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Marlon Wayans is a father who believes his kids can teach him a thing or two about life. The actor and producer of A Haunted House recently weighed in on the use of the N-word in Quentin Tarantino’s film, Django Unchained, and his analyses is quite enlightening.

Contrary to some who believe that Quentin went too far in using the term with the making of his film, Marlon deems the manner in which Tarantino used the N-word to be an acceptable form of art. “We should all know by now, we’ve seen enough Tarantino movies, he’s gonna use the N-word. He’s gonna curse a lot and he’s gonna use the N-word. And its just like, to get upset about it, its art,” said Marlon. “When it comes to the N-word it’s all about, to me, the connotation of the word and not the denotation. What do you mean by it? What do you really mean when you say that word? What are you trying to say? I’m from the generation of hip-hop and I know the connotation of the word, not the denotation. The denotation will upset any black person, but the connotation you just go [shrugs].”

The actor continues, “I look at my daughter and my son, who literally don’t really see color in that manner. They are dealing with all kinds of kids and I’ve never seen, my kid hasn’t been called the N-word one time. Not one time, and they go to these really nice private schools; their friends are Asian, white, black, Latino. It’s a beautiful thing to see, so they don’t see race anymore. You got black kids skateboarding; you have white kids listening to hip-hop music and so those lines are more gray and I think it’s transitioning to a different place. And its about the youth teaching the older generation that ‘no, that’s not how it is.’”

What do you think? Is Marlon right in pointing out the idea of connotation and denotation when using the N-word, or is he playing into a sort of stereotype?

Photos: WhoSay

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  • Habesha January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I agree that most children don’t care about color, they notice they are differences but it’s no big deal unless someone makes it so. My children also have friends of many races and feel like the possibilities for the future are limitless. Race doesn’t determine their choice of activity ie you can snowboard, ice skate, fence etc, not just basketball, baseball and football.

    I have told them the N-word is a word to insult people like stupid or ugly, and has no power over them unless they give it power. I saw both Lincoln and Django, in Lincoln the N-word was used about 5 times and when it was used it was in context and powerful. The words use in Django seemed excessive and it seemed to mock the slaves as a joke. Tarantino uses that word in all his movies usually for comedic effect and it’s sad but black Americans live him and his movies so it is what it is.

    • Laila January 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      I don’t understand. You say words have no power unless you give in to it, but you take offense to black people liking Tarantino’s films that use the word. You took offense at what you deemed excessive use of the slur. Is a word more offensive depending on how many times it’s used? I too saw both films, and in both films I saw the word used in the manner it was intended. They were both used in a derogatory way.

      Which is it? Either you believe a word is just a word, or you believe there is power behind a word. Those two very contradictory statements you made simply cannot exist together. Additionally, I would go so far as to argue that it is far worse for a black person to like much of what we hear in rap music than it is for us to like a Tarantino film. I do not expect others to preserve our dignity, but I expect it of my own. The only thing sad here is that we look the other way when one of our own degrades us.

      • Pisces January 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        Agree. Wars have been launched in the world because of words and many people are killed everyday because of misspoken or poorly chosen words. People have been enslaved literally and figuratively because of words. Words are powerful.

        • Pisces January 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm

          Even in recent history, it was partially the power of negatively spoken words and stereotyping of young people of color that led to the tragic and untimely demise of young Treyvon Martin.

          Whether his killer gets away with his murder will also be determined by the power of words.

        • Pisces January 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

          The power of words is evident right here on the BCK commenting interactive feature. , Now with the” thumbs up”,” thumbs down” feature, people can give thumbs down enough to force BCK to delete/edit entire comments…some comments that don’t contain obscenities or any other overt “incorrectness” of verbage.

          Just READING some words obviously irks the heck out of people, so you know actually hearing a person speak something you don’t want to hear can send some of us over the edge…no matter what color you are. That’s what we need to teach our kids about…learning tolerance and impulse control.

          The killer at SandyHook was White and obviously had no impulse control.

  • Pisces January 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Kids may not see color, but they see buck teeth or over bites and usually bully, taunt and tease kids who have them. Unfortunately.

    At least the Wayans can afford the best orthodontist in the business when the time comes.

    • Sherley January 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Pisces, I can’t with you.

      • Pisces January 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        :) Hi Sherley! Sending good words and happy thoughts to you on this glorious MLK, Jr. holiday! Happy Inauguration Day, too, by the way.

      • Pisces January 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        All I’m saying is that if we don’t get teased or bullied over one thing, there will always be some other put down that others will use against you. If being called the “N” word doesn’t bother some, being called “big lips” or “bucked tooth” may be just as big of a negative if used in a nasty context.

  • Whatever January 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Is Django the first movie that has the “n” word used? sorry i grew up watching alot of slave movies and movies where they just reinacted how it was back then. I look past Tarritino and just remember they are so many movies out there that are worse than his and the “n” word which black rappers and hip hop American artists love to put in a song which they want to say is different, LOLLLLLLLL. Whatever. I enjoyed the movie and yes racism still exist, as far as i am concerned, the black race is the most hated race out of all the colour and ppl out there. Before his movie, the music that spreads more quickly and in the minds more longer the same black ppl have no problem with even going to African with their “shit music” oh well. Give some take some. Free yourself from mental slavery and act in accordance and things will change. There is still hope even though many game before to make a change and we have come a long way. Many ppl still caught in the trap and act like and still believe they are nothing and must follow the culture of a race just because so they can feel acceptance. Next.

  • Kianayara January 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Racism still exist and will always exist. Kids don’t see it until they are grown. I see it in the work place daily and it is hurtful. It bothers me when ppl say racism us gone just BC they gave white friends. Don’t be fooled. Anywho, I still love Marlon and the wayans.

    • khrish January 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

      AMEN! TELL IT LIKE IT IS. There is some nut that’ll do it for him. childhood’s great, but then they grow up.but that “seeing no color thing” what a waste. All the beautiful colors that are like a wonderful flower garden. a chance to smell all the flowerss and know how they grow.(cultural exchange) Black are alway the one who are open and the ones that have all the arrows pointed againt them. as a lady told her grandchildren who were friends of my children “it’s alright to be friends when you are little, but then when you grow up things must change:

    • dee January 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

      I thumbs upped you before I realized that you still like the wayans. I used to until I saw that they come off as the kardashian & madonna type. they will say & do anything for money & convince the public that its all for the right reasons. as soon as they have their kids they have the finances to shelter them from all the crap they polluted society with.

      • khrish January 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm

        There isn’t enough money to shelter a minority child from ugly racism. The President and Oprah are living proof of that.

  • Laila January 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    People are missing the point of Quentin’s use of the slur. Racism exists. The characters that use it in his films are racist. He is putting that ugliness on display, and there is nothing wrong with being honest about the issue. Everyone likes to pretend we live in this fictional post-racial world, and I find it disturbing. Marlon is misguided, and so are others who attempt to lessen the effect of the slur by “cleansing” it of its ugliness. The term is degrading. No amount of “artful” use will change that. It’s a shame that a white person–Quentin– knows this, while black folks like Marlon Wayans attempt to run from the fact. As far as children not seeing color, I agree that hate and xenophobia is learned behavior. We aren’t born racist. However, I caution against raising your child to believe that as a person of color, they will never encounter it. It’s best that you teach them their history while being honest about the possibility of experiencing discrimination at some point. It will be a painful experience for them if you fail to prepare them. Treat others with kindness and respect, but realize you may not always be treated the same. That’s life.

    • khrish January 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      excellent post.

    • Jane January 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Your comment is so true on so many levels. Idealists love to pretend racism is a thing of the past, but the election of a black president has unmasked a lot of beneath-the-surface racial animosity. I hate the term ‘post racial’. It’s a lie and I distrust all who subscribe to the theory that we are there yet. Having said all of that, your last two sentences were profound. It is of vital importance that we teach tolerance to children as soon as they are old enough to start noticing differences between people. Teach them that different doesn’t mean bad and we will be better off.

  • universitychick January 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Marlon is handsome and smart but he has lived in a bubble for a very long time. Once his son ventures out that bubble he will see how racist the world still is…….

    • dee January 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

      couldn’t agree with you more regarding how sheltered Marlon has been. This is a family who grew up in a very strict religion in a small apartment with aprox 10 kids. from the day he was old enough to walk out of the front door, he was under the wing of his older brothers who had already made a name for themselves in the business. he is beyond sheltered & has the ability to shelter his own children even more. at my childs school in a mixed neighborhood of asians, whites, indians & a few blacks & mexicans, a little 7 year old black girl was told by a classmate that she doesn’t play with black kids. the mom asked the teacher to address it. he did & the next week the parents of the white child pulled their kid out of the school. they didn’t appreciate their kid getting the suggestion that she woul have to be civil or cordial with a black person.

  • Harmi January 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    The N-word is the N-word. If races want to be treated with equality and respect, they need to respect themselves first. I don’t think anyone should the N-word anyway. It never was our word to say, and no matter how you use it, it still means the same thing. If you don’t want other races to say to you, DON’T SAY IT ALL.

    • Iridescent Me. January 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm


  • WakeUp January 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Kids in general don’t see color not just marlon’s son. But when we get older and we enter the real world we see te the true ugly face of mankind. That’s when you are going to experience racism and all of the things we as a people do to each other. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but racism is here to stay America is build on racism!

    • Sherley January 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm


      • khrish January 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

        amen. I’m old and its’ still here even after all the strides made. It’s taught. just look at those young people coming up that you hear everyday regarding President Obama. It’s passed on like dna to many. And someday they will ask their parents questions of why was I……whatever? And there goes that bubble. Isn’t it a shame? but that’s America. Even Oprah gets it. And who has a bigger aura than she?

        • Sherley January 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

          Absolutely Khrish. Parents of my racial children are quick to say we don’t see color, but the world does. No matter how much white you have in you, around you or are married to, they still believe they are better than you. Hopefully Marlon is teaching his children how to deal with society.

  • gevacove watson January 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    awww he has his dads eyes

  • MelB January 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Children haven’t the wisdom, knowledge, or insight to see color as it relates to society…it’s like saying a toddler knows the value of $100.00…As an individual ages the disparities/inequities around them opens their eyes…his statement really isn’t something to be applauded or reflected on as some major change…it’s a statement of fact, children really don’t see color.
    Black folks need to get over the N word…can no one “DEFINE” you but you!…if the word were to disappear tomorrow, a new derogatory adjective would be placed in society to define/describe blacks…

    • khrish January 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      how right you are. Those people have a negative name for everyone they meet….even fighting in MiddleEast, SandNs was the name and in Vietnam. The most we can do at home is teach our children a strong self image and a strong history of themselves ensuring that they will be better prepared to handle what is sure to come from some ignoramus out there who has nothing but to feel their color makes them more than. It will still hurt, but hopefully much less. That’s what I did with my children. I never left it up to the schools because I knew all they would teach at most, was the history of Slavery. It was a ritual in our home to know about the greats in history from our side. To know that Blacks were in this country before 1620. I prepared them for the fight without teaching them to dislike people but to be proud of who they are and the extrodinary history that is theirs.

  • Shonda January 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Good luck with that here is a America. Some folks think that your colorless when it comes to class or money. But, believe me folks have a way of letting you know your race. I’m unsure how I feel about it. But, in the end it is his decision. I always wondered why my father felt a certain way about certain people. My bestfriend was white and I had no racial issues. Then, I grow up and entered the work world. It was totally devasting for me. So, for me and my house. I will teach my kids to accept people right where they are and the truth about race and this country. Because not all people are bad, but all people are definitely not good!

  • Misunderstood January 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Being racist, selfish and a bully starts at home! I’m glad Marlon’s son is different!

  • Sherley January 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    It’s great that children do not see color, however everyone else still does. People still have that insane mentality. As long as they are aware of that, they wont go into shock like Tiger Woods did.

  • EVELINA RAE January 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I think he’s right!

    It’s not line Quentin did an interview and said “N****” he used in the movie. It was the norm, back then, so I think it was relevant to be used.

  • Dee January 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I disagree with him. He is perpetrating the use of the N word and it doesn’t affect him or his kids who is in private schools because he is a celebrated, but the rest of us down here it is degrading.

    • khrish January 19, 2013 at 11:48 am

      You are right. and when someone says it to even him and they are angry, watch his own reaction. They didn’t take the sting out of it by saying it themselves, as they claim. If they had they wouldn’t get so upset when people blurt it out to them in anger. It’s a nasty word, but I do feel that in the film, that’ what was used in that day.I don’t like the B word and noone is going to call me that.
      But Ask the president how that racism thing works and he’s the most powerful man in the world. And we see him so disrespected that it’s shameful….and he was loved and reared by people from the same ethnos as those who hate and scorn and call him that nasty name. I’m sure that the wake-up call will come to Marlon when these people strike out at his children.

      • dee January 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

        yea, I think Marlon lives in a complete bubble. most of his famous siblings are with caucasian people. he probably is too if he’s no longer with his childrens mother. is that an issue? absolutely not. it would just explain why his world requires him to not see color even if he & his family constantly portray in movies & in their comedy skits that it’s black against white… even his nephew in dance movie had to go to a tired scene of acting like the black girls would be so angry b/c he was simply speaking with a white young lady…the Wayans are the very people who keep this sorta racism going yet can hide behind saying their comedians. same with Jamie Foxx. does anyone remember them apologizing & crying on Oprah for calling her fat & making insensitive jokes about her. I guess her money makes it ok to apologize to her. what about the rest of society?

      • dee January 20, 2013 at 10:35 am

        We moved into a mixed neighborhood of blacks & whites. 10 short years later there were only 2 black families left & their children were grown & gone. today that neighborhood is all black & one mexican. I grew up in a 2 parent household, a beautiful neighborhood… until crack… I gew up thinking white people were the nicest on earth based on the brady bunch & the partridge family…then I went away to college in san diego & got hit with the COLD, HARD, truth. whew, it was breathtaking. hopefully Marlon finances will stay as such that he can continue to keep his kids in a bubble… & lets hope in the meantime his son won’t get pulled over for driving while black or be treated like a Travon Martin while walking through a neighborhood with a hoodie on. grow up Marlon & just say you like Trenton, his movie & you live in an insular world with enough money to keep your kids sheltered.. for now.

        • khrish February 2, 2013 at 1:15 am

          Again. They don’t have that much money to scare away racism. The president knows that. They get so mad now because they can’t stop him in a car and hassle him, cause I’m sure he’s had it happen at least once in his life. Remember when Chris Rock said that they love being white so badly that even a poor white wouldn’t trade places with hi and he’s rich. That’s a natural fact. There’s that entitlement that the color of their skin gives them, they think. That’s why many are so upset and talking and acting crazy now because they are afraid that the “entitlement” of the color of their skin is going away. They are not supposed to have to compete with anyone of color, they want their country back, don’t you hear them. lololo

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