New York (CBS NEW YORK) — In an article criticizing the “racism” of far-right voters, a West Village newspaper is now under fire for its own explicitly racist headline about President Barack Obama: “The N—– in the White House.”
The WestView News ran James Lincoln Collier’s pro-Obama opinion piece without the use of dashes to obscure the racial epithet referencing Obama. Collier’s column ridiculed the “racism” of far-right conservative voters, and the piece explains that the blunt use of the word is to present Americans with its own “increasing tolerance” for racism.
The 86-year-old editor and publisher of the 20,000-person circulation paper, George Capsis, explained the use of the racial epithet to the New York Post.
“The editorial staff continues to object,” to using the word he said. “In this article, however, Jim reminded me that The New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that WestView should.”
Capsis continued, saying Collier wanted to use the word to “shock us into accepting that there are people who believe use this outrageous word.”
In Collier’s piece, the author of young adult novels is equally blunt: “far-right voters hate Obama because he is black.
“The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” reads Collier’s column. “America’s increasing tolerance of far-right opinion has made racism more acceptable.”
Collier’s column focuses on a “persistence of racism in the United States,” saying that “a large minority have for some six years been quietly angry that they must have in the White House a member of an inferior class of people.”
But the placement of an opposing headline at the bottom of the same page expresses a bizarre twist of editorial decision-making.
Sitting just below Collier’s controversial headline and column, an African-American columnist, Alvin Hall, writes a piece under the title “The Headline Offends Me,” in which he writes that the offense taken to the headline outweighs any social benefit.
“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.”
— Benjamin Fearnow