In Response to WestView News

By Srijan Sen

On July 6, James Lincoln Collier – journalist and author of the award-winning children’s book ‘My Brother Sam is Dead’ – penned a column in New York City’s West Village local newspaper – WestView News – with the headline, “The nigger in the White House.”

Collier wrote the article in support of the president arguing that far-right voters hate Obama only because he is black.

The author wanted to use the headline “to shock [readers] into accepting that there still are people who believe and use this outrageous word.”

George Capsis, the 86-year-old editor and publisher of the paper, prefaced the column by noting: “Jim reminded me that The New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that WestView should.” Capsis also mentioned that the editorial staff continues to object to the use of the word.

Using racist language to make a political point is nothing new. John Lennon of the ‘Beatles’ and Yoko Ono faced similar criticism for their 1972 song entitled “Woman is the nigger of the world.”

Racially charged comments about the 44th President of the United States are not uncommon.

Former House White House Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) chose to illustrate the challenges facing conservatives in the Obama era by saying, “Don’t let Obama find out what comes after a trillion.”

According to WestView’s website, news is distributed each month to 20,000 readers in the West Village, Greenwich Village and Chelsea neighborhoods of New York City.

The community is predominately white and politically liberal. The New York Times has a total circulation of 1,250,000.

The Times print version remains the largest local metropolitan newspaper in the United States and third-largest newspaper overall, behind The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

The website for the Times is one of America’s most popular news sites, and the most popular among all the nation’s newspapers receiving more than 30 million unique visitors per month as reported in January 2011.

WestView News proudly touts itself as the “voice of the people.”