Kramer fallout endangering hip hop lyricists

The ripples from Michael Richards' racist rant last week are getting more interesting now that Jesse Jackson is involved. In a news conference today, the...

The ripples from Michael Richards' racist rant last week are getting more interesting now that Jesse Jackson is involved. In a news conference today, the AP reports that Jackson "challenged the entertainment industry, including rappers, to stop use of the racial slur that Michael Richards uttered in his tirade."

Present at the press conference was comedian Paul Mooney, who pledged to stop using the N-word in his act. Feel the power of Jesse!

Huge entertainment companies presumably could not care less what words their talent utters, as long as it sells. If Jackson is successful in raising enough of a stink about this, companies would probably go along with him, as long as the artists Ok-ed it, and it didn't cut into sales figures at all.

The story also contained this unfortunate note:

Asked about free-speech issues, Jackson said the word is "unprotected."

Well, constitutional scholars would beg to differ. If he tries to position this as a legally binding matter instead of a moment of cultural progress, Jackson will be fighting a losing battle.

How about just a pledge from white comedians not to use the word? That's something that everyone could get behind.

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