CNN Host Ashleigh Banfield Admonishes Councilman Carl Stokes For Nigger Comment

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During a follow-up interview with Baltimore Councilman Carl Stokes, CNN host Ashleigh Banfield criticized Stokes for using the word “nigger” during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett. When Burnett asked Stokes about Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and President Barack Obama referring to protesters as “thugs” Stokes vehemently disagreed, stating that they might as well “just call them niggers.”

As Stokes would explain to Barnett “These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No, we don’t have to call them thugs.” Stokes attempted to discuss the history of how coded language like “thug” has been used almost exclusively to describe Blacks and other people of color has largely been overshadowed by his choice of words.

Ashleigh Banfield took the opportunity to voice her opinion while speaking with Councilman Stokes stating  “I have to say, you’re a leader and so many people have said don’t say it [nigger] 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.”

In focusing on Stokes’s use of the word “nigger” Banfield and others overlook the history of coded language in the media as well as the dog whistle politics that rely on using words laced with double meaning. Instead Banfield, and others in the media, elect to fan the incendiary instead of focusing on the cause of the flame.

Terms ranging from the aforementioned “thug” to the likes of “urban” and “inner city” have been used to marginalize people of color and paint them as a separate cultural liability instead of being an integral part of the national fabric.

As a 65-year-old Black man with a range of political and business experience, Councilman Stokes is more than qualified to speak on the use of coded language and dog whistle politics. More so, he is more than qualified to use the term “nigger” in what should be an intelligent discussion and in response to a question relating to race, government and the portrayal of a people in the throes of turmoil.

Well done, Councilman, well done.

About the Author

Shane Paul Neil
In addition to writing for TWiB and appearing on Sportsball and #TWiBPrime Shane works as a freelance writer and content marketing consultant.

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