The mayor of Brazoria, Texas, has dropped his effort to outlaw the aggressive use of the word "nigger" in this little town of 2,800, according to the Houston Chronicle. After only a few days of campaigning for fines up to $500 for anyone convicted of slinging the word around in a malicious way (using it casually would have been legal), Mayor Ken Corley, who's white, has punted the idea.
A couple days ago, I admitted to a small conflict about the proposal. While it was praiseworthy that Corley had tried to address a social ill, I believe he attacked it wrong by outlawing a form of free speech. Claude Foster, the NAACP's regional director in Houston, agrees. He told the Chronicle he "applauds the intention of the measure," but doesn't think curbing speech is the best way to fight racism. "Education is the answer," Foster said.
My hat's off to Corley for his courage to do something. I don't think he's truly a censor, just a guy who had the urge to help. I hope he finds another, more constitutional way to confront the symbol of this word.