I attended a White House Correspondent's Dinner one time as a guest of the Wall Street Journal. I sat next to a dour Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Beyond that, I don't remember much about it except that it was boring, long, and tedious.
Last Saturday night I was home alone with the dogs (while Tamara luxuriously enjoyed a Mexican vacation with our daughter) and a snowstorm outside. I found myself watching the 2016 White House Correspondents Dinner on C-SPAN. Yes, I know that's pathetic.
But I was glued to the television.
It was a reminder of why I couldn't remember much about that time I attended.
There was the red carpet, as a mishmash of celebrities, politicians, and groupies preened before the photographers. There was all of the self-congratulatory commentary of the media. There was the President, playing comedian. There was the comedian, Larry Wilmore.
The Presidential Seal was on the podium.
And as the putative comedian ended his non-comedic monologue, he turned to the President of the United States and said:
Yo, Barry, you did it, my nigga. . .
I don't care if Barack Obama is black, white, brown, green or red. He is the President of the United States of America.
We are told the "n-word" is an unacceptable, inappropriate, bigoted racial slur. Actually I suppose those adjectives to describe a racial slur are redundant. It is a racial slur. Period.
The Washington Examiner reports the President was "OK" with Wilmore's use of the word:
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he had talked to Obama about Wilmore's use of the word and said the president told him "he appreciated the spirit of Mr. Wilmore's expression Saturday night."
"I'm confident that Mr. Wilmore used the word by design. He was seeking to be provocative," Earnest said. "Any reading of his comments made clear that he was not using the president as a butt of a joke."
More spin by the White House. It is immaterial whether Obama was the butt of a joke or not. Referring to the President using the pejorative "n-word" is unacceptable and sets back race relations.
I do not like Barack Obama or his policies. But I dislike even more a comedian using the "n-word" to describe the President, whether the President deems it acceptable or not.
The White House Correspondents Association should apologize to the people of the United States. Larry Wilmore should apologize to the President regardless of whether the President's Press Secretary says the President wasn't offended.