Bad Dog! No Excuse For ‘N’ Word

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 07, 2007

Whether you like him or not, Duane “Dog” Chapman has committed professional suicide. The release of a taped telephone call where Chapman is heard using the “N” word along with other vile and profane phrases is an assault on the senses. It appears his catchphrase will go from, “In Dog We Trust” to “Dog is Done.”

In order to understand the gravity of his words, you must hear the un-edited conversation. I do not consider myself naive, nor am I a prude. I grew up in a vastly white world and, as one of only two Asian kids in my town, I felt the cuts of racial epithets. I keep up with music and entertainment, and I understand we live in a time that is coarser than ever before. I have traveled the world, so I don’t consider myself sheltered. That said, when I heard what Chapman had to say, I winced. I did so in a very uncomfortable way. I recoiled when I heard the aggressiveness of the words and the intent of their meanings.

I know many of you will rush to defend Chapman, believing a double standard for speech exists in our society. Several calls to my radio program protest the “N” word is everywhere. Why does a white guy get beat up for using a word that blacks use themselves? That’s simple. Because there is no justification for using the “N” word - period. It is irrelevant if someone else uses it - it matters if you use it. Our collective individual characters comprise our society-at-large. If we compromise the individual, we weaken the greater entity. If we tolerate the individual use of the “N” word, we lessen our ability to evolve as a community.

Let’s make no mistake. The “N” word is a word of hatred. It is born from hatred and it’s used for a specific reason and response. It is no excuse to say someone is ignorant or uneducated. We choose our words. We develop a conscious vocabulary. We use certain words when we are happy, romantic or joyful. We use certain words when we want someone to do something, make a particular impression or get something we need. Just as we choose our vocabulary to fit a particular situation or desire, we also choose our words when we are angry, frustrated or threatened. Chapman chose to use words that are violent, hateful and demeaning.

Chapman did not know his comments were being recorded. This conversation captured a true moment of reality. What is greatly disturbing is the ease in which he used the epithets and vulgarity. There was a certain casualness to these statements revealing this is everyday language. There was no compunction to string together profane words which comprised a virulent train of thought. Furthermore, it is difficult to reconcile this private dialog with the Christ-loving and spiritual man we see portrayed on TV.

Is this a revelation to the true character of Dog Chapman? Maybe. That’s really your decision. All I can say is this is a saddening story. Yes, I do feel badly for Chapman and his family. I do not find any satisfaction in coming to these conclusions. I wish it never happened. Nevertheless, it did.

I am hopeful that Chapman finds a way to reconcile these events with those who have believed in him for all these years. I know we are a forgiving people and, ironically, it will be the same people whom he affronted who may prove to be his salvation.

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