Enter Phil Mushnick, New York Post columnist and latest target du jour of America's "Bust Whitey's Hump" brigade. And believe me, when this crowd saddles up, ANY white guy will do as a target, no matter what he said, or the context in which he said it.
If you Google Mushnick's name, along with that of rapper Jay-Z and the National Basketball Association team the Brooklyn Nets, you'll see something like this:
"Phil Mushnick column racist."
"Phil Mushnick's racially insensitive comments on Jay-Z, Brooklyn Nets cause stir."
"New York Post columnist goes full racist on Jay-Z's Brooklyn Nets."
"N.Y. Post writer Phil Mushnick goes on racist rant about Jay-Z, Brooklyn Nets."
Now just what did Mushnick say in this "racist rant"? Before I get to that, a little background. Jay-Z is part owner of the NBA's Nets, a team that was born in New York -- as part of the now defunct American Basketball Association -- then moved to New Jersey, and is now located in Brooklyn.
Apparently, others in Nets management thought it would be a good idea to let Jay-Z handle the team's marketing. Mushnick's clearly not feeling the idea.
Here's his reaction, taken from his column of May 4: "As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots -- what a shock he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new 'urban' home -- why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?
"Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N-----s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn Bitches or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!"
Let's take Mushnick's column in context, and try to gauge the point he was trying to make. Did he use any language that Jay-Z -- and way too many of his fellow rappers -- haven't used, used frequently and still use?
Pull up iTunes and look at a list of Jay-Z songs. You'll see titles like, "N---a What, N---a Who," "Jigga That N---a," "Ain't No N---a" and that hip-hop classic, "N----s in Paris."
Sounds to me like Mushnick was trying to hold Jay-Z accountable for the lyrics in his music. That's not a guy trying to be a racist. Mushnick's use of the "n" word is no more racist than Mark Twain's use of the word in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Critics of that beloved American classic bemoan the use of the "n" word therein. Some, like Auburn University at Montgomery professor Alan Gribben and the folks who run publishing company NewSouth Books, have released a version of "Huck Finn" with the "n" word replaced with the word "slave."
That's every bit as ridiculous -- and pointless -- as Country Music Television's airing of the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles" with the "n" word bleeped out. Director/writer Mel Brooks' Western parody is a scathing satire that attacks racism and racists, and Brooks makes his point by having ignoramuses repeatedly use the "n" word.
Taking the "n" word out of "Blazing Saddles" makes it a different movie; without it, the film isn't as funny, and doesn't quite pack the wallop against racism that it does when the word is used.
If Mushnick is a racist, so was Twain. And so is Brooks. CMT honchos no doubt didn't want themselves charged with racism, which might explain their craven, poltroonlike caving in to political correctness.
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.