You might have heard by now that white Mississippi broadcaster Barbie Bassett has not been on the air for NBC affiliate WLBT since March 8, the day she uttered the words “Fo shizzle, my nizzle” after her co-hosts joked about a possible Snoop Dogg collaboration on the news show. Apparently, Bassett was fired behind the offense because “nizzle” is a form of the n-word, and now even Black folks are debating whether or not giving her the boot was a fair response.
For example, Whoopi Goldberg is apparently furious about the firing.
“I don’t know why she’s been fired, but I do know that people have to understand that sometimes stuff comes out of folks’ mouths and you might wanna start with, ‘Hey, maybe that wasn’t the smartest thing to say,’ as opposed to ‘You’re out,’” Goldberg said on The View. Then she essentially called for a book of cancelable offenses for people to use as guidelines for what not to say.
“You know what, now that we’re talking about this…Y’all need to make a book of stuff that no one can say. There has to be a book of stuff nobody can ever say — ever, ever, ever,” she said angrily. “Include everything. Because I tell you the things that change, you can say this, but you can’t say that. But next week you might not be able to say this. It’s hard to keep up. And if you are a person of a certain age, there’s stuff we do and we say, you know what I’m saying?”
OK, but to be fair, Whoopi has been defending white problematicness since long before anyone ever heard the term “cancel culture.”
She defended Ted Danson’s blackface in the ’90s and Mel Gibson’s clear and unmistakable bigotry after that. It’s almost as if Whoopi Goldberg just doesn’t really care about racism like that.
But Whoopi isn’t the only Black person who thinks Bassett’s firing was an overreaction. The hosts at The Breakfast Club also appear to agree.
“She can’t say, ‘Fo shizzle, my nizzle?’” Charlamagne Tha God asked. “Oh, I guess cause nizzle is a derivative of n—-. I’m saying that in context. I didn’t mean to say… I’m not using that word. That’s why?”
“I don’t know if that’s fireable,” co-host DJ Envy responded.
“She might not even know what ‘nizzle’ means,” Charlamagne said. “I’m not like, come on, we got to like, stop, man. That’s not a reason to fire that woman.”
To be fair, I also (jokingly) suggested that maybe Bassett had no idea what she was saying.
OK, OK — just wait a second, guys. Maybe Bassett simply didn’t understand what the “n” in “nizzle” actually stands for.
She might have been thinking, “For sure, my nephew.” Or maybe she had no idea what any of it was translating.
“For sanctuary, my neighbor.”
“For social studies? My notebook!”
“For shares and sh*t, my network.”
“For Sizzler, my napkin.”
She could have thought she was saying any of these things.
Then Charlamagne appeared to agree with Goldberg that we need guidelines on who can say what.
“That’s the thing with hip-hop, man. Hip-hop is so big and so mainstream, and it’s just like, who can consume it and who can’t? You know what I mean?” Charlamagne said. “Who can repeat slang and who can’t?”
OK, so here’s where things get really simple for me. Non-Black people can’t say any form of the n-word PERIOD! It’s a very straightforward policy, really. Now, whether white people are going to comply or not is on them—as are the consequences.
Ultimately, I don’t necessarily agree that Bassett should have been fired over the Snoop Dogg quote, but I also don’t care that a white person might have lost her job over it. Honestly, if she was treated harshly, it’s just none of my Black business.
Besides, if Bassett should have been fired for anything, it’s the following offense:
The station’s chief meteorologist as well as anchor, Bassett has previously caused controversy with a comment, referring to a black reporter’s “grandmammy” on air. She later apologized.
She is no longer listed on the station’s website, according to the Clarion Ledger. And Bassett has not shared anything on Twitter since the same day – her silence including this weekend when a deadly tornado struck Mississippi, sparking huge chatter among meteorologists.
Naaaah, but hold up! Let’s be clear, Bassett didn’t just tell a Black reporter to consult her “grandmammy” about a “chocolate pie,” but she began her remarks by saying “giiiiirl” and “sis’” in the whitest blaccent you have ever heard those words uttered in.
So, maybe it should be considered that Bassett’s “nizzle” remark wasn’t her first racist rodeo. And maybe folks like Goldberg and Charlamagne would do well to run a quick Google search on a white person using problematic language before they rush to play Captain Save a Caucasian because they might be throwing a cape on for someone who doesn’t deserve it.
But, again, that’s just me. Defending problematic white people will never be my job, even if I’m a fan.
So, what do y’all think. Should Bassett have been fired over the Snoop Dogg quote, or nah?
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