February 8, 2022 - 7:15am

I remember the first time I was called the N-word. I was eight years old and my white neighbour called me it out of frustration during a basketball game. I was barely old enough to grasp the impact of that word but knew it came from a place of anger.

I don’t remember any other time that word was directed at me in anger — luckily, racial animosity in my life has been very rare.

But I am becoming used to a different kind of insult. This one is more likely to come from “anti-racist” elites than from the angry white men I’m supposed to be scared of.

Have you noticed how, in most recent outrages about race, black Americans are not the ones leading or even energising the conversation? The current outrage over Joe Rogan’s past use of the N-word is no different.

On February 5th, the podcaster was forced to issue an apology because of a viral video montage showing clips of him saying the N-word. He stated that these clips were taken out of context but also that he regrets using the word. “I never used it to be racist because I’m not a racist” he said. Personally, I believe him.

But it feels like I’m supposed to be angry. The N-word is supposed to throw a black person like myself back to a time period when I wasn’t alive and force me to relive humiliation that wasn’t mine. I’m supposed to hear Rogan saying that word, regardless of context, and cast him in the role of the abusive master or racist good ‘ol boy.

Frankly it’s insulting. These kinds of campaigns imply that we, black Americans, are incapable of objectivity and ignorant of context; it implicitly accuses us of hyper-emotionality and a lack of rationality.

The outrage over Rogan isn’t coming from black people. It’s coming from members of the political and media establishment who have been trying to de-platform him for over a month. When warnings about “misinformation” didn’t do the trick, they pivoted to racism. But this isn’t about racism or even morality; it’s about control of information.

If elites really believed that using the N-word should be a career-ending offence for white people, plenty of other celebrities would need to be cancelled. Take the president’s son, Hunter Biden, who jokingly used the slur with his white lawyer — a story the media mostly ignored.

Howard Stern, the former shock jock and present-day bastion of moral virtue, gets a free pass for years of what would be considered racially insensitive material. I remember when he sang DMX’s “My Niggas” live on air. Different times. How about Jimmy Kimmel painting himself brown on “The Man Show” to look like Karl Malone? Will he be cancelled? No, and he shouldn’t be. Context matters.

But when all other attempts to silence Rogan have failed, black people find themselves once again used to gain leverage. We seem to be America’s anchor for change whether we like it or not.

I don’t think Joe Rogan is David Duke just because he said the N-word — I’m insulted by a progressive establishment that thinks I’m too dumb to know the difference.