Learn & Network With More Than 500 Senior Executives at the 2014 DiversityInc Fall Event Series October 21 - 22 | NYC

11 CEOs Confirmed! 

Register Now

TMZ Poll: “African-American or N - - - -?”

By Albert Lin

TMZ Poll: “African-American or N----?”Gossip site TMZ took some comments by music producer/executive Marion “Suge” Knight a step too far by putting up a poll on whether it is preferable to “refer to Black people as” African-Americans or n—-s.

With more than 80,000 votes, the N-word is winning 54 percent to 46 percent.

Predictably, response from the Black community has been outrage.

https://twitter.com/TruthKills89/status/413334101819535360
https://twitter.com/MELISSANTHROPE/status/412683944199352320
https://twitter.com/SamiaSaysSo/status/412683463343357953
https://twitter.com/ChinaCandyCo/statuses/412682050878324736

In an editorial of sorts on its website, Ebony wrote: “We’re done with TMZ and we hope that any self-respecting Black person who ever visited them for gossip or fun or folly or as a guilty pleasure will say the same. There is no coming back, no apology needed, no sensitivity training, nothing.”

Knight told TMZ that certain uses of the N-word are acceptable. He added, “I like [the N-word] better than ‘African-American.’ We’re not from Africa; we’re Black. Even Africans don’t call themselves African—if they’re from Kenya, they say they’re Kenyan.”

DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti says that only Black Americans can be called African-American, because only they had their personal and family history “purposefully obliterated by people who enslaved other people.”

Use of the N-word has been a hot topic this year thanks to celebrity chef Paula Deen’s admitting in a deposition that she has used the word. The backlash caused Deen to lose almost all of her business deals, with the likes of Scripps Networks Interactive (owner of Food Network), Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Sears cutting ties with her.

Miami Dolphins football player Richie Incognito also made news for using that and other racially charged language to harass teammate Jonathan Martin.

The likes of Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump weighed in on the use of the N-word (you can probably figure out which side each falls on).

In a separate interview, Public Enemy front man Chuck D told TMZ that he does not believe the N-word can be used as loosely as Knight suggested. “Being called Black in America is the struggle to keep us moving and breathing over bloody water,” he said. “Being a [N-word] without the context of history is like drowning in bloody water, dragging down those yet knowing to swim.”

Tags:

12 Comments

  • Michael Tierney

    I am a 66 year old white man. I used to be a Cashier at a grocery store in St. Paul, MN – I now live in the Philippines.

    I got into a discussion with two young men (Co-Workers) one evening as to what they preferred to be called – The first man was born and reared in Minnesota – went to a local high school and was a good student and very good athlete. I asked him about being identified as African American – he said No – he was just an American. It caught me off guard, but I was very impressed with his answer.

    The second young man was older – he was attending a local community college and the job he had helped pay for his room and board – I believe he had a scholarship. Now I knew he was from Somali, so I figured he would identify himself as African, or Somalian – Nope he is a naturalized US Citizen and Identifies himself as American as well.

    I had a third customer who was not part of this discussion, but I saw him a few days later and asked him his preferences – since he is from South Africa, but also a naturalized American Citizen, I figured he would identify himself as African – American (BTW he is white), hit the Trifecta – just another old American.

    Me? Up until that day I usually referred to myself as an Irish-American – not anymore – and especially living in a foreign country – I am just plain old American.

  • TMZ is displaying disrespect for all Americans by posting such a vote. I have been to Africa where there are truly Black colored people. In American most people are so close to the same tan completion that I don’t think African American fits anymore than European-American or Spanish-American. If you are a citizen of the United States you are an American period. To even publish such a ridiculous poll is obscene. For anyone to use the ‘N’ word only shows their lack of intellect and we should not be wasting time with a person that thinks it is okay. I believe we can all get along and are unique qualities is what keeps the world turning. I will not give up hope that our eyes will see the person for who they are, not how fat they are, what color they are, what their religious beliefs are, but who the person is.

    • there is no difference between Black and white we are all humanbeing and we all share the same moon the same sun and the same planet. you ‘re my brother, your ‘re my sister and we are one big family. we should hold our hands and fight this phenomenon. being differnet is not a crime and it’s God who jugde who is the good and the bad.

      • there is a difference and thats the beauty. we are all human but we are not the same, its wonderful, we’re suppose to compliment one another

  • grannybunny

    Totally stupid of TMZ. Why not poll Blacks/African-Americans as to which term they prefer?

  • Just call me Black. It is the essence of color. Please dont call me White. It is the absence of color. This is why black is beautiful. All colors are included in it. Dont TMZ know that this name is included in the hate crime section; except if you are a Black Rap Singer. Lord, Lord, Lord.

  • Boycott TMZ!!!

  • This is ignorant and ridiculous. It is what you answer to that’s important. The N word is hurtful, meant to dig deep to invoke outrage. Only the ignorant honors this word.

  • NonWhiteHispanicPR

    I would like to read the full transcript of the interview. I am just wondering how the topic evolved during the interview. It seems TMZ intentionally steered the conversation on that direction to create this controversy. Regardless TMZ is responsible for offending many people. What can you expect from an uninformative source of media.

  • Now I know why I don’t like this show. I turn the channel every time I see it come on!!!!!!!!!

  • Dr Marjorie

    TMZ is apparently run by isolated, uninformed, small minded people who have no idea as to what Inclusion really means and how and why this struggle continues with name calling. No doubt it is irrelevant to them but it is very offensive to those of us who strive to convey positivity in all ethnicities, races, creed, and national origins. This is appalling to African Americans and other races who just want this thing that is called ignorance and insensitivity about people, regardless of color, to just go away. We live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of the stupid or the home of the caged. It is obvious that TMZ has little or no respect for the people who have made them who they are today in the media world. A word to the unwise, there are enough social ills to intervene on behalf of, if you truly want to help in a way that matters, than to focus on such highly charged subject matter that still has a long way to go, even in America!

  • TMZ…you sure make it hard on the elementary and middle school teachers in America…you all promote the use of cuss words and disrespectful communication…ADD the fact that most of the parents have abdicated their parental role of directing and guiding their young folk and monitoring the things they watch, play, and listen to…ADD all the “music” that glorifies disrespect and self-hatred while promoting sexually explicit and denigrating themes…then when my students (of all races) are running down the halls of the school calling each other B$%%@ and N*#$a and H&^*…I have an uphill battle to climb to teach them why this is wrong…you make my job exhausting…when do I get to teach grammar and reading comp?

Leave a Reply


Close

Receive DiversityInc Newsletters and Alerts