‘I’m Not A Racist But…’ And Other Stupid Excuses For Being Horrible

‘I’m Not A Racist But…’ And Other Stupid Excuses For Being Horrible

So once again, a racist rant is caught on tape.

In the most recent controversial video to go viral, the details that led up to the altercation are murky. A white woman, Janelle Ambrosia, claims that Narvell Benning, the black man behind the camera, started it by “almost hitting her son” with his car and calling her a “crack-headed cracker;” he denies it, saying that he just started his car and then she went off on him.

Her recorded rant is filled with racial slurs and explicit language (and readers should know that the following discussion here includes them in their uncensored form). But more notable than the incident itself are Ambrosia’s words in her defense. “I’m not a racist, I was just pissed off,” Ambrosia said in an interview with 93.7 WBLK. “I’m just not a racist.”

She also defended herself by saying that she has a black cousin, and that “nigger means ‘an ignorant person'” and “has nothing to do with race.”

Her comments echo the same tired arguments that are trotted out again and again when people are caught saying racist things in public. So it’s worth examining a few of those arguments more closely:

‘Nigger … Has Nothing To Do With Race,’ And Other Variations Of ‘Why Can’t I Say That?’

Words have a history, just like people do, and they carry that history with them into the present. “The N-word was used to describe black people as they were being stolen from Africa, put into slavery, chained, lynched, beaten, spit upon,” comedian and vlogger Franchesca Ramsey explains in this great YouTube video. “The word was created as a tool of oppression, its historical context cannot be erased.”