Nolte: Slate Podcaster Suspended Indefinitely After Racial Slur Debate

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 27: Mike Pesca attends day 2 of Politicon 2019 at Music City Center on October 27, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Ed Rode/Getty Images for Politicon)
Ed Rode/Getty Images for Politicon

Far-left Slate indefinitely suspended one of its podcasters without pay, not for using the word “n***er,” but for engaging in a debate about the use of the word “n***er.”

UPDATE: Slate responded with this comment: “While I can’t get into specific allegations that are under investigation, I can confirm this was not a decision based around making an isolated abstract argument in a Slack channel. After additional issues were raised by staff, we felt it was appropriate to take further action and indefinitely suspend the show pending an investigation.” 

Mike Pesca is a white male who, earlier this month, got into a discussion with other Slate employees on the company’s internal  Slack about Donald McNeil, the 45-year New York Times reporter who was forced to resign this month for saying “n***er” back in 2019.

By all accounts, McNeil, a white guy, only used the word to clarify a white student’s question about race. In other words, McNeil used the word in a clinical context and for that, he was forced out and disgraced after 45 years.

According to this Defector report, Pesca didn’t even use the word in this discussion. He was suspended indefinitely only for arguing that within certain clinical contexts it is appropriate for a white person to speak or write the word.

Here are a couple examples of what got him in trouble:

The question is: Is an out loud utterance of that word, in a work environment, fire-able, censurable, etc… Even as a point of clarification to a question exactly about the use of that word. I thought not necessarily. I agreed with John McWhorter. But that’s (notice the date) 2019 thinking. McNeil was originally disciplined in 2019. Just a little while later society seems to have rendered a different verdict.

I don’t think it’s proper to use it in casual conversation and I’m in no position to tell Black NY Times workers that they shouldn’t be worried it’s going to pop out of a colleague’s mouth at some point. If you want my opinion it’s that there are some limited reasons why a non African American journalist or professor to use the word when conveying a quote in the name of clarity or factualness […] But it’s not a comfortable point to even pursue right now. If I had the opposite opinion I know a hundred ways I could make the opinion I actually have seem horrible and racist, and you know what, maybe it is.

Eventually, a black staff writer popped in to express her outrage….

Feel like it’s weird that everyone’s dancing around the point that working in an environment where white people feel empowered to say the n-word in service of whatever argument they want to make is incredibly hostile for black people.

…and, at least according to this article, that was how a whole lot of people at Slate felt, including the suits, and Pesca is now suspended indefinitely.

The Defector article definitely sides with all the so-called “victims” of Pesca’s point of view and then goes on for hundreds of words to detail all the times Pesca used the word, and every time is strictly within a clinical context. There’s no record of him using the word to hurt or demean anyone.

Here’s an example of the thinking that now drives America’s newsrooms…

One Slate staffer told Defector, “The problem isn’t simply that Mike Pesca is intellectually lazy and racist. The biggest problem is that he is accountable to no one.”

Another staffer said, “I don’t want to be in a workplace where people feel emboldened to have this argument. People’s humanity is not an intellectual debate.”

So, if I write the following: The word n***er is the worst word in the English language, I’m safe and woke.

But if I write that same sentence without the stars, I’m racist.

America is doing just fine, y’all.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.



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