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30Lisa Lampanelli Think It’s Okay To Use The Word “N*gga” (And Lena Dunham Is Still the Worst)

Lisa Lampanelli is a comedian in the sense that she stands on stage and shouts “jokes” and presumably gets paid to do so. She’s also been on Celebrity Apprentice, so there’s a rundown of what she actually does. Why are we writing about her instead of ignoring her like usual? Well, she has caused a bit of a kerfuffle this past week when she posted the above photo with the following caption:

“Me with my nigga @LenaDunham of @HBOGirls – I love this beyotch!!”

If you just smacked your teeth and started shaking your head, your response is pretty much the rest of the Internet’s, as well, because this (presumably) upper-middle class white woman is trying to appropriate language that is most certainly not for her and she remains ignorant about doing so. Like, lady – that’s not your choice. You could have called Lena your bitch, your homegirl, your twin in annoyance, etc. You do not, however, get to pick words belonging to particular sub-groups and use them in your attempt to be “funny” or down with the kids or whatever the hell this was all about.

Of course, when this was pointed out to her, Lisa relented and apologised for being such an arrogant, presumptuous smacked ass and promised never to do it again. Oh, except she didn’t. Instead, she took to her Twitter to taunt those who were angered by her choice of language and basically told them to get over it:




She also told The Huffington Post that she used the word “nigga” to mean “friend”. So why didn’t you just call her your friend, then? Listen, I don’t want to open a can of worms here. I’m sure Lisa is totally not a racist – one of her best friends is probably black! – but the blatant disregard for the difference between what you meant and what it means in the world at large is a bit troubling. Also, figures Lena Dunham is in this photo with her/is friends with her. Like attracts like.

February 21, 2013 at 9:30 am by Jennifer

30 Responses to “Lisa Lampanelli Think It’s Okay To Use The Word “N*gga” (And Lena Dunham Is Still the Worst)”

  1. mmm says:

    i miss sasha and jen. you’re not as funny at they are.

    • Jennifer says:

      So glad you’re a fan!

    • Liz says:

      Agreed. If I wanted to read politically correct touchy-feely shit I’d log onto Perez Hilton.

      • Jennifer says:

        Since when was Perez Hilton politically correct? He’s fucking awful. In any case, it’s not that I’m personally offended by it, it’s that it annoys the shit out of me when people don’t understand how people COULD BE offended. If you were black (I’m assuming you’re not, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), you might feel differently about this issue.

  2. stacey says:

    This is how Lisa is – it’s how she’s always been. Have you ever watched a show of hers?

  3. B says:

    I completely understand and see how it was offensive.

    However, as a linguist my very personal opinion is that “nigga” needs to be re-appropriated and stripped of the negative meaning it has. Kind of like “gay” (“happy” — “of loose morals” in a pejorative way— “hedonistic lifestyle” in a pejorative way — “homosexuality” in a pejorative way until it was re-appropriated by the group that was being oppressed*).

    Ps. I’ll always miss Sasha but the new writers are awesome.

    *You could argue that fratboys and future fratboys saying “that’s so gay” are being offensive and therefore are using the word in a pejorative way again, but there’s a lot of discussion regarding whether or not you can call them homophobic since they’re “technically not” using the word with a sexual connotation. Regardless, the fact that they still get called out for using it that way, proves that the word has taken a new neutral meaning (i.e. saying someone is homosexual) that people are not willing to exchange for a negative one.

    • Jennifer says:

      First of all, thanks for the vote of confidence, B. We’re not Sasha and Jen here and we’re not trying to be. We’re Jenn and Catherine, and some people will love that and some people won’t. Hopefully we can find a happy medium somewhere down the line. I know Sasha and she’s absolutely fantastic and brilliant and all other great things, so believe me, we’re fans ourselves!

      As for the reappropriation, it’s a bigger issue, like you say. You could comparatively talk about, say, someone calling someone else a “faggot” that’s not gay and using it colloquially, which is fine and well if you’re not someone who’s been on the receiving end of it being used negatively. That’s the point I was trying to make. I certainly don’t give a shit about political correctness and I think it’s easy to make a big deal out of something small, but I think it’s funny how much attention Azealia Banks’ recent use of the word “faggot” (and not in the homosexual sense) as an openly bisexual woman has gotten in comparison to this story. Just seems a bit unbalanced, but I do get the principle of where you’re coming from.

      • B says:

        You guys are like Sasha, more than you think, not in writing styles or opinions or whatever, but in that you are actual writers with your own voices and styles and you actually think before you write. I like that, it brought me back to the comments.

        Well, in Lisa’s case it just sounds like Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls. The “cool mom” buying beer for her daughter in a lame attempt to feel validated and when I was talking about re-appropriation I certainly wasn’t saying that white unassuming people should be owning the word and making it Ok to say it. That’s something that should be done by the oppressed group in a open way and it’s really hard to do.

        … And now I really won’t say anything else about the issue since I’m a white girl in a straight relationship and my bisexuality is not really something people can instantly see when they see me so people don’t really come up to me and say offensive things.

        (I think it’s funny that I graduated in philology and linguistics, and yet this is the first time in months I’ve sort of discussed anything related to the meaning of a word and its use)

  4. Anonymous says:

    What’s your beef with Lena?

  5. BreakingJen says:

    Personally I prefer you guys, it’s nice to have less snark and more actual though put into what you write. Yes this celebrity gossip and most people would probably prefer a simpler writing style, but I have to say it’s nice to finally have someone writing that seems to actually think. Kudos to you and keep it up, it’s extremely refreshing!

  6. BreakingJen says:

    **Thought, lol, typing too fast and not proof reading, must be a Thursday!

  7. Whatever says:

    Lisa is AWESOME. Even tho you are much better than the “other two” who left- you don’t seem to know much about what you are talking about.

  8. Anna G. says:

    I like you guys too! I’ve been checking out this blog for a while and the content has definitely stepped up a notch.

    And now for a rant…
    As far as Lisa is concerned, I think she was out of line. I’ve seen her stand up and listened to her on Adam Carolla’s podcast. I get it. She wants to be provocative. But let’s not act like the woman’s doing a public service by somehow “stripping” the word of its derogatory meaning. She’s being obnoxious. And I know most of the people who read this blog are not people of color but seriously, take a minute and consider how much power certain words have. “Nigger” was created to dehumanize an entire race of people. The last time White people had this word on the tip of the tongue, it was not used as a term of endearment. And let’s not get tripped up on the “er” vs. the “a” because it’s the same thing. Btw, the word has already been re-appropriated—by Black people! It doesn’t need to be re-re appropriated by the originators of the term who used it as a tool of dehumanization. Just like people, words have power and certain people using certain words can direct said power (even though slave masters and slaves are a thing of the past in the U.S., this dynamic still exist today). So imo, White folks who INSIST* on being granted use of the n-word, are really just trying to reclaim the power that the word once had when it was used to aid in the oppression of the Black race.
    *when I say “insist,” I’m talking about ppl like Lisa who know it’s not cool and who know it’s problematic, but still say it anyway (whilst talking about all the Black cock they’ve consumed, b/c everyone knows fucking Black ppl changes your DNA); publicly and defiantly to get a rise out of people. I know there are non-Blacks who genuinely use it as a term of endearment and maybe their particular Black friends don’t mind. But when they encounter those who do (and most do!), they shouldn’t argue, they shouldn’t whine, they shouldn’t break out a stack of peer-reviewed research supporting their argument, they should simply have a little compassion, and accept that everything is not for them.

    Also, she’s a fame whore.

    • Chaz says:

      Lisa is the nastiest, crass, most caustic person in stand up today…. I LOVE HER! Who else could tell Flavor Flav he was so black he’s blurple? Rightly or wrongly, using that word is part of her schtick.
      Anna…. While that word has become derogatory, it wasn’t created to “dehumanize an entire race of people.” I suggest you look up the lexical meaning of the word, it means black. For that matter look up race too…. Perhaps you meant to say ethnicity? While it certainly has been used as a dehumanizing tool, one should remember that it was, in certain instances, the vernacular of the day. Remember Huck Finn? Jim was referred to as Nigger Jim, not in a disparaging manner as Huck said he would rather burn in Hell than turn in his friend Nigger Jim….. It’s my belief that the only people who should be up in arms about usage of this word are black people, if they are so offended…. My two-cents worth, let the hate replies begin…….

      • Chaz says:

        My thoughts on Jenn and Catherine……. I think they are doing quite well. Is it different? Sure, but that doesn’t mean bad. They are taking this site and making it their own, as they should. I didn’t know over half of the celebs Sarah/Em wrote about, I think its even less with Jenn/Catherine, but I’m an old man who no longer has his finger on the pulse of the youth of today!

      • M says:

        Good thing I read your post when I did, because I was JUST about to make a comment on the etymology of the word “nigger.”

      • Anna G. says:

        Chaz,
        I am aware of the origin of this word. My point is that it was used at a time when Blacks were seen as subordinate to Whites. And considering that Black folks were considered 3/5ths of a person and were commonly addressed as “nigger,” I’m gonna go ahead and say the word was used to dehumanize. Even the Huck Finn example illustrates this. You see, Nigger Jim couldn’t just be Jim. Also, I’m aware of the difference between ethnicity and race and my comment shouldn’t have given the impression that I didn’t.
        But anyway, this is just my perspective of things. A Black perspective. I’m sure one of many. Can’t say I’m surprised to hear this coming from her. I’m more disappointed in ppl who think this is funny. A White comedian saying “nigga” for a laugh is straight up lazy.

      • chaz says:

        Oh, well then, beg pardon. I’m sure you’ll understand my confusion as to your knowing the origins of this word. You did, in fact, say it was CREATED to dehumanize an entire race of people. Pssst, we are all the same race, human.

      • Anna G. says:

        AGREED!
        And “created” was the wrong word.
        I wanted to make the point that certain groups
        have a history of not being in control of the labels given to them.
        …until now

        Happy Black History Month!

      • Chaz says:

        Agreed….. Been nice yanking chains with you Anna!!

      • Chaz says:

        Btw, I’m sure you’ve realized that I’m an ecumenical asshole! As I’ve said before, I like it….the hours are good and there’s no heavy lifting!

  9. M says:

    There is so much butt hurt here right now.

  10. michelle says:

    Jennifer, you’re doing great. Your writing isn’t as repetitive and cyclical S the old Evil Beet girls. Their posts were littered with the phrases, over and over again!

    Anyways white people saying nigga is another way of taking something else from the black community. Slavery, urban slums, refusing loans, the FHA, shitty public schools, highways through city centers, among thousands of other ways of perpetuating system racism. Now through the already white framework of society, Liza bigmouth is trying to steal and whitewash an always black term. How much more do whites want?

  11. megan says:

    i have genuinely loved this site since you’ve taken over! keep up the good, intelligent, funny, and aware posts!

  12. Katie says:

    Bottom line, if a black person had posted a picture with a friend and said the same thing there would be no issue. Because she is a white female it’s totally racist. I don’t agree. I once had a black friend of mine tell me some white people are allowed to say “nigga” but never “nigger” and I concur completely.

  13. luke says:

    its a double standard. Black people call us white guys crackers, so I have every right to say nigga all I want. If they truly wanted to be treated equal, they wouldn’t complain every single time they don’t get their way. People need to lighten

  14. Ash says:

    Oh lord, the comments…smh…I completely agree with everything in this article. That said, Lisa Lampinelli is just a fucked up, not funny individual pretending to be a comedian. I don’t get how any person with an IQ above 50 could watch the bullshit she thinks is…funny? Something?
    That said, let me tell you a little story. I went to college with Lena Dunham at Oberlin, which kind of implicates me…though I did get a free ride (50k+ a yr)…anyway, it’s basically full of rich white girls who don’t know what the meaning of their privilege is and think it’s ironic to say shit like that. Lord am I glad those days are over…alas, who knows how long Girls will last…

  15. pufinstuf says:

    This will just go on forever, because we (as a society) seem to have decided to kiss Lena Dunham’s ass ad infinitum. Anything to do with her will just be everywhere. I heard all of the criticism of “Girls” not having minority characters so I watched the first episode “on demand.” I winced my way through it. I found all of the characters unlikeable but still found myself cringing at how unmerciful with them she was and how she made them so pathetic and treated them so poorly. There is being angry at a certain type of person, and then there is savaging them and considering it humor. I didn’t know before Ash’s comment that Lena Dunham had gone to Oberlin. I was a student there (long ago) and despite the high hopes I had before I got there it was one of the most frustrating and miserable periods of my life. So now I understand a bit. Maybe.

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