It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these but with the sudden controversy surrounding Jeremy Clarkson I think it’s time for me to lay down my two cents on this ridiculous situation. For those of you who haven’t heard, Jeremy’s currently being hunted down by the media for apparently using the word ‘nigger’ whilst recording an episode of Top Gear. Before I go on I’d like to point out that I’m not going to be censoring the word nigger in this post, we’re all grown ups here and if you don’t like it you’re more than welcome to close this tab, nobody is forcing you to read this.
In a clip which never made the final edit of the episode Jeremy is heard singing a nursery rhyme to decide between two cars. The rhyme goes,
‘Eeny meany miney mo
Catch a nigger by his toe
If he squeaks let him go
Eeny meeny miney MO’
Jeremy is heard mumbling the second line of the rhyme in an effort to censor himself, but according to some media outlets if you listen really closely you can hear Jeremy say the word nigger. I’m not convinced but you can listen for yourself below.
Jeremy of course denied that he used the word:
Fellow Top Gear presenters James May and Richard Hammond even posted these tweets:
In response to pressure from the media Jeremy posted his reaction and an apology in a video online.
Jeremy explains that in two of the three takes he mumbled where the word should have been and in the third he replaced it altogether with the word ‘teacher’. He then went on to point out that after listening back to the footage he asked the production team to use another take where it doesn’t sound like he’s using the word.
So here’s where I’m left wondering why there’s such a big fuss over this whole farce of a situation. Jeremy’s made it clear that he didn’t intend to use the word. I’m not sure about you but if you listen to the footage can you honestly say beyond reasonable doubt that Jeremy did indeed say the word nigger? No not at all! I in fact commend Clarkson for taking the initiative to get the footage removed from the final cut of the show even though you can’t actually hear him say the word. Furthermore there’s a difference between somebody being fundamentally racist (see UKIP) and somebody accidentally (but probably not) using a racist phrase.
There’s a bigger issue here though and it’s not about Jeremy it’s about the use of the word nigger in society. We seem to be in a world with a horrible double standard when it comes to using the word nigger. Apparently it’s not okay for a white British television presenter to possibly mumble the word but when Jay Z and Kanye dropped Niggas in Paris I’m not sure about you but I didn’t see people kicking up a fuss. In fact as a reader of this post can you honestly say that you’ve never used the word nigger whilst singing along?
It doesn’t just stop at Niggas in Paris, I could name you hundreds of tracks featuring the word nigger, then add in all of the comedians who use the word in their acts and all the films where the word’s landed itself in the script.
Now I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong for the word to be used so passively in society but it’s incredibly disappointing that we allow one portion of society to use the word freely whilst an innocent but admittedly arrogant and opinionated television presenter is persecuted because he possibly but probably didn’t use the word.
I’ll leave you with one last thought. I purposely put a picture of myself in the header of this post, I’m a black British guy from an African background. Now in the first paragraph I said ‘I’m not going to be censoring the word nigger in this post‘, some but not all of you would have been fine with that because of my background, but if this article was written by a white bloke would you still have been as laid back with me using the word so freely? I’m not sure you would have, and really and truly that’s not okay.
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