Obama called the N-word in headline
By Kevin Fasick and Laura Italiano
The WHAT in the White House?
Well-heeled West Villagers will be in for a rude surprise when they open the latest copy of their local newspaper and see the headline, “The N----r in the White House” — except without the dashes.
The shocking headline in the WestView News is a reference to President Obama and sits at the top of Page 15 above an opinion piece that criticizes what it calls the anti-black “racism” of far-right voters.
The convoluted screed by author and journalist James Lincoln Collier is actually a pro-Obama piece — but that didn’t stop West Villagers from decrying the printing of the slur.
“It’s disrespectful in any context to refer to the president of the United States as the N-word,” said one West Villager, Eugene May.
“If you were quoting something or referring to the historic context of the word being used, I can understand the justification,” said May, 31.
Any ironic intent in calling Obama by the word was no consolation, he said.
“It seems he’s just using it for shock value,” May added.
Fellow West Villager Joe Megie, a self-described “black Republican,” also blasted the headline.
“My first take is, it’s sad,” said Megie, 38, the CFO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
What, neighbors wondered, was the neighborhood monthly’s 86-year-old editor/publisher, George Capsis, thinking?
“The editorial staff continues to object” to the use of the word, Capsis writes in a head-scratcher of an explanation.
“In this article, however, Jim reminded me that The New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that WestView should,” he added.
Collier “wanted to use the word” to “shock us into accepting that there are people who believe and use this outrageous word,” Capsis went on.
In the piece, Collier, an author of novels for young adults, complains that “far-right voters hate Obama because he is black.”
“The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” the piece reads, going on to condemn how “America’s increasing tolerance of far-right opinion has made racism more acceptable.”
Capsis, who did not respond to email and voicemail requests for comment on Saturday, must have been expecting backlash from the toxic header.
Below the piece ran another op-ed, written by an African-American columnist and titled, “The Headline Offends Me.”
“The decision to use the headline feels misguided to me,” Alvin Hall writes. “I don’t see how its use benefits anyone, but I do feel all too clearly how it deeply offends me.”
Capsis is no stranger to controversy. Last year, he slapped state Sen. Brad Hoylman in the face at a rally for mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, whom he blamed for causing the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.