Obama, Larry Wilmore and That Word

Larry Wilmore speaking at President Obama's last White House Correspondent's Dinner created a stir by using what some in the Black community consider to be a term of endearment to President Obama.
Larry Wilmore speaking at President Obama’s last White House Correspondent’s Dinner created a stir by using what some in the Black community consider to be a term of endearment to President Obama. Getty Images

Breaking news, our President Barack H. Obama, is the personal “Nigger” of a comedian less entertaining than what’s his name who outed Bill Cosby. Yet the President seems not to be offended by Wilmore’s use of this century old racial slur. Wilmore used that word in reference to the President at the conclusion of his speech before the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

Many members of the Black community were horrified to hear those sentiments expressed in public about their beloved president. But President Obama, according to Josh Ernest, White House press secretary, “appreciated the spirit of Mr. Wilmore’s expressions.”

If this is what President Obama advised the White House press office to say, then he is expressing the age old sentiment in the hood, that “it is okay for a brother to call another brother a Nigger.”

I first heard this rationale sitting on the “smoking wall” at Lanier Senior High School back in the days before desegregation (1966), when fewer than 100 brothers and I were the only blacks students in the school. It did not make much sense to me then, nor does it now.

It always boggled my mind:

“How could the brothers get angry when one of the white boys used that derogatory term towards us before lunch, but it was okay to refer to each other by that term at lunchtime?”

Usually when the term was used during the lunch hour there was laughter all around.

I have never been able to rationalize this conundrum in my own mine, let alone attempt to explain to my white friends why it is an acceptable term coming from the brothers, but not when coming from them.

I have had professional white men insist that they meant no harm when referring to me by that term, because some black dudes they were in college with called each other that term all the time. It made it profoundly more difficult to punch that friend in mouth.

Some more of Larry Wilmore's endearing people at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, Carmelo Anthony and his wife Lala Anthony Getty Images
Some more of Larry Wilmore’s endearing people at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, Carmelo Anthony and his wife Lala Anthony
Getty Images

Now this news from the White House, President Obama is appreciative that he is Wilmore’s Nigger. If he is Wilmore’s Nigger, then he just proved that the Right Wingers were right, when they contended eight years ago, that “there is a Nigger in the White House.”

I hope you are feeling me Barack, my President!




Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com



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Published by Michael

Harold Michael Harvey is a Past President of The Gate City Bar Association and is the recipient of the Association’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award. He is the author of Paper Puzzle and Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System, and a two-time winner of Allvoices’ Political Pundit Prize. His work has appeared in Facing South, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Black Colleges Nines, and Medium.

2 replies on “Obama, Larry Wilmore and That Word”

  1. Wow, totally don’t get this Micheal.
    Don’t get most things today my friend.
    Donald Trump for President, Wow.

    Let’s talk soon.

    Great as usual

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