So, what say you?http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,246279,00.html
Texas Mayor Proposes Ordinance to Ban the N-Word
It's one of the most reviled words in the English language, but if one Texas mayor gets his way, getting caught uttering the "N-word" will hit offenders where it hurts.
Mayor Ken Corley of Brazoria, Texas, has proposed a city ordinance that would make using the word in an offensive fashion a crime equal to disturbing the peace and punishable by a fine of up to $500.
"I would like have a ban â€" and I know that this is very aggressive and probably something that I won't be able to do â€" but I would like to see a ban on all racial slurs," Corley told FOXNews.com. "They show no purpose in this society."
The 62-year-old mayor, who is a self-described "middle-class white boy," decided to start with the N-word after watching Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton discuss banning the word on TV after "Seinfeld" comedian Michael Richards used the word in an act last November.
"The word is not used or abused in the streets of our town; it's more, amongst the black community, as a term of endearment, OK?" Corley said. "But it is a national issue, and I would like the city of Brazoria to take a leadership role throughout the nation in banning the use of this word"
Corley polled his constituents and found "overwhelming support" for the ordinance. Brazoria, with a population of around 2,800, is an industrial city nestled about 50 miles south of Houston near the Gulf of Mexico coast. About 10 percent of the population is black.
Under the proposed Brazoria ordinance, users of the N-word would be fined only if a complaint were filed against them, thus protecting those who think they are using the word as a term of endearment.
Bishop Ricky Jones, a black minister and the head of the Living Word Fellowship Christian Center in Brazoria, "wholeheartedly" supports the ordinance and the mayor, though he doesn't agree with the "term of endearment" loophole.
"It's trying to be made a term of endearment in the black community, the way it has been used so loosely, but I for one, when I look at that word and look at the history of it, it has been used to demonize, demoralize and degrade black people as a whole."
Jabari Asim, a deputy editor at the Washington Post and author of the forthcoming book "The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't and Why," has traced the American arrival of the word to 1619 when a Jamestown, Va., diarist, John Rolfe, noted: "We got 20 ******s today on a Dutch man-of-war."
"That's the first recorded instance of African captives arriving to British North America and that was the word used to describe them," Asim said.
Over the last 25 years, the hip-hop community has sprinkled the word throughout its anthems.
"It's really important for people to realize that the history of the word goes so far back that recent developments in the past 20 years [of] casual use," Asim said. "There is no god higher than history and I don't think recent developments are strong enough to overcome the centuries of hatred that are attached to the word."
Brazoria's proposed ordinance is the first time an American city has tried to ban the word, though groups such as Abolish the "N" Word have lobbied for its permanent retirement, Asim said.
"Calling for societal change is one thing, but calling for legislation against speech is quite another," he said. "That's practically anti-American to say that we're going to allow the government and Uncle Sam determine how we speak to one another. It's counterintuitive to me. It's best to lead by example than by legislation."
The ordinance is on shaky ground legally because of a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, R.A.V. vs. the City of St. Paul, said David Hudson, a First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.
"Fighting words are not protected by the First Amendment, and a lot of fighting words are face to face personal insults," Hudson said. "But in 1992, in this case, the court held that selective banning of fighting words, in other words, singly out, for instance, fighting words based on race and sex, that that constituted viewpoint discrimination and violated the First Amendment.
"It's a well-intentioned effort, but it's a well-intentioned unconstitutional effort," Hudson said
A public hearing will be held Thursday, before the five-member city council decides on whether to pursue the measure. Last year, it was the first city in Texas to pass a sex-offender ordinance.
Do you believe that the word ****** is protected speech?