Today On the Tom Joyner Morning Show: Roland Martin talks to Jim Collier, the author of the column in the West View News. Collier has received tons of heat for spelling out the n-word in the headline in an article about President Obama.
“The point was very simple. I’m trying to make it clear. There are many people who live in the USA that think of blacks as the n-word. I wanted to make a point so that’s why I spelled it out,” Collier said.
This is Collier’s very first interview defending his choice of spelling out the word.
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ROLAND MARTIN: Tom, lots of discussion, you know, look, we hear lots of hatred, and just folks just going after the President, you guys speak about everybody trying to sue them. You got crazy Sarah Palin running her damn mouth talking about he need to be impeached and all that nonsense. But what a lot of people are talking about is there’s a column in a NY newspaper, in the West View News Jim Collier wrote this piece where he said the N word in the White House, but he did not say the N word, he actually, they actually spelled it out. And he laid out, literally, the level of racism that is directed at the President. He joins us this morning. Mr. Collier, how are you doing?
JIM COLLIER: I’m fine.
ROLAND MARTIN: All right, then. So you’ve been getting lots of heat because your newspaper spelled out the N word in the column. Why did you all do this here? And because clearly it offended a lot of people, even folks on your staff.
JIM COLLIER: Well, I think the point was very simple. I’m trying to make it clear, as I think a lot of the people understand that there are many people in the United States who continue to think of blacks, African Americans, whatever term you want to use as the N word. That’s the way they think about it and that’s the way, and I think it’s one of the big problems that we have in the United States with people who continue thinking that way. And I wanted to make that point and the way to make that point was to spell it out. And that’s what I did.
ROLAND MARTIN: Now you say 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.
JIM COLLIER: Yes, yes, that’s true. I mean, look, I’ve just been told, I haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve just been told there’s somebody down in, somewhere down in the South, I think it might be South Carolina, who’s got a sign up on his lawn saying, you know, we don’t want niggers in the White House. Now that’s going on. There it is right there for you. And I was trying to get this, bring this problem up and address is so that we can do something about it.
ROLAND MARTIN: And you put it on Front Street and, again, folks said, you know, you shouldn’t say it. Do you have more of a problem with people saying you should not have spelled it out, should not have said it, should not have used it, as opposed to folks not being angry with those who actually believe that?
JIM COLLIER: Well, yeah, I think that that’s the point. Why am I taking this slack for using this word when I’m in fact trying to do something about it? And people get angry with me for using the word, but I will be clear about this, I’ve had a lot of response, I’ve had a lot of emails from people who’ve read the article and almost all of them has said it’s a great article, you’ve really hit the nail on the head and so forth and so on. But I think the key point was you want to make it clear that people are, you know, peop—that word is being used all the time in the United States.
ROLAND MARTIN: Well, yeah, and some Sherriff who called the President that and wouldn’t apologize for several weeks, he finally resigns, and you have other instances as well. So do you certainly believe that with the election of President Obama it has caused folks to all of the sudden go; oh, my God, what’s happening? They’re taking over the country.
JIM COLLIER: Well, yeah, there is a lot of that, I mean, after all, if you look back 20 years ago or so it would, certainly at that time, it seemed to me that it was impossible that we’d ever have a black President in the United States. Well, times have changed and things have certainly improved a great deal from, an example, from when I was a kid, when I was back there in college where we, for example, in the college I went to we had a fraternity system in the way you have in a lot of colleges. And the blacks just were not invited to join any of those fraternities. You just didn’t see them.
SYBIL WILKES: How was the discussion between you and your editor, or how much discussion, perhaps I should I ask, between you and your editor, when you decided to write this as well as the title of it?
JIM COLLIER: He was a little, my editor was a little bit nervous about it. He wasn’t sure that we ought to do it.
ROLAND MARTIN: Shocking.
SYBIL WILKES: Yeah. (Chuckle)
JIM COLLIER: But he, in the end, he said; well, okay, if Jim Collier wants to do this I think that we ought to do it. So he went ahead with it. And he’s, I think (chuckle) he’s a little concerned about it now, but you have to give him credit for being willing to do it.
TOM JOYNER: He probably has never moved as many newspapers in his life (chuckle) as he has because of your article.
JIM COLLIER: That’s absolutely true, and I pointed that out to him. I said; George, look…
TOM JOYNER: I’m moving newspapers.
SYBIL WILKES: Which is not easy to do these days.
TOM JOYNER: It’s not easy to do. Let me ask one last question; in your lifetime, your children’s lifetime, and your grandchildren’s lifetime, do you think we will have another black President?
JIM COLLIER: I don’t think it’s going to happen right away. I think what’s …
TOM JOYNER: Your lifetime. Your children’s lifetime and your grandchildren’s life—and your great grandchildren’s lifetime, do you think we’ll see another black President?
JIM COLLIER: Well, sure if you’re going to extend out for four or five more generations of course we will.
TOM JOYNER: Yeah. You think so?
JIM COLLIER: Sure.
TOM JOYNER: I hope so.
JIM COLLIER: I do to.
ROLAND MARTIN: I agree. I agree.
SYBIL WILKES: But I want to also know do you think we’ll still be using the N word at that time?
JIM COLLIER: I think so. (Chuckle) I think that’s not going to go away. Look, I mean, people use words, similar words about Jews, they use similar words about Muslims.
SYBIL WILKES: Yeah. Generations.
JIM COLLIER: And so forth and so on.
TOM JOYNER: And that’s not going anywhere.
JIM COLLIER: That’s part of the human condition.
ROLAND MARTIN: Well, Jim, you certainly brought the thought, stood up for the President, you called folks out and you said with no sense in mincing words it’s caused a lot of controversy, a lot of discussion. We certainly appreciate it. Thank you very much, Jim Collier. Thank you very much.
JIM COLLIER: Thanks for having me.
TOM JOYNER: Oh, and listen to our show, Jim Collier, on 103.9. (Laugh) We’re on in New York.