UPDATED: 2:00 p.m. ET, June 3, 2023
Originally published on May 10, 2023
Now-former MLB announcer Glen Kuiper was fired for saying the N-word live on the air before a game, but it’s important to remember how he managed to hold on to his job for nearly two full weeks after uttering using what is perhaps the most hurtful racist slur in the English language.
Kuiper, who was a longtime announcer for the Oakland Athletics baseball team, is among the latest in a long line of notable white people who have said the N-word publically. He was initially given the benefit of the doubt by his employers and placed on leave pending a review before pressure mounted and resulted in Kuiper’s termination.
A fair number of them have never been fully held accountable for using the hateful word, making him an exception to what’s seemingly been a longstanding rule.
That rule reared its ugly, racist head recently in Iowa when a white employee at the Dubuque Hempstead High School was caught on video calling a Black student the N-word directly to his face in an example of casual racism.
Footage of the incident surfaced online showing the white man who works at the school staring a at student walking from a classroom, when out of the blue he yelled toward the Black student, “What you looking at, n*gger?”
The racial slur immediately caught everyone standing in the hallway off guard, including the student who was filming. The employee tries to quickly apologize to the Black student but the damage had already been done.
The school employee has not been identified but has been placed on leave while an investigation is pending. He has also not been fired, but school officials vowed he will be disciplined without offering any specifics about the punishment.
Julia Jorgenson, who is the school’s assistant principal, released a statement to families of children who attend the school condemning the teacher’s actions and confirming that disciplinary actions are on the way.
“I want to be clear in saying that the actions shown in this video are not acceptable and do not represent the values of Hempstead High School or the Dubuque Community School District,” said Jorgensen in a statement. “The staff member involved was immediately placed on leave while the district completes an investigation, which as always, will be followed by appropriate disciplinary action. We strive every day to ensure that each of our students learns in a safe, inclusive learning environment and today, for many, Hempstead did not live up to that expectation. I have talked personally with many students and parents today, as have members of our administrative team and staff across the building, to reinforce that we are here to support students today and moving forward. I have been nothing short of impressed by the maturity, honesty and emotion in those conversations. One of our Mustang values is to be inclusive, and we will continue to strive to do better each day.”
Similar to Kuiper in the immediate aftermath of his saying the N-word, the school employee remains on the payroll despite what is largely seen as a fireable offense.
A TV station in Mississippi even found the use of the word “nizzle” — a slang derivative of the N-word — to be unacceptable and promptly fired a news anchor for saying it on the air.
But Hempstead High School and the Dubuque Community School District have apparently instead chosen to lend sympathy and the benefit of the doubt to the employee.
The phenomenon is not unique to the Iowa school employee’s situation as various institutions have routinely and readily forgiven white people for using the N-word to describe Black people. That is especially true in the field of education, apparently. Scroll down to find 10 more glaring examples of that truth.
1. Bill Maher
Bill Maher, the same talk show host who defended referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” has repeatedly used the N-word on his talk show on HBO, which has refused to do anything more than give him a slap on the wrist for using racist language.
In this shameless instance from 2017, Maher refers to himself as a “house nigger” after Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse invited him to his home state to help “work the fields.”
HBO called the racist stunt “inexcusable and tasteless,” but the cable network definitely didn’t fire him. Nearly six years afterward, Maher remains gainfully employed by HBO, which has demonstrated how a white employee saying the N-word on its airwaves is not grounds for termination, possibly encouraging others to do the same.
Maher, for his part, expressed “regret” and said he was “very sorry.”
Not coincidentally, 16 years before the above episode aired, Maher vehemently defended using the N-word and argued that anybody should be able to say it.
2. California teacher
A language arts teacher at Sequoia Middle School in Fontana, California, had her class reading a Mark Twain novel when a student asked about the N-word used by one of the characters.
“The teacher got in front of the class and she was saying that the word is just an English word and everybody can say it if she wants to, it’s in the dictionary, and people are oversensitive over the word,” said a Black student who recorded the teacher saying the N-word. “She was trying to force him to say the word and she repeatedly kept saying it and she had a smirk on her face. I was just thinking, ‘Dang, this teacher is out of her mind.’”
While there were calls for the teacher to be fired, there are no reports that they ever were terminated.
3. Tennessee teacher
Knox County Schools in Tennessee refused to fire a white South-Doyle High School teacher who was caught on video repeatedly using the N-word while his students, including Black students, demanded that he stop.
Sanford Graves was suspended WITH pay pending an investigation.
Knox County Schools said it “does not tolerate any instances of racism.”
Of course, if there really was a zero-tolerance policy, Graves would have been fired outright and not given a glorified paid vacation from work for his racism.
4. Stephanie “Bagel Karen” Denaro
Stephanie Denaro, a pro-Trump, COVID-denying, anti-vaxxing racist is shown on video calling a Black employee a “b*tch ass n*gger” during a recent visit to Davidovich Bakery located in Essex Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Denaro was eventually escorted out by security. The NYPD said it will not be investigating the matter.
5. Donald Trump
During an interview with Rachel Maddow, Mary Trump — Donald Trump’s niece — claimed he has used the N-word as long as she’s known him. (Big surprise, I know…)
Mary Trump told Maddow her whole family used racist slurs, she was asked that also included Donald Trump. Mary Trump looked at Maddow like she was crazy for even suggesting there was any doubt in the first place.
“Oh yeah,” she said, looking dumbfounded. “Of course I did.” She added: “I don’t think that should surprise anybody.”
But Maddow, who was speechless in response, did seem to be caught off guard by what was stated as fact.
So she asked again, slightly differently.
“Have you heard the president use the N-word?” Maddow rephrased her question, giving Mary Trump a chance to change her claims. But she didn’t.
“Yeah,” Mary Trump responds while nodding her head affirmatively.
6. Mike Perry, UFC fighter
Mike Perry, a welterweight fighter with the UFC, was shown on a video having a heated argument with an older man after being escorted out of a restaurant following an argument in Texas in 2021. Apparently, Perry was raging mad because the man was “touching” him. As the two men continue arguing, Perry swings and knocks out the man with a mammoth punch. The video continued rolling as the fight spilled outside of the restaurant and people tried to calm Perry down. That’s when he started spouting off with the N-word, repeatedly lacing his angry speech with the racial slur.
Perry was never held accountable for his racism.
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