Oprah on N-Word Use: You're Not My Friend if You Say That

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Oprah Winfrey has strong feelings about the n-word, which recently came up in scandals involving Paula Deen, Riley Cooper and of course Rae Dawn Chong.

Rae Dawn recently used the n-word in talking about Oprah herself. While Winfrey hasn't responded to her comments, she tells Parade in a new interview:

"You cannot be my friend and use that word around me."

Oprah W. Photograph

"It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it ... I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree."

"I don't use the word. Never did."

Oprah was interviewed with The Butler co-star Forest Whitaker and director Lee Daniels, who admits, "It's a word I used quite a bit, until Oprah sat me down."

"She talked to me about its power."

Two weeks ago, Rae Dawn Chong raised eyebrows by saying her former co-star in The Color Purple would have been a "field n--ger" back in the day.

The daughter of Tommy Chong then claimed in a bizarre statement that this was a compliment somehow. We're guessing O didn't take it that way ...

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Ok Oprah, MILLIONS never hung from a tree. Still, it was a terrible time where some owners would cut off a black slave's private part, shove it down his throat, and leave him to choke on it while he hung from a tree or was burned in a fire. Terrible!!! However, it is a word that was used commonly by everyone 30-40-50 years ago, and that should be understood; another thing that should be understood is - that was then, this is now. Now it is a word that should disappear entirely from the English language, but until EVERYONE stops using it, including the black celebrities who bandy it about back and forth, it will never go away!!!

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Millions of people who heard that as their last word hanging from a tree? Millions, really Oprah? Do a little research yourself before blurting out silly numbers.

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Well I am pretty sure that the "million" was a lot less than that. I do Believe that even 1 was too many. ok that being said,
Oprah what gives black folks the right to call white folks crackers?? you can't have it both ways. I am so sick and tired of black folks using the race card just to get there way .Oprha you are Christian have you forgotten the Jews??? I am sure they suffered a lot along the same lines. The people on AMERICAN SOIL TODAY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PAST HATE .I think that the word CRACKER is just has hateful to white folks
just saying.

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@ gayle

You have to be kidding me! You actually put the term cracker on the same level as nigger? Really? Gawd that was funny!

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@ gayle

Yes Gayle I understand what you're saying but I seriously doubt that calling a caucasian person a cracker would be as effective as saying ni**er to a black person. Just saying.

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@ Oprah

It's just as derogatory, and it's wrong!!! My ancestors were Hungarian/Romanian Gypsies and Native Americans (the Blackfoot Tribe of the Iroquois Nation). We've been called thieving gypsies and dirty injuns in the past, and our ancestors suffered just as much at the hand of the white man as anyone else who ever stepped foot on the soil of this nation. In fact, Native Americans are STILL suffering at the hand of the white man. But do we sit and whine about it for decades? No! We pulled ourselves up by our boot strings, worked hard, and now rise above what some ignorant others think about us. Until some blacks begin to nurture their children as much as some of them nurture the chip upon their shoulder, their children will suffer, and that's what should be important to them - their children's future, not their ancestor's past.

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@ Oprah

This N Word thing is offensive but not so offensive to keep blacks from using it. This is all BS- just sayin.

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@ R U Sure

Nobody has the control to stop a certain amount of people who for all intents and purposes CHOOSE to use the word. Only the individual who wants to change can....rappers most definitely included. We all need to exercise greater restraint when dealing with our anger and the inflammatory words like the N word that follow....Just Saying, Have a great day though! :-)

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@ Oprah

As effect? You are right- it won't get the nation attention that the N Word gets!

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Why let idiots set the tone for human behavior? If rappers or anyone else uses derogatory language, that should not inspire others to do the same.
Name calling can be quite offensive and lead to violence.
I am constantly amazed at the anger, vitriol, ignorance and hatred that is expressed on social networks.
We have much, much more in common than not.
If we continue to fail to live together in peace, we will die apart as fools.
Remember September 11, 2001? When we attack each other, the other side does what we do to each other. Together we can be much stronger than not.

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A family can never use this word yet their kids go to school and hear it. Why is it ok for rappers to use it if it's off limits to others? Double standard. Getting sick of the race card being used.

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@ Spare+me

This is what you get when you cater to every living whinning ass American. Now with Obama in office and the liberal media protecting certain people rights it's predictable as to the way things are at this point. All minorities are given a free pass and that includes gays.

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@ Red

What free pass are you talking about? The blacks today had ancestors that were slaves, beaten, raped, sold, killed. So where is the free pass? They went through a lot and yes the n-word was used as an insult, so the generations now should not use it because of its meaning. It's really sad that people, mainly white, look at color, but in reality we all bleed the same. In March I needed a blood transfusion and the next week while at home making dinner, it dawned on me, I don't even know whose blood I received, but it was a gift of life, my only concern was that it was not infected which I asked about at hospital at that time. Long story short, we don't know what others have been through so we can't say anything about a free pass. I'm chicana, born and raised in Houston, and I've never been given a free pass. Have a Great Afternoon.

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@ houston,texas

Thanks for the advice, from one Houstonian to another. Well, take care, I'm out....peace.

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@ houston,texas

@ Houston Girl ----I'll have to admit- I came from around the back and didn't show u who I really was- all is well. This it not necessarily directed at you so just take this a confession. . Me - I wrestled with the bottle often and in the end- I didn't win. Caused me problems and as time went, it got worse. So today- I don't drink. In order to do this I had to put some distance between myself & "my crew" in order to stand a chance. You are a Houston girl and that makes you extraordinary in itself along with your good attitude. Alcohol + Parole= possible disaster. Stay positive & most of all stay honest & true to yourself. That son of yours needs you more than you could possibly know and he's watching EVERY move you make, he is a absorbing it all! . I know!

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@ houston,texas

@H-Town+x+2..Good afternoon, I didn't realize that was you (Stan). I don't mean any harm, it's just funny how everyone gets on here going on and on about things that could easily be fixed by just getting along. And no, I don't want anything to happen here either. It would probably go against my parole, ya know? After my bid, I have learned to appreciate life, love it and live it. That is why I enjoy everyday, I am a happy and positive person. I may not like everyone but I don't waste my time disliking. I keep it moving. Life is too short so we should enjoy. You are so right about those Kamikaze's...major headache right now:) but worth it, YOLO.

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@ houston,texas

@Chicana Girl #1 You told me last night where your residence was- hubby? Margaritas? #2 Let's pretend for a moment that I really do care and with that I will say- YOU really shouldn't be putting a lot of your private info out there! You HTOWN, ME HTOWN- I don't want to see anything happen- ya Know? #3 not a bad day. #4 Kamikaze? Ahhhhh no death wish here! Anyway... Have a good meal!

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@ houston,texas

To H-Town x 2: You sound as if you had a rough day. Poor thing, you really need to take a vacation. How did you guess I am from I-10? Energy Corridor to be exact. And I wasn't rambling, did you take a look at your comment? A chicana is a reference to US citizen of Mexican descent. Yes, I am brown and im proud. Im Hispanic, latina, chicana, Mexican-American. FYI, I don't cruise garage sales on Saturday mornings usually because of a hangover or at The Breakfast Club or Waffle House. Also, no Mezcal here, I prefer Gator Punch @ Razzoos. Another fave of mine and my crew are Kamikaze shots, if you want to lose your head. :)Sounds like you need a couple of those to chillax. Thanks about the bld. trans. but I'm not concerned of who it came from, just wanted it to be clean, you know disease free and from a human, any human. Sorry H-Town x 2, but my order is coming up, Adios..

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@ houston,texas

@H-Town! It's hard for me to talk to you after listening to you ramble- I-10 Chicana girl! What Texan have I ever heard call themselves CHICANA? NONE! ZERO! If you are Hispanic then say... HISPANIC! You with your.... Mainly white people statement! Is it any wonder? Blacks create most violent crimes-and you wonder why people feel that way? Do you think whites just wake up in the morning looking for someone to be suspicious of? Is your Latin Head full of Mezcal? I am sorry about your Blood transfusion and I'm sincere about that BUT, if you walk the damn floors a night wondering- here's a tip. If you drink margaritas and think about earning money making crystal meth - then chances are u have white blood! If you cruise the KATY AREA- on Saturday morning looking for a Garage Sale then you have 100% Chicana blood. If you think it make sense to get on every government funded program then..... That's the blood you have! I'm tired of jacking with you and your other personalities of oprah & gayle. There was a moment - a split second I thought we would be friends but- you know how us mainly whites are! Good riddance!

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@ houston,texas

There you go stereo-typing people just because of their race. I didn't go there in my comment, actually I was just being fair. I didn't assume that your name RED may actually be short for redneck. Since you want to take it there, then let's go there. Seems like all you worry about is race. I don't care what color anyone is or their sexual orientation is because the only person that pays my bills and takes me shopping is my husband. My family is all I care about. Everyone else can be purple, green, or blue. Since you want to correct my punctuations, how about you correct yours first. You wrote "...and I know Houston and its pretty much.." you should've put an apostrophe in the word " its", you know, between the "t" and the "s". Also, you didn't capitalize the "p" in Pappasitos. By the way, I don't like Pappasitos, their fajita meat is never cooked all the way, I prefer Razzoos and their Gator Punch!! I'm on way for one to beat this H-town heat. Have a great evening.

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@ houston,texas

Maybe you should go back 2 pappasitos and have another margarita? Then again maybe that's what's wrong with you now? Don't cry to me about what's not right! I'm white and I know Houston and its pretty much the capital of Mexico! There is a reason people have the "Rep" they do! By the way- you missed a comma!

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So what that's what she is

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@ Barbara

Niggah, you stupid.

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miss sealy u show is ugly.

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She should tell her Black brothers Jay-Z, Kanye West, and just about every other Black rapper gazillionaire to stop using the "N Word" a thousand times on every one of their records. Those records are bought by millions of young white kids who grow up thinking it's okay to use that word. What do Blacks who make their fortunes from that garbage expect is going to happen?

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@ JimmyT

It's something about 'claiming' the word so that it loses its power. 'Queer' is used by gays in the same way. But you're right - the end effect is to make people think it's OK to use it, so it's a pretty dumb idea in practice.

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Bet "Oppie" never said 'cracker' honkey or any other degrading names, did she? She is so above reproach. Makes me sick. I don't think the n word relates just to blacks. I know some white niggers, and some Mexican niggers. To me it means a no good, lousy, dirty group of people and I don't care what color you are. A good example are these people who go on talk shows. How many men or women have you slept with. Help me find out who is my 5 babies daddy. Did my boyfriend sleep with my sister, is my husbands the father of my sister and my best friends babies. Those are niggers and they come in all colors.

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@ McKay

I agree!

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@ McKay

You are making way to much sense for these people.

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She is around my age and she did was not old enough to be affected by the late fifties early sixties events. Oprah, since you clearly are drawing racial lines let's get real... It's ok for a black person to use to N word towards another black person (I hear it all the time) but it's some travesty of justice when someone from another race uses it? Different rules for different people. Sounds almost like a double standard. Get over it already. I believe all races should be treated with respect and dignity. Not just yours .

Oprah Winfrey Biography

Oprah Winfrey Nude Oprah Winfrey is a very famous talk show host. Maybe you have heard of her. She may not pump her own gas anymore, but she's extremely... More »
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