News & Opinion | December 26, 2018 11:02 am

Louis CK, Chris Rock Reignite “N-Word” Debate

The controversial argument was sparked by the resurfacing of a 2011 video.

Racism debate
A video of comedians Chris Rock and Louis C.K. has reignited the N-word debate. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

The debate over whether or not it’s acceptable for comedians of all colors to use the N-word onstage has resurfaced thanks to a video clip featuring Louis CK and Chris Rock.

The two prominent funnymen discuss the term in a 2011 Talking Funny video alongside Jerry Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais.

“When a black guy gets rich, it’s countdown to when he’s poor again,” CK says, to which Rock replies, “He’s the blackest white guy I f-cking know.”

“You’re saying I’m a n—-r?” Louis C.K. asks.

“Yes, you are the n—-rest f-cking white man I have ever met,” Rock replied.

Although both CK and Gervais — who also used the word —seem to be amused, Seinfeld made a point of noting, “I wouldn’t use it anywhere.”

The video is a reminder of how complex racism still is in American society and culture, writes CNN commentator David A. Love. The N-word, in particular, “has a troubling and nuanced past,” according to Love, who wrote that while racism is something society must acknowledge and discuss, “the n-word is a different story.”

While the N-word is clearly a symbol of repression and hate, it’s also a tool that has been “turned on its head” by the black community, notes Love, who have “seized ownership” of it.