Despite the derogatory headline, the WestView News piece was actually a pro-Obama article arguing that Republicans and their supporters dislike Obama because of his race.
“It is possible to draw only one conclusion: these far right voters hate Obama because he is Black,” columnist James Lincoln Collier wrote. “The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism. A large minority have for some six years have been quietly angry that they must have in the White House a member of an inferior class of people.”
The column intended to explore the idea that racism, though less overt, still exists. However, in a disclaimer running alongside the column, editor and publisher George Capsis described Collier as a “straight talking man,” and said that he made the decision to use the “N” word in the article because Collier reminded him that TheNew York Times avoids using the word. Capsis also admitted his initial apprehension of using the word as part of the headline.
In the article, Collier, an award-winning author of the children’s book “My Brother Sam is Dead” noted that even “the media, including The New York Times, has been wary of addressing this issue.”
The paper also ran a column just below Collier’s op-ed by African American columnist Alvin Hall titled, “This Headline Offends Me.” Hall voices an objection to his own newspaper’s decision to run that particular headline.
Hall wrote that seeing the n-word in an article evokes unpleasant emotions, because he grew up in a time when using the word in a sentence to an African American would have either sparked a reaction or was used to degrade or insult Black people.
Hall wrote that one might read the article by Collier and think it was an appropriate tactic to call out Americans for “the not-so-coded language used by conservative senators, representatives and media pundits,” but said he doesn’t see how the headline nor the article benefits anyone.
“But I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me,” Hall wrote.