Tim Allen is no fan of the n-word. It’s not the racial slur he has a problem with, but the euphemism — the actual phrase “the n-word” — and Allen is taking plenty of heat online for his stance.
“The phrase ‘the n-word’ is worse to me than n-----,” Allen told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday.
"I've had this argument on stage a million times," Allen explained to the newspaper in advance of a Tampa standup show. "I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they're referring to me, 'hey my n----r's up.' So I'm the n----r' if I'm around you guys but away, if I said n----r, it's not right. It's very confusing to the European mind how that works, especially if I've either grown up or evolved or whatever, it literally was growing up in Colorado with Hispanics and Anglos, that's all I remember."
Allen, who currently stars on ABC’s sitcom “Last Man Standing,” went on to defend Paula Deen’s use of the word, which led to a career calamity and the loss of nearly all of her sponsorships.
"So when Paula Deen [admits her language] they go after her, and now we’ve gone backwards in the world,” Allen said.
"So this debate rages in the public, but when it goes out to the comedy world, we're not even allowed to say it, and I gotta refer to it as the N word, F word, B word. … It gets all the way down to the line," Allen added. "it gets really intense; we're running backwards."
Allen asserts that saying the racial slur out loud could diminish its power, but not everyone is buying his arguments. The Root has blasted Allen for his statements, while MSNBC’s Michael Eric Dyson argued on Saturday that Allen was simply reinforcing racist attitudes by using the word.
“He wants to move from ally to reassume the appropriate privilege of whiteness, which is to dictate the terms of the debate,” Dyson said. “Look, y’all invented the n-word. We didn’t invent it. We just co-opted it. We hijacked it. We did a carjacking on that word a few decades ago, and now you’re mad because we’ve made more sexy use of it — some denigration as well. And now you want back in? No, you can’t have back in.”
How do you feel about Tim Allen’s arguments on the n-word? Let us know in the comments.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.