April 25, 2014 5:43 pm -

Conservative hero turned right-wing Rosetta Stone Cliven Bundy continues to dominate news coverage after his remarks about “the negro” surfaced Wednesday, and were followed by more and more of Bundy’s ruminations about slavery. When video of Bundy’s remarks came out, the last hope of his conservative defenders evaporated, but the clip also casts some doubt as to whether he used the arcane, yet once “polite,” term negro, or an even more offensive n-word.

When I first saw the video that Media Matters was first to publish, it immediately sounded like Cliven Bundy had said “the Nigra,” but it was a little hard to tell conclusively, and the obscurity of the term seemed to argue against it, as did the fact that The New York Times‘ Adam Nagourney had quoted Bundy as saying “the Negro.” Conversely, though, the obscurity of the term could also have explained why Nagourney didn’t recognize it when he heard it. Nagourney didn’t respond to my request for clarification.

At his Thursday press conference to respond to the uproar, Bundy made frequent, and more clear, use of the term “negro,” but later in the presser, in a section that hasn’t been getting much play, he rather clearly uses the term “Nigra.” Here’s Bundy’s original remark, followed by the clip from Thursday:

The accompanying context of Bundy’s remarks is offensive enough, and an instructive link between Bundy and a popular conservative theme, but his use of the term “Nigra” is even more instructive. Some folks are inclined to forgive Bundy his use of the once-accepted term because he’s an old dude (although, at 67, he was a teenager when the Civil Rights Act was passed). It’s a form of cultural forgiveness that extends to all white males, and is extended by all in the white media. See also: Harry Reid.

Bundy’s use of “Nigra,” however, graduates him from the ranks of benignly ignorant oldster into deep-dish, old-school racism. The term…READ MORE

Tommy Christopher