NYC Tries To Ban The N- Word
While the moratorium carries no penalty, the move is the latest in several campaigns to remove the n-word from common vocabulary. According to Reuters reports, similar resolutions were passed this month by the New York state assembly and state senate. Additionally, supporters of the ban have expressed plans to ask the RecordingAcademy not to nominate musicians who use the n-word in their lyrics for Grammy awards.
"This could be the beginning of a movement," Councilman Albert Vann told Reuters reporters.
However, a spokesperson for the Grammy's doubts the academy's 11,000 voting members will be keen on putting limits on free speech.
"They are not going to be supportive of something that excludes someone simply because they are using a word that is offensive," Ron Roecker, Vice President of communication for the Recording Academy told Reuters.
While one sponsor of the moratorium, Councilman Leroy Comrie says the move to ban the word has gained support after Michael Richards slur-laden tirade at Los Angeles comedy club, The Laugh Factory.
"The Michael Richards incident really brought it to another level. It has forced people to express their outrage. Many people had been seething quietly," Comrie said.
Richards apologized for the incident, and the Laugh Factory has since banned comedians from using the word in their acts.
However, many clubs continue to allow comedians the freedom to use the word. As recently as last week, while performing at Caroline's comedy club in New York City, popular comedian Donnell Rawlings, (who is frequently called Ashy Larry after one of his characters) made references to the Richards incident and used the n-word freely during his act.
"I think it's extreme," Rawlings said of the NYC council moratorium. "The question is, who are you going to get to be the nigger word, police?"
When asked about the ban, comedian Chris Rock expressed similar views to Reuters reporters.
"What, is there a fine? Am I going to get a ticket?" Rock mocked in a Reuters interview when asked about the City Council move. "Do judges say, '10 years, nigger!'"