Al Sharpton appeared on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd on Monday to discuss the use of bigoted terms in general and the n-word, specifically. Sharpton, who cut his political teeth using racist terms such as "white interloper," anti-Semitic terms such as "diamond merchants", and homophobic terms such as "punk faggot," suggested that people who hate-filled words such as these should be fired.
Todd began the segment by asking Sharpton his feeling about using the n-word.
I think that I’ve clearly been against the use of the n-word. Period. Doesn't matter who you are or what the circumstances. But I think that there is generational debate. But I think it always was. When I was a kid, Richard Pryor used to use the n-word. This is not a new debate. I think that we have to look at though, is we are talking about a locker room, which is part of the workplace. No matter what generation you are in, does someone have the right to use racial language? The locker room is not owned by the players, but owned by the team who in many cases are subsidized by the taxpayers, municipal bonds. So you are telling me I have the right to say I’m just a big kid I can do that at the workplace it is locker room talk? Well if you are in this building, is it cubicle talk to use a homophobic term?
We would get suspended or fired.
So that’s what I’m saying. Can we make allowances without opening ourselves up to “well now we can use homophobic terms or sexist terms?” Either there’s a standard that includes blacks or there’s no standards at all. And that's the problem with this.
Later on in the discussion Sharpton added:
I have been against it. I’ve had endless debates with some of my friends in hip hop, some of them younger than me saying I don't agree with it in lyrics. We had friends that fell out with me about it. But I just do not agree with it. And the hypocrisy of it is they know better than to do that with other groups, they only do it with the n-word. If they really do think it’s free speech, then why are they so careful not to offend others?
Todd did not ask Sharpton why he is not careful to offend others.