According to a Scottsdale gun-law author, the word "birther" is a derogatory term "equivalent of the 'N' word."
Perhaps it's not surprising to hear something a bit nuts coming from the author of After You Shoot: Your Gun's Hot. The Perp's Not. Now What?, but Alan Korwin actually got this on the East Valley Tribune and Arizona Republic websites.
"'Birther,' used by the media with impunity, is a derogatory slur, the equivalent of the 'N' word used for another group to cast them as sub-human," Korwin writes. "You apply this new 'N' word to a huge group of politically-active Americans who've raised legitimate questions on a legitimate topic."
Correct us if we're wrong here, but while there are plenty of words that begin with the letter "N," the "'N' word" is reserved to mean "nigger." Yeah, it's offensive.
Of course, Korwin doesn't use the actual word "nigger," he cops out with "'N' word" -- while still using the allegedly derogatory "birther" instead of "'B' Word."
We told Korwin in an email yesterday we'd be writing this post, highlighting his comparison of the words "birther" and "nigger," but he wrote us back saying that comparison "would be patently false, attribut[ing] a word to me that I deliberately did not use, and would not represent what I said or meant."
"Both terms are derogatory slurs," Korwin says. "The people represented are not equivalent."
As we wrote in that email to Korwin, being called a "birther" for believing in what is -- by definition -- a conspiracy theory, doesn't compare to the motives for non-black people to call a black person "nigger." There's a bit of a loaded history behind the slur for black people, too.
Unfortunately, he wasn't buying it.
"'Birther' is used by the media to demean and denigrate skeptics, in a similar fashion as the 'N' word is used by the public to portray a group in an unfavorable light," Korwin responds. "This is a common technique of left-leaning media, well documented, used when rational argument fails. I hope you would agree that name calling is hardly a valid journalistic technique. Swap 'skeptic' for 'birther' in any of those stories and see how differently they read."
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The "B' word" is probably the most precise term for people who believe President Obama's from Africa, as many of the people subscribing to the theories embrace it. Maybe it's the silliness that's always surrounding the "B' word" that makes it sound like a dirty word.
Korwin -- who claims to be a former board member for Arizona's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists -- says the investigations like that of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Cold Case Posse "is not a conspiracy theory, it is research."
"Calling people 'skeptics' instead of the derogatory 'birther' would be more journalistic, unbiased, and worthy of ethical journalism," he says. "It would improve the craft and people's somewhat negative impressions of journalism. Many people out here do not expect journalists to do that, confirming their observations that media in general operates from a closed mind, driven by a forgone agenda. That might fit your definition of a conspiracy theory, but I see it simply as business as usual."