'Nig**s in Paris': Can White People Say It?

Kanye West and Alec Baldwin (Uptown magazine)
Kanye West and Alec Baldwin (Uptown magazine)

Alec Baldwin is a fan of Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne album, and one song in particular. Yesterday, on Twitter, he said, "I love that song NIGGAS IN PARIS," and threw in a joke about his own race ("Kanye and I are doing a song called NIGGAS IN MONTAUK. My album is called MY BEAUTIFUL PALE TWISTED FANTASY.")


Something the actor is not as big a fan of: being chastised by followers who say it was inappropriate for a white person to use the title of the song. Uptown magazine reports that he was attacked and called a racist the minute his comments hit the Twittersphere.

According to Uptown, Baldwin defended himself, insisting that “[this] generation has defused the hate that word carried," and tweeting, "Anyone who thinks that quoting the title of that song is racist is a disgrace. To the human race."

We adamantly disagree that the word has been scrubbed of hateful associations. (Recall the very recent alleged Mississippi hate crime in which white teens are accused of saying "let's go f—- with some n—-ers" before brutally murdering a black man.)

But even those of us who hate the sound of it have to realize that it would be absurd to expect everyday, nonracist white people to avoid uttering the title of a song made for mainstream consumption (or remember to use the asterisks in the official title). While it's understandable to feel squeamish hearing the n-word coming from the mouth or the Twitter feed of someone who's not black, critics should take their complaints to the artists who titled the song, not the fans who innocently and/or ignorantly repeat its name. 

Read more at Uptown magazine.

In other news: VIDEO: Troy Davis' Last-Chance Hearing.