Sean Hannity has an interesting take on the current movement to ban the Confederate flag that has stemmed from the tragic shooting in a historically black church in South Carolina.
Hannity thinks that if retailers like Sears, Walmart, Amazon and more are banning the Confederate flag, or products featuring the flag, from being sold in their stores, why are they not banning rap and hip hop music too?
“Why do I say that? Because a lot of music by [Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent] are chock full of the n-word … and the b-word and the h-word and racist, misogynist, sexist, anti-woman slurs none of those retail executives would be caught dead using,” says Hannity on his radio show. “You wanna ban the Confederate flag, ban it. But if you’re going to ban that, they’re racking up millions of dollars, I’m sure a lot more money, in sales of music that gratuitously uses the n-word.”
He goes on to cite Beyonce, who performed at President Obama’s inauguration, and Jay-Z being invited to the White House. “So if it’s OK for Obama’s teenage daughters and people to go into these stores and buy music chock full of the n-word, the b-word? Maybe we should consider banning that too. We’re in the process of banning everything.”
The problem is — Hannity has a point insofar as not wanting to support hate-filled language. Because slurs, whether racial, homophobic or misogynistic, are not OK in the same way the Confederate flag is not OK.
But he’s completely missing the nuance of a culture taking ownership of a word and decreasing its value as hate speech. Which is not the same thing as wanting to ban a symbol for the Confederacy, a part of this country that actually seceded from the rest of the United States because its residents wanted to own slaves.