James Lincoln Collier, the author of a pro-Obama opinion piece titled “N—er in the White House,” called up CNN on Monday to defend his headline.
Despite the backlash that erupted after the column was published in Sunday’s edition of New York community newspaper The WestView News, Collier did not offer any kind of public apology for using the racial slur during his conversation (above) with anchor Don Lemon and stood by his message to readers.
“That was the whole point, is that a great many people in the United States continue to think of President Obama as the n—er,” Collier said. “And I wanted to make that point that there’s a substantial amount of racism still existing in the United States, and that’s how I expressed it in order to get that point across as strongly as I could.”
Lemon said he wasn’t bothered by the headline, as “it is pertinent to the news story if there is a legitimate reason for using it,” but pointed out that Collier never once referenced the word in the piece, and was therefore puzzled why he “insisted” upon using it.
“I didn’t insist on it, particularly,” Collier said. “That’s the headline I put on the piece, I submitted it to the publisher, and that’s the way he ran it. And I thought it was an appropriate title to put on the piece, because that, after all, was the nature of the piece.”
Collier said he expected “some response” for his approach to calling out people who “pretend that they’re talking about a political matter” to mask their racism, but not the level of public scrutiny he has received. For Collier, it’s a clear sign that racism is far from eradicated in the United States.
“And that makes it very clear to me that this is still a very emotional issue for the american people,” Collier said. “I don’t get called up to be interviewed by CNN very often, I assure you, but this is why you’re interested.”
If presented with a chance to write the piece all over again, Collier said he “wouldn’t change it at all.”
“If I had thought I shouldn’t have done it in the first place, I wouldn’t have done it,” he added.