Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Was it or wasn't it?

I was trying to clear off some TV off of my DVR while Kicker napped. I began watching a new show called "Easy Money." In the show, the main characters run a paycheck-advance money lending company.
Part way through the episode, the lead character referred to themselves as "shylocks." Another character admonished him for using an "ugly, racist" term, but then, not two sentences later, used the same term herself.
So the question is: was it racist, or wasn't it? Is the TV show off the hook for using a racist epithet simply by acknowledging that it is one? If that isn't enough to make it okay, how and why did it get past the censors?
I tried mentioning this to someone else, and they shrugged it off, saying that the show didn't mean anything by it. Okay, so let's pretend that's fine - the show's writers didn't mean anything by it. But if you start using terms like that in every day speech, you're giving them meaning, new life and power. You're teaching people and new generations that this kind of language and behavior is acceptable.
Frankly, as far I'm concerned, it was a racist term, and shouldn't have been used. Period. But it was - so, now what? How do we address these issues?