The White House denied this, because denying things is what they do, and while Omarosa seems to have recorded a lot of things said in the White House, including John Kelly and Sarah Huckabee Sanders exchanging squirrel and possum pie recipes, she has no recording of Trump employing the n-word, just one of Trump aides discussing what they would do, other than hide behind the biggest sofa they could find, if such a tape was released, which suggests that such a tape does exist.
If it comes to light, we’ll get a raft of justifications from Trump. He’ll say he was just trying to be hip-hop, and that black Americans use the n-word all the time, which is true, but resented only by him and Rush Limbaugh. He may claim that the word he actually used was “niggardly,” although the suspicion here is that he’d better bone up on what “niggardly” really means. Eventually he’ll say the tapes were doctored by CNN or claim that it’s not actually him on the tape.
It won’t amount to anything, because you only have to go back to the century before last when 100% of white Americans, when referring to black Americans, used the n-word. That percentage has gradually come down, mostly from older Americans dying off rather than people actually reforming their speech patterns. Our own ancestors in the Greatest Generation, particularly the male ones, were close to universal users of the expression, and the occasional one who refused to was derided as a Jew. My father, whose transport ship was sunk by the Germans and both my Uncle Joes, one of whom was a submariner and the other a bombardier on a B-24, all used the n-word as unselfconsciously as any other in the language and meant it derogatorily, although to be fair to those heroes, they weren’t particularly fond of “wops,” “chinks,” or “spics,” either.
Racial and ethnic hatred was the norm back then, and bubbled to men’s lips as innocently as a request for more mustard on a sandwich. Came naturally when your job was to fight krauts and nips. But use of the word began to be regarded as at least rude, if not downright dangerous, gradually after the war. The girls led the way in this field, and men reluctantly followed, especially if they wanted sex or any mustard at all on that sandwich.
But not everybody reformed. Probably at least 90% of white guys have used the word at some point in their lives. Not all the girls regarded the term as offensive either. There’s a solid core of Americans, centered in the South but also spread as generously, and as whitely, over the rest of the country as marshmallow on a fluffernutter, who still employ the n-word in daily conversation. The estimate here is that 50% of the population still clings to the n-word.
Of course, ten percent of them are black and as noted above, feel entitled to the word. If you want to argue with them about that, feel free, but we’re not paying attention. Ain’t nobody got time for that. That leaves about 40% of whites as steady employers of the n-word. And the hard core of Trump’s support, the ones who are with him no matter how much he screws up, displays his astonishing lack of knowledge, or makes this two-hundred and forty-two year-old nation about himself, stands rock-steady at about 40%.
If you think that’s a coincidence, I’ve got an email from Nigeria to forward to you.