My video and blog request for YouTube to stop the use of the N-word has started a conversation that’s growing. While this blogger is not interested in debate – the N-word is bed and is not wanted on my channel – there is thoughtful conversation about this issue, both on YouTube and around the Internet.
To be clear the N-word (or nigger) is defined in this way according to Dictionary.com:
term nigger is now probably the most offensive word in English. Its degree of offensiveness has increased markedly in recent years, although it has been used in a derogatory manner since at least the Revolutionary War. Definitions 1a, 1b, and 2 represent meanings that are deeply disparaging and are used when the speaker deliberately wishes to cause great offense. Definition 1a, however, is sometimes used among African-Americans in a neutral or familiar way. Definition 3 is not normally considered disparaging—as in “The Irish are the niggers of Europe” from Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments —but the other uses are considered contemptuous and hostile.
The problem for some is that because the word “is sometimes used among African-Americans in a neutral or familiar way,” they think that makes the term OK to use. It does not make it OK at all.
In my entire life, I’ve never had one friend or relative, use the term toward me. And on the rare occasion that it happens, I quickly speak up and express my displeasure.
Indeed, the real problem is that those who aren’t black and hear blacks use the term should speak up and say it’s not correct to use. That would go a long way toward placing the word in the trash bin of history, where it belongs.
But I digress.
All I’m asking for is for YouTube to install a filter to I can block out the N-word from my channel. Someone observed that the video seemed to ask for a site-wide ban, but I’m not interested in controlling what other YouTubers present. I just want to be able to have some control over what’s presented on my channel.
YouTube Comments Are Thoughful
This video has produced some of the most thoughtful comments I’ve ever read and far against my expectations. I thought I would be bombarded with trolls using the term, but, while there have been some who thought they would play around and use it, or some derivation, they have been in the minority.
This comment, by DiaryIsLocked on YouTube is my favorite thus far:
I agree. Though I believe I need to inform people of this fact. Race is a made up term to categorize people. Mainly developed in patriarchal western societies, which sadly is where a lot of racist slanders thrive. Race is not a biological term nor is it a scientific term. Also using the “freedom of speech” debate is useless in this. Yes, you do have the right to voice your opinions WITHOUT infringing on another person’s rights or freedoms. That’s the catch twenty-two right there.
YouTube Is Not A Public Forum
And that comment brings up this point: YouTube is not a public forum, it’s a private channel. In a true public forum, you can go out in the town square and say what you want. But even then, free speech is limited by defamation laws against hate speech. And that’s the point here.
All too often the N-word has been use to defame, in this case, me. What YouTube currently has is a system where I have to moderate every comment, thus gumming up my email box with requests. I have 1,468 videos and just around a hundred thousand comments. I’m not interested in taking a whole comment down, if I can encourage the person not to use hate speech, and be more thoughtful, rather than hateful, in the selection of words to express their ideas.
I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Pressing The YouTube Issue
This is a matter I will continue to seek new ways to press YouTube on. I should be able to filter out the N-word. Indeed, if someone wants to take out the F-word, or the R-word, they should be able to do that too.