CNN anchor scolds Baltimore councilman for using the ‘n word’

April 30th, 2015 by Staff

Banfield (left) and Stokes spoke on Wednesday during a CNN broadcast.


(GAWKER.COM) BALTIMORE, Md. – CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield checked in Wednesday afternoon with Baltimore Councilman Carl Stokes for his take on the root causes of the protest going on in the city this week. But before she got to that, she took a minute to chastise Stokes for using “that word” in an interview the night before.

“Just call them niggers,” Stokes told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday, responding with frustration to the media’s coded characterization of Baltimore protesters as “thugs.”

“No. We don’t have to call them by names such as that. We don’t have to do that,” Stokes said.

A point powerfully made, but it apparently didn’t connect with Banfield, who told Stokes she was “livid” that he had used the word, and snidely thanked him for not saying it on her show:

“I have to say, you’re a leader and so many people have said don’t say it in rap, don’t say it so loosely, don’t assume you can say it because you’re one color and another color can’t. It’s just so painful to hear it no matter what color we are and I’m glad you decided not to use it on this show.”

Then she moved on without giving him a chance to respond to being scolded like a small child. The point is apparently not up for debate. Which makes sense, I guess, because the last time CNN held a debate on who can and can’t say “nigger,” it turned out like this:

The argument that no one should ever be able to use the word under any circumstances because “it’s just so painful to hear it no matter what color we are” is often invoked by the world’s leading experts on black people’s pain, white people, who would just be a lot more comfortable if they weren’t confronted with any hurtful reminders of anti-black racism.

And we definitely wouldn’t have found any such reminders in Baltimore if that councilman had just acted like a leader. Great point, Ashleigh. 


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