A Missouri teacher’s use of the N-word sparked a conversation on the daytime television talk show “The View” that made one of the co-hosts take a trip down memory lane.
Whoopi Goldberg and her co-hosts discussed a geometry teacher in Missouri that was filmed by a student repeatedly saying the N-word to teach a lesson about the word. The teacher was placed on leave and then resigned. The student was suspended from school for violating the school’s cellphone policy.
The topic made Goldberg revisit a moment between her and former co-host Barbara Walters.
Related: ‘Just a Jealous Has-Been’: Megyn Kelly’s Attempt to Take Down Whoopi Goldberg and Other ‘View’ Hosts for Celebrating Tucker Carlson’s Fox Departure Quickly Backfires
“We used to have this conversation every couple of months on this show because Barbara would pose that same question: ‘Well, why can’t I say it?’ I said, ‘Well, go ahead and do it. See what happens.’ Because people want to know. I say, ‘Well, you can say it. Go ahead,'” Goldberg said on yesterday’s episode of “The View.”
Walters had a heated discussion in 2011 with former co-host Sherri Shepherd about the use of the word. The conversation started because the panel was discussing then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s family owning a hunting place in West Texas with a historic rock that has the words ‘N****rhead’ painted on it. Perry also would host hunting trips there with fellow politicians, friends, and supporters, according to The Washington Post.
Shepherd didn’t like that Walters was saying the word even though she was discussing the same topic.
“I heard you say it, and it was fine. You said it a different way,” Shepherd said to Goldberg.
She then turned to Walters and expressed how she felt when she said the same word.
“When I heard you say it, I didn’t like the way you said it, ” Shepherd said to Walters.
“I know, it’s a semantics thing. There’s something that goes through my body,” Shepherd continued.
Walters responded, “So, what you’re saying is it’s because I’m white that I shouldn’t use the word. So, no white person should use that word? I’m repeating what was on the rock.”
The two kept going back and forth about who can and cannot say the word.
“I feel differently from other people. I don’t like when you use the word. Now, I have used it with my friends, my family, and I don’t say it like you. When you say it, it’s a different connotation,” said Shepherd to Walters.
Walters interrupted, “I don’t understand why.”
“I know you probably wouldn’t, and I probably could never explain the way I feel,” responded Shepherd.
Shepherd ultimately offered to go out to dinner with Walters to discuss it more. They both left the show in 2014, and Walters died at the age of 93 in December.
In yesterday’s episode, co-host Sunny Hostin gave her view on the word’s usage.
“A lot of folks in the African-American community believe that by using it, they’re reclaiming that word. I don’t have that belief. My belief is that it should not be used because it’s a racial slur — by anyone,” Hostin said. “But, the fact of the matter is that I maintain that this teacher should’ve stuck to acute angles and triangles and things like that.”
Then, Goldberg replied with her opinion about who has the right to say the word.
“Whenever people who are not Black say this to me, ‘Why can’t I say it?’ I always say, ‘Go ahead. You know, I might not punch you out, but somebody else might,'” Goldberg said to her other co-hosts. “But that’s up to you to find out. If you’re not interested in finding out what happens if you do say it, I suggest you don’t say it and just keep moving on with other things.”