Here Are Some Of The Dumbest Defenses Of Joe Rogan’s Repeated Use Of The N-Word

Media/Entertainment
Here Are Some Of The Dumbest Defenses Of Joe Rogan’s Repeated Use Of The N-Word

It’s Black History Month, and we’re spending time discussing why white people shouldn’t use the “n-word.” (No, not even if it’s a lyric from a rap song. Also that rap song is probably 20 years old.) Joe Rogan is under fire for repeated use of the racial epithet, and his supporters have rushed to explain why that’s not so bad.

REMEMBER?: Joe Rogan Does Bad Job Of Apologizing For Saying The N-Word

Comedian Whitney Cummings tweeted the following nonsense:

Comedians did not sign up to be your hero. It’s our job to be irreverent and dangerous, to question authority and take you through a spooky mental haunted house so you can arrive at your own conclusions. Stay focused on the people we pay taxes to to be moral leaders.

Refraining from using racial epithets isn’t “heroic.” You’re not rushing into a burning building to save a Black person. You can not say the n-word from your couch. When she talks about comedians questioning authority, how much power does Cummings think Black people have in this country? We can barely vote. Stop rubbing the n-word in our wounds.

It’s interesting that Cummings would argue that comedians are amoral sociopaths who’ll say and do anything for a laugh. She’s politically active when it’s an issue that directly impacts her, such as when she openly opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Back in 2018, she wrote: "You can treat 65 women with respect and still sexually assault a woman who wasn’t one of those 65 women.” That was in response to a letter from 65 women insisting that Kavanaugh was a “good person."


Here’s a clip from Rogan’s 2006 standup special when he leads an audience through the “spooky mental haunted house” where the n-word “sounds cool.” Every Black person who remembers the first time they were called that word does not in fact think it “sounds cool.”



Rogan had claimed that he’d used the racial slur in a specific context that wasn’t itself racist, although from the above clip, that context was usually “I wish I could say the n-word. In fact, I think I shall!” This weekend, Ana Kasparian at the Young Turks also insisted that there’s an appropriate context for using that word even though Black people keep insisting there isn’t. It’s like no one listens to us n-words.

Back in the day, we had a policy on TYT when covering gross statements made by racists. Instead of sanitizing their quotes with “n-word” we would read the quotes verbatim. Context does matter. Cancel me if you’d like. Don’t care.

I don't think anyone's trying to cancel Kasparian for "old journalism policy she didn't even set." But she does sound pretty excited to get cancelled; maybe she thinks said cancellation would be a pretty quick ticket to the Bill Maher Program! Considering a racial slur so vile and unspeakable you won’t speak it yourself doesn’t sanitize quotes from racists. However, casually saying the slur only normalizes its use. That’s why white guys like Rogan think the n-word is “cool.” They watched too many Tarantino films and are mad that they can’t repeat the “dead [n-word] storage” bit.

Anyway, the pièce de résistance of stupidity came from two-time failed Democratic primary candidate Andrew Yang, who defended Rogan against charges of racism. In a since deleted tweet, he wrote: “I don’t think Joe Rogan is a racist — the man interacts with and works with Black people literally all of the time."


Yang tweet: 'Do I know black friends of Joe's who would swear by him? yes I do.'Twitter


Wow! Joe Rogan deigns to exist in the world with Black people! He’s like Mother Fucking Theresa. Yang implies Rogan is doing Black folks a favor when he “interacts and works” with us. Yang has no idea how institutional racism functions in America. Yang also claimed, “Do I know Black friends of Joe’s who would swear by hm? Yes, I do.”

"Some of my best friends are Black” is a tired cliche, and it doesn’t grant Rogan “n-word” privileges or make him less racist for using the word despite civilized society advising otherwise.

Congratulations, Andrew Yang, you’ve now officially displaced Marianne Williamson as the silliest 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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