Fire and Race: “That Nigger Funeral Home”

“You Know I’m Not a Racist.”

Carolina Trace

Carolina Trace

News services report that a North Carolina volunteer fire chief, Todd McNeill, who also works as a career firefighter in a nearby department, was ousted this week after referring to a Sanford, North Carolina, funeral home as the “nigger one.”

McNeill applies the vilest racial epithet also to the deceased thus proving that even death fails to offer a reprieve from the speech of hate.

According to the Fayobserver,  McNeill, after making the statement, then apologized, saying, “You know I’m not a racist.”

Racism is all about presuming superiority and employing contemptuous terms to refer to others is as good a proof of racism as you are likely to find.

A Homey Thing?

Inexplicably, Russell Ingram, a fire department lieutenant, was present when McNeill made the statement.

Ingram is black, and McNeill is white.

Could it be that in McNeill’s world that if he doesn’t call Ingram a nigger that it’s all good?

Are niggers black people you don’t know?

Even dead ones?

The “Donald” Way?

The use of inflammatory language is both provocative and powerful and inclined to gather notice.

Just ask Donald Trump if you aren’t sure.

It is said that Trump very deliberately chooses (and borrows) his words as when,  just the other day he called Ted Cruz a “pussy” at a rally.

“Pussy” is especially offensive to women as it implies that they inherently lack the qualities of courage and bravery, qualities often observed in soldiers who fought in the war in Vietnam, a war which Trump avoided.

Does that make Trump a “pussy” as he is apt to use the phrase?

Trump employs the language of hate to assert his leadership qualities, tapping into fear, anger and divisiveness, alienating all the while.

Perhaps fire service leaders can study Trump to see if the language of reckless disparagement builds a strong team–or not.

But the Troops Prevail

Some folks who heard McNeill’s nigger riff were incensed enough to complain to the “powers that be”, who employed the time honored strategy of doing nothing until the press was notified.

Suddenly, McNeill was out-the-door.

As has been noted, you can often say what you want, but there may be consequences.

Trump despises the press, even Fox News, because he can’t control them.

But the North Carolina press proves that the casual spoken (and reckless) word ripples far beyond the firehouse kitchen table, a lesson we never seem to grasp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  • Miguel lima says:

    Aren’t we all a little racist and I do mean on both sides of the isle. Is it only ok when both sides have similar views or is one side allowed more of a curve. Seems to me that the ones that speak out the most against racism are the same ones that creat most of the very racism they profess to be against. I guess it depends on the day of the week and your mindset

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