After penning a condescending piece entitled "If black Americans want the N-word to die, they will have to kill it themselves", Piers Morgan appears quite taken aback by the backlash he’s received. I’m not. Though he made valid points, his arguments were invalidated by his disconnect from the black community.
If you’re fighting a cause but alienating those you stand with, then you must be told. So whilst Piers Morgan is not a racist, he is painfully out of touch with the demographic he hopes to ‘advise’. Had he bothered to journey out of his ivory tower and through the privilege that comes with his ivory skin, he’d have realised most of us didn’t need, or even want it.
And that’s not because he’s wrong, but because an (albeit well meaning) white, middle class Englishman smugly presenting a superfluous non-solution as if they have discovered the cure to cancer is a narrative we’re familiar with and tired of. Black people have had quite enough of rich white men telling them what to do, thank you very much.
He’s had his ‘eureka’ moment several years after many a black scholar, activist and average Joe has debated the very thing he believes he’s brought to our attention. It’s like watching your nan tell you about a ‘brand new thing’ called Skype. And it doesn’t help that the entire thing reeks of the white saviour complex - as if it had never crossed our silly minority minds to stop using a word that would end racism as we know it. Because the fact of the matter is, it wouldn’t.
Black people banning the N-word will not stop racists using it. Though rap music and Vine videos may see the word crop up in spaces where it wouldn’t have a few years ago, such as on Twitter, its continued usage by blacks has no bearing whatsoever on whether whites will use it as a racial slur. Racists don’t feel legitimised using this word because we use it - they feel legitimised because they are racist.
The white teens that use the word in lieu of ‘bro’ on Monday turn to its pejorative meaning on Tuesday when embroiled in an argument with a black person. And even if they don’t, they can. Therein lies Piers’ problem - blaming black people for the use of a word we never wanted, rather than the society which created it.
Many people agree with Piers Morgan because this argument removes culpability from whites and places it at the doorstep of blacks who have attempted to turn the massive flaming turd left on their porch by society into something less fetid. Whether this has been successful or not can be critiqued, but like most things perhaps that’s best left to those who can actually provide a nuanced and, most importantly, informed view on the subject.
Piers Morgan in quotes
Piers Morgan in quotes
1/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“I want to interview the most important people in the world and have everyone in America the next day going, 'Did you see that?'” On Piers Morgan Live, which was recently axed.
2/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“Most of the men that sue in Hollywood are all about 5' 2“. They wake up every day, know they're tiny and feel very angry about it, so they go out and sue people.”
3/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“It was pretty compelling to watch, pretty weird, and it made me gag a few times.” – in his role as Britain’s Got Talent judge
4/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“I'm guilt-ridden about introducing her to Paul McCartney. It was a moment of Cupid madness which cost Sir Paul $50 million, so the least I can do is ban her from the show.” - On banning Heather Mills from Piers Morgan Tonight
5/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“Bill O'Reilly is like a comfortable pair of shimmeringly angry slippers, but you know every night what you're going to get.” – On Bill O’Reilly
6/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“Why do we want someone like Ruth Kelly controlling our children? She's the scariest woman I've ever seen in politics.” - On the British Education Secretary in 2005
7/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“You're an unbeleivably stupid man, aren't you?” Interviewing gun-rights activist Larry Pratt
8/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“There is a type of snobbish, pompous journalist who thinks that the only news that has any validity is war, famine, pestilence or politics. I don't come from that school.”
9/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“To all the ignorant, bigoted transgender community members continuing to abuse me re @janetmock - I'm bored of you now, go away. Thanks.” - On interviewing transgender activist Janet Mock
10/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“I have kind of an edge in me, which will be a little bit different for that time slot but probably necessary to combat the O'Reillys and so on who are making all the noise.”
11/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"Everyone's worst ever Christmas sweater > Team USA uniforms. #RalphLauren #Sochi #OpeningCeremony" - Tweeting ahead of Sochi Olympics... And wondering why he's not that popular in the US.
12/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"To reiterate, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone." - Defending himself against fresh phone-hacking allegations.
13/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"Anything to do with my kids really is the only thing that gets to me. It's the most difficult thing about the job, unquestionably. It's been the most difficult thing to sacrifice." - On not realising he was the editor of The Mirror once and how hypocritical this therefore sounds.
14/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"I wonder if poor old Jeremy Clarkson's little hissy fit today is connected to Top Gear's disintegrating ratings & rumours it may be axed?" - Embarrassing in hindsight, during a Twitter spat with Jeremy Clarkson.
15/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"I never realised how endlessly entertaining Twitter would turn out to be. Oh, the joy when I realised you could tweet Manchester United stars personally, ridiculing them for everything from their dodgy haircuts to offensive swimwear. And even more delicious when they began firing back like enraged Rambos on acid." - On his social media addiction.
16/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"I do blame people. Where were all the people making money out of her when it mattered? Really, where were they? You know, it's just not good enough and they're all going to make millions out of it now she's dead. You know, the album Back to Black is number one… but people let her down." - On passing the blame on from the pressures of the tabloid press for Amy Winehouse's death.
17/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
“Absolutely nobody in the entire United States of America has even a modicum of interest in who I am, but I’m determined to change that." - On what he tried - and failed - to do in the US.
18/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"I fear I am now a victim of 'cisphobia'." - Piers Morgan combats being called 'transphobic' after sensationalised Janet Mock interview... By being massively transphobic.
19/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"@GaryLinekar_ Did you ever actually tackle anyone?" - To which Linekar replied, "Nope never hacked anyone".
20/20 Piers Morgan's Most Pretentious Phrases
"If I wanted a lesson on physical appearance I'd go to @evalongoria not Shrek's ugly brother" - Arguing with Rio Ferdinand on Twitter. Again.
Piers is not this person. He tweets affectionately about the British Empire, for goodness sake (which was also very fond of the idea of white men ordering people of colour about ‘for their own good’ too).
Marginalised groups often attempt to reclaim the slurs that are used to denigrate them. Those who do not inhabit these groups may not understand why, but since they don’t inhabit them, no one is asking them to. As a heterosexual woman who benefits from the privilege of ‘normative sexuality’, it’s not for me to condemn the gay communities continued use the word f****t, neither is it for me to scold Asians use of p**i, especially without touching on the role the straight, white men like Piers should play in stopping racism, homophobia and sexism altogether. Lest we forget, this isn’t a conversation we’d even be having had white people not created the word hundreds of years ago.
Though he may not agree with the attempt at rebranding, what he certainly shouldn’t do is place the onus on blacks for their decision to reclaim a word created to besmirch them in the first place.Reuse content