On 06/12/2012, writer and academic Michael Eric Dyson appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” where he talked with music mogul Russell Simmons about Gwyneth Paltrow’s use of the N-word earlier this month in a tweet. Dyson and Simmons ultimately took the position that the N-word is acceptable for use in society, but with one very important limitation: the user must be black. Moreover, according to Simmons, said black individual must have a direct bloodline to a slave in order to drop “ni**a” (or some variant) into a conversation. Riiiiiiight. Simmons failed to offer any insight as to how someone’s bloodline would be verified.
In the case of the Paltrow kerfuffle, Gwyneth was given a “pass” by rapper Nas and consequently by Simmons, but Dyson asserted that it’s never any black person’s place to give a white person a pass for using the N-word. Dyson’s final pronouncement? “I would suggest to all white people, here’s an iron-clad law that will help you at all points. Here’s when you can say the word: Never.”
Roland Martin, columnist, talk show host, and CNN contributor, was less than pleased with Dyson and Simmons’ contention that N-word is OK for blacks but not for anyone else. For Martin, the N-word is never acceptable. Not for me, not for thee, not for anyone.
What followed was a very spirited debate between Martin and Dyson: CLICK HERE to see the debate.