Should Barbara Walters Have Used the N-Word in ‘View’ Talk About Rick Perry's Camp? (Video)

Walters' use of word sparks discussion on who can use it and who can't

Barbara Walters' use of the n-word during a discussion on "The View" Monday about the offensively named hunting camp where Rick Perry entertained guests sparked a debate over who can and should use the word.

Whoopi Goldberg used it first, to give the name of the lodge, "N—–head." (How long the camp was known by the name is in dispute.) Walters used it next, in the same manner as Goldberg, but Sherri Shepherd expressed her discomfort.

"I'm saying when you say the word, I don't like it," said Shepherd, who said she has used it among African-American family and friends. "When white people say it, it brings up feelings in me."

Walters said using the word "gives me chills myself," and stressed that she was using it to explain the story. Shepherd said Walters was free to use the word if she wanted to, but that it made her uncomfortable.

"You can do anything you want, Barbara. You're Barbara Walters," she said, later adding that she knew Walters didn't mean to use the word in an offensive way.

The discussion started with Shepherd noting that Goldberg and Walters pronounced the word differently. Goldberg later said she pronounces it the way she does because, "I have a good time saying it 'cause I know I'm not supposed to." She said she didn't object to Walters using the word because Walters wasn't using it to insult anyone.

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