Tim Allen: Why Can’t I Say “N**ger”?

Truth rating: 10
(Getty Images)

By Daniel Gates

Tim Allen

(Getty Images)

Tim Allen is causing a stir with some comments about the N-word. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, the TV star criticizes the use of that euphemistic phrase — “N-word” — and laments that non-black comedians are culturally prohibited from using the actual slur.

Allen points out that decades ago, edgy performers both white (Lenny Bruce) and black (Richard Pryor) would use “n**ger” in their acts to mirror its use on the streets. “You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it,” explains Allen, who says, “[The phrase] ‘the N-word’ is worse to me than n**ger.”

When his interviewer alludes to the current debate in the comedy world over rape jokes, Allen refers to the firestorm that ensued following Paula Deen’s admission that she used the N-word. He says, “I’ve had this argument on stage a million times. I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they’re referring to me, ‘Hey, my n—–’s up.’ So I’m the n—– if I’m around you guys but 7 feet away, if I said n—–, it’s not right.”

Allen continues, “It’s very confusing to the European mind how that works, especially if I’ve either grown up or evolved or whatever, it literally was growing up in Colorado, with Hispanics and Anglos, that’s all I remember. So when Paula Deen [admits her language], they go after her, and now we’ve gone backwards in the world.” What do you think about Allen’s comments?

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