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 ...


Tthere are plenty of people around who like to use the term 'political correctness' for common politeness and decency. Not me. Being a white privileged hetero male, I always start from the premise that if a particular word offends someone from a group that has often been oppressed or marginalized in some way, I would be a prick to use it.

@ TeeCee

If you feel so comfortable using mean language, why not go where 'those people' are and use those nasty words toward them? You know already that those words can get one hurt or even taken to court.


Oprah is a fat, repulsive, race-hustling hag.

@ Rick+Patel

Yep!!!!! And, let's not forget...Oprah is nothing but a media-hungry and attention-seeking H-O-G who will do ANYTHING for ratings...PERIOD!!!!!

@ Rick+Patel

Nigger, you stupid.

@ Rick+Patel

And what the hell does that make YOU?


I'll admit, I use the word and have never found it to mean anything to me personally...and that's mostly because I'm a woman of a certain younger age. But that aside, I can see where Grande Lady O is coming from....because she's a lady from that time period where that word was frequently used to demean, demoralize, defame etc. and I can see where it can cause somebody like her to have strong feelings about it, but to say that she's not going to be anyones friend who uses it around her....is a we bit childish....everyone has the right to use whatever word they wish, so long as nobody puts thier hands on you. And also, it's about what you answer to. If you know you're not what some asshole calls you, then there's no real argument to ensue. Just go your own way. Overall, I just don't see the words offensiveness anymore. Never have, never will. Maybe that was O's way of telling Rae Dawn Wrong how she really feels after all!


I don't use this language, but what if Rae was called a "Beaner" or "wet back" or something equally offensive? How would she feel. Rae was out of order with her statements about Oprah. She said that Oprah would be a field nigger because she is ugly. Rae really is not that pretty herself. She always looked more quirky than anything. She might have been a sister that picked lettuce. So what...


Oprah Winfrey Biography

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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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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey Quotes

I like money. It's good for buying things. What you want is money with meaning. Meaning is what brings real richness to your life.

Oprah Winfrey

Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn't great is lying to you.