Tim Allen Has Been Thinking About Paula Deen, So He Says the N-Word. A Lot.
The man formerly known as Santa Claus took a break from whatever he's doing (standup comedy for dads, apparently) to sit down with the Tampa Bay Times and say the n-word. A lot.
To be fair, Tim Allen doesn't seem as much of a racist as he seems just an uninformed individual trying to explain how the n-word works. Just see his comparison of calling someone the n-word to calling them a dingleberry:
In Webster’s old dictionary the word “n-----” means unemployed and indigent dock worker. That’s one definition. So I said, (to my brother) in that case … he lives in Boston and he’s not employed … so you’d be a n-----. And he goes, yeah. If my brother told me not to call him a dingleberry in front of my mother, ‘cause I knew it pissed him… pisses me off. As soon as Mom left, and I wanted to piss him off? I’d say ‘dingleberry, dingleberry, dingleberry.’ So if you’re around a word to be problematic for you and low intellect or uninvolved people find that out, they’re gonna call you n----- all day long ‘cause they know you don’t like it.
How did this even come up, you ask? Allen brought it up, because he has been thinking about Paula Deen a lot, you guys. And as someone who's been in movies with Martin Lawrence, he totally knows what he's talking about.
I’ve had this argument on stage a million times. I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they’re referring to me, 'hey, my n-----’s up.' So I’m the n----- if I’m around you guys but 7 feet away, if I said n-----, it’s not right. It’s very confusing to the European mind how that works, especially if I’ve either grown up or evolved or whatever, it literally was growing up in Colorado, with Hispanics and Anglos, that’s all I remember. So when Paula Deen (admits her language), they go after her, and now we’ve gone backwards in the world.
Like many comics, Allen takes a stance that no word or subject is off-limits, and takes a more thoughtful (but highly debatable) stance that saying "the n-word" is worse than saying the actual n-word because it makes the word inoffensive.
"You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it," said Allen.
"If I have no intent, if I show no intent, if I clearly am not a racist, then how can 'n-----' be bad coming out of my mouth?"
Oh yeah, and Allen's interviewer? He happens to be African-American. One of the best parts of the interview is the author noting his surprise at Allen's unencumbered use of the n-word, along with the first few sentences, which really say it all:
Tim Allen wants to talk about the n-word. He doesn't want to use that often-derided euphemism, either. He says the word itself with a directness that hearkens to his self-professed comedy heroes, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. But it also comes close to sounding like a well-meaning white guy who may not understand how tenuous the ground he's walking on could become.
Because what well-meaning white guys like Allen don't get is that they are not germane to this conversation. No one wants you to say the n-word, Tim Allen! There is literally no possible point in your life where you actually need to say the n-word. That word does neither apply to you nor would it ever offend you, so no one really cares what you have to say about it. Offering up your opinions about a word that in no way affects you is about as useful as Wild Hogs is entertaining. And like Wild Hogs, sure, some people may pay attention, but no one is going to take it seriously.