We almost made it through the Michael Richards imbroglio without a peep from Gloria Allred.
Mrs. Allred, if you didn’t know, is a renowned ambulance chaser and, amazingly enough, NOT a character created by Sacha Baron Cohen to poke fun at our legal system.
She is representing the men who heckled Michael Richards (AKA Kramer from “Seinfeld”) and were, in return, publicly called the N-word. (And, because Richards felt six feet isn’t deep enough for a grave, were also reminded of the many different uses for rope).
They have suffered emotional distress, so goes the theory, and thus are entitled to compensation for the damage caused.
Yes, it’s a bullshit claim, and there’s really no reason to get up in arms about it. But bullshit claims are the most fun claims of all to follow and, frankly, if you’re reading this now, you must be bored as hell. So, why not walk with me now as we take this legal harrumphing (it’s not quite lawsuit territory yet) to its logical conclusion.
IF a person is assaulted with a racial epithet – and there’s no bigger one than N--- (which is why this is a fun test case) – they are entitled to X amount of money (so the theory goes).
NOW if the two gentlemen win, a precedent will be set, wherein a person is entitled to money if called “N---“.
BUT that only settles the matter for when N--- is the offending word: So, we must ask ourselves, what of other racial epithets?
“Hebe,” for instance, is not something I say to my Jewish friends. … Actually, scratch that. Let’s start again:
“Hebe,” for instance, is not something I say to Jewish people I haven’t known for five minutes.
It’s a bad, bad word. A derogatory word. And one that, under Ms. Allred’s theory is worth a substantial amount of money (assuming I get residual checks for something).
BUT, it’s not as bad a word as N---. Let’s face it, I can’t even, with all my powers of irony and meta-bigotry mustered, even type that word. But I can type “Hebe”.
So, therefore, isn’t one “hebe” worth less than one “N---“?
But, then again, what if Mr. Richards had assaulted four people with “hebe” and not two gentlemen with N---? Are four “hebes” worth two N---s? Or more? Or less?
And what of “coon”? “Coon” is certainly a bad word as well, but, again, not as bad as N---. However, I’d say, it’s worse than “hebe”. So, if we had a conversion chart let’s say then that
1 N--- = four hebes = 2 coons.
Now, we can’t forget the current and ever-present troubles in the Middle East and that, at some point, someone with deep pockets is going to say “sandN---“.
The way I look at “sandN---“ is the way I look at Henry Blake from both the movie M*A*S*H and the TV show: Not a full colonel. It’s almost as bad, but not quite.
So, back to our conversion chart, we’d have to say that:
1 N--- = four hebes = 2 coons = (let’s say) 1.5 sandN---s.
But then we’ve got to remember that Lou Dobbs is on later tonight and that, perhaps, somewhere, a man who invested in Microsoft very early is watching and, in a fit of anger, spouts the word “Spic” in the present of more than a few of them.
They’re entitled to a payment from – let’s call it – the escrow of racism.
But, and I’m sure you’re with me here, “spic” is about on par with “coon”. But, like “hebe”, there’s just not the history there that there is with “coon”. So, once again, back to our chart – let’s say that:
1 N--- = four hebes = 2 coons = 1.5 sandN---s = 3 Spics.
Now, what to do with the Orientals Asians: I’m going to say that we have to treat Asians like many university admissions offices do and set the bar higher. They are going to have to demonstrate not only numerous instances of the offending word – and, frankly, the only one I can think of is “rice-picker” – but also that the offending word is really, well, offending.
Of course, now that we’re on this Long Walk of Logical Conclusions, I see that we haven’t hit upon the other derogatory words for blacks or Hispanics. Plus, we haven’t even tackled dago, wop, macaca (watch out, George), kraut, pollack, raghead, or redskin, for instance. Nor what happens when one black man calls another black man an Uncle Tom? Does he deserve compensation, too?
Frankly, it’s beyond the abilities of one man to decide for a nation what monetary value these words have.
But, I guess, that’s why we have Jim Baker.
Today’s lesson: Well, of course, I’m making something out of nothing. What else have I got? “Cracker” is equal to the German Mark circa 1920.