Is there a new openness regarding the use of racist language?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

It is worrisome to think that politicians now feel comfortable using racist language, in a way they have not felt comfortable these last 50 years. I recall when I was young people said “The older generation is racist but the younger generation will change things.” But nowadays, some of the leading racists are younger than I am. And the trend seems to be getting worse instead of better.

Here is a rather overt example from the heartland of the USA:

According to Politico, the controversy stems from a conversation between Minor and Harold in Minor’s capacity as chairman of Winfield Township, Ill. During a meeting between the two Republicans, Minor began asking Harold questions about her sexuality and her marital status, asking, “Are you a lesbo?” multiple times. The conversation reportedly turned heated when Minor “used the full n-word.”

In a letter to state Republicans, Illinois House leader Peter Breen wrote that Minor confirmed the details of the conversation and his use of the slurs to Breen. To be fair, though, Breen says that Minor claims he had a good reason:

At an in-person meeting that Mr. Minor requested with me, with a witness present, Mr. Minor confirmed that he had asked Ms. Harold if she was a lesbian and that he had used the full n-word in her and her assistant’s presence. He explained this away by claiming that Ms. Harold “wanted him to ask the question” about her sexual orientation and claiming that Ms. Harold asked him to say the full n-word. Suffice it to say, this is not how the other participants to the meeting heard or understood the statements, nor how they reported those statements to others both immediately after the meeting occurred and consistently in the months since.

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