Bristol Palin stirred up a tiny bit of controversy again when it was revealed that her new paramour Giancinto Paoletti who goes by the nickname “Gino” on his Facebook page routinely calls his friends the n-word. Now let’s be clear there’s no hint that Palin herself uses the word, or even condones the use of the word. And let’s be even clearer. The n-word that he uses is the street rapper version of the word, ni**a.
So arguably two cases can be made in defense of the Palins. One is that the Paoletti is no different than legions of other young whites and non-blacks that take their cue from the black rappers and sling the word around to boost their hipness, street cred, and that presumably since some, most, or all of Paoletti’s friends are non-black, than there’s absolutely no reason to think that he’s trying to mock, ridicule, denigrate, or inflict racial harm on anyone. In short, using the term doesn’t type make him a racist.
This brings up the second point, this doesn’t make Bristol a racist either. In an interview last month, she called him “a good guy, a family guy, and a Christian”, and revealingly said that her new beau got the stamp of approval from Sarah Palin and her father. “They like him a lot.”
A screenshot from Paoletti’s Facebook wall:
But there’s another point that’s much more intriguing in Bristol Palin’s choice of an airhead boyfriend who’s clueless to a racially loaded term. And that’s does the flap about Bristol’s boyfriend say anything about Sarah Palin as a person and political figure? After all this is the only real reason any of this is relevant.
The short answer is it doesn’t much about Sarah. Bristol is an adult and whatever she says or does, and that includes her choice of friends, acquaintances and lovers, no matter how ridiculous, repulsive, or objectionable they may be. Palin, like other parents, can’t be totally held accountable for that.
But Palin is not like any other parent. She’s the most polarizing political curiosity to come down the pike in recent times. And anything that she and family members say and do is going to be thoroughly scrutinized up one wall and down another with one purpose in mind. That’s does the action or act of anyone intimately associated with her help or hurt her chances of being either a credible 2012 GOP presidential candidate or at the very least help or hurt the GOP in the public eye in 2012.
Palin’s objectionable, even idiotic tweets on everything from Obama’s birth (she once ‘favorited’ a tweet calling Obama a “Taliban Muslim”) to her “blood libel” (rumored to be inspired by an Andrew Breitbart tweet) remark uttered in her hyper paranoid self-defense of herself following the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabriella Giffords has shoved her public stock even further downhill.
The incessant polls that seemingly measure day by day how the potential GOP presidential wanna be contenders will do in a head to head match-up against Obama show Palin getting creamed. Her negatives are stratospherically higher than any of the other mentioned possible GOP contenders (6 in 10 Americans view her unfavorably). The plastering of her tweets, foot-in-the mouth gaffes, and half baked rants that pass for serious public policy issue analysis on Fox News and on the web have done more than all the Palin loathers and bashers combined could do to drive her ratings into the ground.
Bristol Palin and Paoletti is a textbook example of how she and Bristol’s follies further pile the negatives on Sarah. Though again, few would normally give a hoot about what Palin’s boyfriend says and does, the Palin name attached to it guarantees that it will become water coolter talk. That inevitably tracks the social media footprint directly back to Sarah. The other inevitable question raised is does this smear even more tarnish on Palin’s image; an image that is already smeared to the top with tarnish?
It does. Not again, because she should be held accountable for her daughter’s boyfriend’s words and actions, but because the public holds Palin like any other dubious, and controversial figure accountable for any dirt, scandal, or misstep that anyone related or associated with them makes.
So we come back to Paoletti’s use of the rapper’s bowdlerizing of the n-word. This doesn’t make him a racist. It doesn’t make Bristol a racist, and it certainly doesn’t make Sarah a racist. But it does further convince even more Americans who already think that Palin is a walking political disaster, that they are right to think just that.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on blogtalkradio.com and wfax.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson