Sinn Fein Dumbs Down Over ‘N’ Word Gaffe

Ed Moloney @ The Broken Elbow examines more clumsy management from Sinn Fein of the fall out from the Gerry Adams tweet of the N Word.

First there was ‘Dumb’ –  Gerry Adams in a late night tweet using the ‘N’ word and immediately sparking a debate about his possible senility or sobriety.


Now there’s ‘Dumber’ – SF TD Angus O Snodaigh in today’s Irish Independent: “There’s a time and a place where it (the N-word) can be used’, he told the plain folk of Ireland. “I’ve heard some of the black leaders using it themselves….”

Yes, Angus. That’s the point. Black people are the only people in America who are allowed to use the ‘N-word’ freely. They do it for a number of social, political and psychological reasons, and as a term of endearment but mostly because when they use it is not mean to cause offense.

Whereas when White people use the ‘N’ word, it is invariably done to offend. So only Whites who want to be offensive ever use it. When it happens fists, or worse, will fly.

It is like an Irish Nationalist or Republican calling someone a Fenian. You know it is not derogatory. Whereas if an Orangeman or a Loyalist used the term then you know there’s going to be trouble.

It is also like White people telling Black jokes. It’s not done. Look at this video of Obama joking his way through the White House correspondents’ dinner at the weekend. About 35 seconds in.

Capisce Angus?


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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

3 comments to ''Sinn Fein Dumbs Down Over ‘N’ Word Gaffe"

  1. Im surprised someone as intelligent as Ed Moloney doesn't understand the concept of context. Also his comment about fists flying is far more insulting to black people than anything Adams tweeted.

  2. chchlc2222 chchlc2222,

    I don't agree with that interpretation because I have met enough white people who would fight or certainly get in a very violent mood when people become obnoxiously racist. Ed's point was figurative, I think, and not a comment on how black people in particular might respond.

    At the same time, while Adams was not racist because he was trying to offend nobody other than those who maintain systems that are built on racism and repression, there is little point in SF reps coming out to bat at the crease for him if they only end up digging the hole deeper. I don't actually think O'Snodaigh said much wrong but in saying it he never brought to the discussion the clarity that would help.

  3. Again this issue of context introduces ambiguity that allows politicians etc to destroy the lives of others.If everyone is equal before the law, should we not just prosecute anyone who uses the word?


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