Some residents in New York City’s upscale West Village neighborhood were likely disturbed to “open the latest copy of their community newspaper and see the headline, ‘The [N***ger] in the White House’, according to the New York Post.

The jarring headline on page 15 of the monthly West View News apparently refers to President Barack Obama, who has been hit by racial attacks since he and his family moved to the White House after his 2008 presidential election. The intended goal of the op-ed by author and journalist James Lincoln Collier was to show the ugly side of language used against the president by the far-right.

But the New York Post interviewed several people who regarded it as disrespectful and a publicity stunt.

“It’s disrespectful in any context to refer to the president of the United States as the N-word,” Eugene May, a West Village resident told the Post. “If you were quoting something or referring to the historic context of the word being used, I can understand the justification [.]”

And some argued that any effort to be ironic by using the word, which is regarded by some as one of the most offensive words in the English language, is lost, the Post writes.

 “It seems he’s just using it for shock value,” May told the Post.

But George Capsis, the paper’s 86-year-old editor and publisher, writes in an explanation that the goal of the piece was to shock people into consciousness.

Collier “wanted to use the word” to “shock us into accepting that there are people who believe and use this outrageous word,” Capsis writes.

 

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