Thanks to Terry Crews, I Can Finally Put 'Coon' in a Headline Here!

Illustration for article titled Thanks to Terry Crews, I Can Finally Put Coon in a Headline Here!
Screenshot: Twitter

Although we’re pretty much free to use whichever language we wish within the body of a piece here, headlines are different. Most profanity is fine, in the proper context. But proper context or not, the granddaddy (“fuck”) needs approval from our editor-in-chief. Sexually explicit terms are a no-go, and slurs are, too. Well, mostly.

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The slur thing is tricky because one of my favorite words is a repurposing of America’s most explosive slur—which is also America’s most explosive word. I probably say “nigga” 20 times a day, and it’s such a part of my lexicon that I devoted an entire chapter in my book to the rules governing its use and usage. But you’ll rarely find that in a headline here. I think I’ve been allowed two headline “niggas” since I’ve been here. (“Two Headline Niggas” would’ve been a great title for VSB, btw. Oh well.)

Also, we’re not allowed to use slurs—in a headline or the body of a piece—that question a Black person’s commitment to Black people. “Sellout” is fine, because it’s racially transcendent. “Coon,” however, is not.

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This makes me sad sometimes because there are so many bizarre and stunning and perplexing and sometimes even hilarious (yup) slurs that have been invented to call Black Americans. And who wouldn’t love to see “moon cricket” or “jackamammy” or “swamp donkey” in a VSB piece every once in a while? I know I would. But the rules are the rules.

But in the pages of history, every once in awhile, fate reaches out and extends its hand—which is what happened earlier today, when Terry Crews, the Stacey Dash of Kimbo Slices, tweeted out his repurposing of “coon.” This man needs therapy!

This is a coon loophole—a coonhole!—because a celebrity tweeting it makes it news. Related: I think “the coonhole” would’ve been both a great alternative title to “the sunken place” and the name of Jason Whitlock’s Outkick columns.

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Okay, I’m hungry now so I’m done with this. Bye.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

johnbeckwith
B'dilliBay

Seriously, who is Crews even trying to speak to with this shit? Literally no one asked him.