 2012 9:29 AM

Your condescension is equally welcome, Arthurstone. Keep it coming. Show us all just how morally superior you are.

Posted by Robert Oculus III at July 11, 2012 2:29 PM

Makes me think of Wendy Davis down in Texas, the abortion rights "hero" who was raised in a trailer park. Wonder if she ever used that word?

I demand to know!!

Posted by Thunderthigh at July 8, 2013 12:10 PM

I understand you. It is hard to reveal yourself. People like Robert Oculus III misunderstand. Writing allows readers to take shots at you. We hoped in the 60's. Others can't or won't understand what we felt. Now, Progressives believe they are better than God and can therefore perfect man, his environment and create an everlasting Utopia if only given the chance. Accepting a Judo-Christian God is to accept that life isn't fair and that bad things happen to good people. The soul is colorless.
You must die to find equality.

Posted by Grace at July 8, 2013 12:16 PM

Wow, Gerard, holds up pretty well after 6 years.

And, Grace, I think you misunderstand Oculus. I expect that he, like you and me, also hoped in the 60's .

But I've lived all across the south most of my life, (in every Southern state except Mississippi) although originally I'm from Gerard's neck of the woods.

If you haven't been assaulted by blacks a few times, like I have, if you haven't been repeatedly threatened and disgusted by packs of feral young blacks, like I have, if you haven't had to endure the endless resentful sense of entitlement that exudes from so many pathetically ignorant blacks, then it's YOU who doesn't understand.

Like Oculus says on his website, I don't hate black or jew or anyone. I've travelled the world and have spoken 5 languages. But, I also know what it's like living "in the trenches" that the lily-white liberals have dug for us. And yes, I know there are lots of fine, upstanding blacks who have joined American culture and want what's best for all of us.

I'm so sick of the racist hell that has been so corruptly forced down upon us. It didn't have to be this way.

Posted by FatFreddy at July 8, 2013 12:36 PM

Gerard, the only way to defang the Shamans is to pay them no mind whatsoever.

Your mick-wop honky co-conspirator,
Fran Porretto

Posted by Francis W. Porretto at July 8, 2013 1:13 PM

Wonderful, and still on target. True then, true now and it will be true until this United States shakes apart.

Posted by Joab Parmacetti at July 8, 2013 1:34 PM

And then there are folks like Quentin Tarantino, who oh, so gratuitously exclaimed, "dead nigger storage" in Pulp Fiction.

But Tarantino is a Hollywood liberal, so he gets a totally free pass. No one dares to criticize Tarantino for it. But if you're Paula Deen... you are oh, so screwed. The lib hypocrisy is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Actually, Tarantino was so clearly taking advantage of his special Hollywood director status that his racial language is the only part of Pulp Fiction that isn't perfect — sort of like the old quilting bee farm ladies who would swallow their pride and sew an inappropriate piece of cloth because 'only God can make something that is perfect'.

Pulp Fiction isn't perfect, only because of Tarantino's ego.

Posted by Smokey at July 8, 2013 1:50 PM

Agree. Absolutely!

Posted by Tom at July 8, 2013 2:27 PM

The black culture MUST have something it can do or say that is proscribed to whites. (Except, curiously, Quentin Tarantino). It is a form of cultural indolence. I'm not even going to try to outperform you. Just shut you down. Much easier. Not unlike the Russian peasant who does not admire his neighbor's nicer farmhouse and aspire to the same. No, he wants to burn it down. Only that will make him happy. Indolence before virtue.

Posted by Velociman at July 8, 2013 3:18 PM

"The late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream: a world where men would be judged by content of character rather than by color of skin.

"It was, perhaps, a noble dream. Certainly it inspired the people of the world. And, for a few lovely months back during those days of hope and change, it even seemed like a dream that could come true.

"But reality seldom lives up to any dream. And the reality of today is that the Dream has become a nightmare.

"Once upon a time America was a clean, safe, basically happy place to live and work. Once upon a time in America kids could play outside all day and walk to school and roam the neighborhood on their bikes without fear of harm. Once upon a time in America a family could go to a movie or a concert or a shopping mall without the slightest thought for their safety. Once upon a time in America a person could leave his or her house and car unlocked day and night without a care. Once upon a time in America people could walk the streets of their city day and night without fear of being roughed up, robbed, or raped by a gang of street thugs.

"We can’t do any of those things any more.


"The answer is simple: because once upon a time in America, society was strictly segregated on the basis of race. The clean, safe, happy America was a world where, by and large, blacks lived separately from whites and people of other races. Once that separation was no more, the troubles began.

"Don’t flinch. Don’t look away. Face the truth. The end of segregation was the end of the America of Once Upon a Time.

"It’s not that black people are evil, or somehow less than human. It’s just that in general black people are radically different from and incompatible with white people.

"Black people can 'act white', of course – that is, they can behave in ways typical of white culture.

"But it’s an act, as any black person will tell you. Black people have their own unique culture, a culture that has emerged from the black nation just as white culture is the natural product of the white nation. And this black culture follows black people wherever they go.

"And two cultures cannot coexist in peace within the same country. Once the federal government began using its guns to force whites and blacks to associate, once racial integration became mandated by law, the clash between whites and white culture and blacks and black culture began — and the era of clean, safe, happy America ended.

"Ugly, isn’t it?

"Want to turn away, don’t you?

"Me, too. But we dare not. Reality must be faced.

"The facts don’t lie. And like it or not, admit it or not, you know in your heart of hearts that racial integration ruined the America of Once Upon a Time.

"You know deep in your heart that this is a country at war."

-- Robert S. Oculus III, The White Book [2012]

Posted by Shibes Meadow at July 8, 2013 3:25 PM

We can learn a lot from our little friends in the animal world:

Birds of a feather flock together.

It is naïve to expect otherwise. In nature deer hang around with other deer, cows with other cows, raccoons with other raccoons, so forth. We humans are animals. Why think we will be different?

"Because we have intelligence."

Oh, really?

Posted by chasmatic at July 8, 2013 4:33 PM

I defer to a professional negro such as Spike Lee or Al Sharpton.

Posted by Gagdad Bob at July 8, 2013 6:12 PM

My grandmother had a saying that was true then and true now"

"Birds of a feather flock together
And so do pigs and swine.
Ducks and geese will have their choice
And so will I have mine."

In the case of humans I think we segregate ourselves more by class/cultural mores than ethnicity. In my nature, trailer trash (no matter their ethnicity) is not a group I am comfortable associating with. Nor am I comfortable associating with highbrow intellectuals who embrace progressivism. (Once again, their ethnicity doesn't matter.) We seek out and identify with people who share our cultural values. If they happen to be ethnically different that is too bad. I know many fine black people that I choose to associate with.

However, too many blacks in this country seem hell bent on accepting cultural norms that isolate them from the majority of society. That is a tragedy for all concerned. Especially since those norms result in increased violence and crime.

Posted by Jimmy J. at July 9, 2013 8:28 AM

Even the stories of Twain and Conrad have been bowderlized to delete the word nigger. I dare you to go to the library and ask the librarian for "The Nigger of the 'Narcissus': A Tale of the Sea" by Joseph Conrad.

Posted by Ray at July 9, 2013 11:58 AM

Even the stories of Twain and Conrad have been bowderlized to delete the word nigger. I dare you to go to the library and ask the librarian for "The Nigger of the 'Narcissus': A Tale of the Sea" by Joseph Conrad.

Posted by Ray at July 9, 2013 11:58 AM

In my language, nigger was never a color, it was an attitude. And many now have that attitude in spades.

Posted by popeye jones at July 11, 2013 5:31 AM

In my language, nigger was never a color, it was an attitude. And many now have that attitude in spades.

Posted by popeye jones at July 11, 2013 5:31 AM