The WestView News, a New York-based newspaper, landed themselves in hot water with an op-ed headlined “The N*gg*r in the White House.”
According to The Wrap, the small paper that bills itself as “The Voice of the West Village,” and ran an op-ed column in its July edition that referred to Barack Obama as “the N*gg*r in the White House.” Given all the race-based criticism that President Obama has received, you would think that the profoundly irresponsible title would be the product of yet another racist conservative looking to pen a hit piece.
But it’s not.
The article was written by James Lincoln Collier, and it’s actually a pro-Obama piece, criticizing the racism of the far-right voting bloc. Likely fearing a backlash, the newspaper didn’t run the op-ed on their website. However, the New York Post did, along with a screen grab of another story by WestView News Columnist Alvin Hall. Hall, who wrote a rebuttal piece called “This Headline Offends Me,” sharply criticized the original article: “I don’t see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me.”
Criticism came from Twitter, as well:
The WestView News has a circulation of about 20,000 readers each month in the West Village, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea neighborhoods of New York.
The newspaper irresponsibly handled the headline, period. Whether the word belongs in artwork is a matter of complex historical, sociological, and personal beliefs and disagreements, but one place it does not belong is on a headline, grabbing attention for “shock value” alone.