Sooner or later, white people are going to have to learn there is no context in which their use of the n-word is anything less than inappropriate and racist. It doesn’t matter what form of the word they use, if they used it while telling a story in which it was used or if they were repeating what they heard some Black person say. White people would do well to respect the history and the power dynamics surrounding the slur and keep it TF out of their mouths.
On Monday, Tarrant, Ala., city councilman Tommy Bryant asked what his caucasity-infused mind probably thought was a simple question: “Do we have a house nigger in here?”
Bryant didn’t think he was being racist. It’s not like he was asking the question because he owns a fully operational slave plantation he’s looking to staff or because he really wanted a Candace Owens autograph after all. In fact, according to CBS 42, he said he was referencing what Tarrant’s first Black mayor, Wayman Newton, called City Councilwoman Veronica Freeman, who is also Black.
It’s unclear if Newton actually called Freeman a house nigger or in what context the term was used—we’d just be going off the word of a white man who had just said the words with his whole chest himself, after all—but it really doesn’t matter, because Bryant was only using the slur to deflect from questions about his own proximity to racism and flagrant n-word-slinging.
According to Newsweek, Bryant was questioned about his wife’s alleged use of the slur on social media. Instead of dealing with the line of questioning he was confronted with, Bryant apparently defaulted to a “but Black people say it all the time” defense, and to put the cherry on top of this white supremacist sundae, he decided to stand up and use the word himself.
“Let’s get to the n-word,” Bryant says before asking “Do we have a house [N-word] in here? Do we? Do we?”
He is seen pointing in the direction of city councilwoman Veronica Freeman, who is Black.
There is audible shock on the video among those in attendance.
Freeman can be seen appearing to sob into her hands following the remarks.
Bryant later defended his use of the term in an interview with WVTM, claiming he was only repeating the words Tarrant city’s Black mayor, Wayman Newton, had previously used in reference to Freeman.
According to the councilman, Newton described Freeman using the phrase along with the prefix “stupid” in an executive session earlier that day.
“We need to stop the racial slurs that the mayor makes,” Bryant said. “He’s always picking on Veronica Freeman...the mayor bullies her. The city needs to know what kind of mayor and what kind of vocabulary he has.”
Listen: I’m not familiar with the history between Newton and Freeman. I just know the white man who is making bullying accusations is the same one who appeared to make Freeman cry after pointing her out while using the slur.
And because white entitlement is a hell of a drug, Bryant doubled down on defending his use of the term in response to increased calls for him to resign over the incident.
“We were astonished. No one left, because we were actually very very in shock as to what he had said,” Black Tarrant resident Waynette Bonham told CBS. “I was like, this was the person that is supposed to be serving our communities? Like, this is supposed to be our representation, he has his own district in Tarrant? No.
“I think he should resign because he was way too comfortable standing up and using that word in front of a group of people of color,” he continued.
On Tuesday, Bryant told reporters he would “absolutely not” resign and that he “may even consider running for mayor next time.”
When asked about his use of the slur, Bryant asserted that “It is OK for me to repeat it because as I said before, I wanted everybody to know what the mayor had said.”
“He said it in a derogatory manner, I said it so that people would know what the mayor said,” Bryant added.
In a statement to Al.com, Newton kept his response to Bryant’s white nonsense short and sweet.
“The video speaks for itself,” he said.