Written by: Shane Shoemaker
Former University of Tennessee and NFL defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth took to Twitter recently to open up about his and Brittany Jackson’s (also from UT) torn relationship.
In his tweets he mentions multiple forms of abuse from Jackson that included emotional, verbal and physical. Allegedly, Haynesworth said that Jackson would call him the n-word because “she wanted me to feel hurt bc I didn’t show her affection.”
I’ve been mulling over this thought for a while, but does it automatically make someone racist if they use a racial slur? I know that might sound ludicrous, and I also know there’s context, but stick with me here.
Without question the n-word is the most offensive word, perceivably, in the entire english language today. It seemingly has no room for error or source for forgiveness if said. I think that is a bit ridiculous, only because I believe people let words carry more weight than what they really should, or even worse, let people determine their worth or stature by what someone says to them. I’m not saying the n-word isn’t offensive because it is, but does it make someone automatically a racist if it’s said? Are they a racist for life at that point, with no point of return?
Brittany Jackson had a long-term relationship with Albert Haynesworth, they have a child together.
How could she be racist?
I’m not saying people don’t date for the wrong reasons — sex, money, loneliness etc. — but to spend time with someone, dating them … that takes dedication, and if you were a true racist you couldn’t stand to be in sight of them, much less have a child with them.
It all comes down to intent.
Look at the recent Lions fan who recently relinquished his season tickets and is now banned from Ford Field. He sent out a snapchat photo on his personal account of two black fans sitting during the national anthem that read “ignorant n- – – – -s.”
I don’t know this fan personally or Brittany Jackson, but what they did and why they dropped their racial slurs when they did and how they did it, while extremely insensitive and moronic, doesn’t make them, in my opinion, a racist for life. Could you argue in that moment? Absolutely. But I lean more towards an emotional discharge fueled by ignorance and discouragement with the intent of hurt.
Go back and look at what Haynesworth said in his own tweet about why Jackson would call him racial slurs.
“She wanted me to feel hurt bc I wouldn’t show her affection.”
If true, Jackson went the lowest route she could possibly go in getting the attention, of any kind, from Haynesworth. Verbal abuse, I’d be willing to guess, which was a form of abuse that was claimed from Jackson to Haynesworth, doesn’t shy away from any words, doesn’t hold anything back. Why would the n-word be any different? It’s an automatic hurtful term.
We can only assume Jackson was emotionally discouraged when she allegedly said these things to Haynesworth — she took the most reprehensible way possible to get his attention, and more importantly, hurt him.
And that’s what it’s about: hurting someone.
This isn’t taking up for Jackson, because I’m not. This isn’t taking up for the Lions fan, because I’m not. What I’m taking up for here is intent and how people react in moments of intense emotion. Emotion will drive you farther than you want to go, and quite possibly, longer than you want to go, to do things you wouldn’t normally do.
The Lions fan clearly wasn’t pleased with the two black fans beside him sitting for the national anthem. So he then thinks of the lowest thing possible to say about them in hopes of making himself feel better and them look worse. He was mad, upset and felt disrespected. So in a form of retaliation he goes after them with the easiest form of disrespect in regards to the ones he’s trying to hurt.
For Jackson, again, it was about attention, and it was about hurt.
If you really want to hurt people, you’ll think of the lowest most reprehensible way(s) possible to truly hurt them if you want. You’ll find any deficiencies they may have and expose them harshly. You’ll go after their race, religion, appearance, their past or whatever else you can conjure up to break them down. What’s the easiest trigger? The n-word is an automatic, easy trigger to make someone of color inhibit an emotional response.
That’s why I don’t believe everyone who has said the n-word or any other racial slur is a true racist. Obviously, there are those who do use racial slurs that are racist, but I just can’t believe that’s always the case.
That’s why it’s hard for me to believe even the Lions fan is racist. He was sitting there in a stadium mixed with what I can only assume were multiple races of people in attendance. Not to mention that a majority of the Lions team he had bought season tickets for and the opposing team playing them were a majority black. However, I can’t 100 percent tell you he’s not a racist either. I’m just saying that when people get emotional they tend to do things that are out of their normal character.
Like a lot of things now days, I believe the lines are blurred a bit when it comes to claiming who and what someone is in their actual beliefs, whether that’s socially, spiritually and now even physically. Granted, in situations where racial slurs are used and hate crimes are committed it can be a lot less blurrier, downright clear as crystal. But I just can’t believe, particularly in Jackson’s case, that when someone uses racial slurs against someone of color that automatically makes them a racist for the rest of their life. I’m not saying it should be excused necessarily, I’m just saying we should attempt to understand the situation if and when these things happen and what the true intent was from the person that said it. I think we have to look to determine if it was a personal attack or an attack against a collective group.