The name of a hunting camp leased by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a GOP presidential frontrunner, and his family has rippled through the nation, stirring up the long standing debate around the N-word.
For the women on “The View,” it’s been a topic of conversation since at least 2008. After Jesse Jackson used the term, Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd said that it was seen as an endearment in black culture but that it was off limits to their white co-hosts.
Sticking true to her argument three years later, Shepard took issue with Barbara Walters’s discussion of Perry’s camp on Monday’s show.
Both Goldberg and Walters said the name — Niggerhead — in full, but Shepherd only took issue with Walters using the word.
“When I heard you say it, it was fine. You said it a different way,” Shepherd told Goldberg. She told Walters, “I didn’t like the way you said it. . . . I don’t know if it’s a semantics thing, but it’s something that goes through my body.”
“Is it because I’m white?” Walters asked.
The word and its use, though, is not the main problem with the Perry story, Ta-Nehisi Coates points out. The Atlantic writer sees a bigger issue than just one word painted on a rock. “[This] says very little about Rick Perry, and a lot more about the country he seeks to govern,” he writes.
“What we see on display in the quotes is the insidiousness of racism, the way it gets in the blood, and literally alters the senses. A black woman in the county claims she was constantly addressed as ‘Nigger.’ A white man, in the very same county, claims that ‘Blacks were perfectly satisfied.’ ”
Perry’s ranch is by no means the only racially insensitive name of a location in the United States. Andrew Sullivan collected stories from across the country from his readers who recalled similarly named products and places, from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest.