Yahoo Trending: The Racist Rant of a Non-Racist Chevy Chase

Editor’s Note: Yahoo Trending is our way of discussing current events. We peruse Yahoo! and pick a “trending topic” to write about. It’s more fun that way, and hopefully we write about a subject that got lost in the hurricane of “Honey Boo-Boo” headlines.

Howdy. So it was a little over a month ago that Clark asked me to help him run this website. Actually he didn’t ask me, he told me I was helping him run a new website. I agreed and asked what we would write about. He said “anything.”

I immediately thought about how liberating that would be. I love to write as a from of relaxation, but I write about sports so much (usually under a deadline) that I often become stressed when I stare at a Microsoft Word document. So now I have a reason to write about anything I want.

Then I tried to write something. And I didn’t know what the hell to talk about. I felt like Brick from Anchorman just looking around at objects in my room and naming them. My lamp article was not interesting or funny.

So I decided every so often I would go to Yahoo! and see what was trending and grab one of the topics. Since I typically have no idea what any of the trending topics are talking about I can easily click on one, read an article about it and share my (probably unwanted) opinion. So here’s my first one..

Chevy Chase tries to Fight Racism; Now a Racist 

    “We can’t close our eyes to the plight of the cities. Kids, you noticing all this plight?

-Clark Grizzwald

So today I took a gander and settled on the number two trending topic: “Chevy Chase rant.” It just barely beat out number seven, “Housewife raised by monkeys,” but I figured you didn’t want to read another cliche housewife-raised-by-monkeys story.

So I clicked on the link and found an article posted by Examiner.com addressing the story. Here is that article:

http://www.examiner.com/article/chevy-chase-rant-causes-stir-for-n-word-use-on-community-set

So in case you had any doubts, yes, the rant was racial. And if you were much more likely to read the headline and first couple sentences of an article (like 97% of Americans) then you would probably go on with your day under the assumption that Chevy Chase is a racist.

But here is the story of what happened in a nutshell: Chase was upset at the writers of the show Community for portraying his character, Pierce Hawthorne, with too many racist undertones. In protest to a particular scene they wanted Chase to enact he asked, “What’s next? Am I gonna say the word ni**er?”

Okay, so maybe, maybe this story is worth an article by Examiner.com. But I have a little bit of a problem with the way they presented their information. First of all, the title is “Chevy Chase Rant Causes Stir for ‘N-Word’ Use on ‘Community’ Set.” Just below the title they show this picture of him cleaning his glasses in anger.

Actor Chevy Chase arrives at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

If you can find a more racist-looking picture of Chevy Chase I would be surprised. I think Examiner.com is really pushing the envelope on misleading intros to a story by titling it as “So and So used the ‘N-Word’ and then completing it with a picture of him condescendingly staring at someone while he cleans his glasses. 

So I guess I’m bothered with how misleading this seems. It’s like if Christian Bale got upset with the violence in the Dark Knight movies and said, “What’s next? Am I going to torture someone?” Examiner.com would probably run an article that said, “Bale Rant Causes Stir; ‘Am I Going to Tortue Someone?'”

The article also features the words, “TMZ broke the disturbing news…” I’m probably not the only one that thinks that that if TMZ broke a story, then it’s probably neither disturbing nor news. I will admit to TMZ being a credible news source if someone could guarantee that this moment they don’t have someone on their payroll hiding in Lindsy Lohan’s bushes. And by the way, when Lohan leaves the house without makeup it will not qualify as disturbing news.

But before I criticize Examiner.com too harshly I should point out that it was written by Bruce Baker pen man for such noteworthy pieces as “Adele gives birth; and boy makes three,” “‘The View’ Ann Romney episode: Mitt’s wife fact-checks Whoopi Goldberg,” and of course, “Miley Cyrus on ‘Men,’ appears ‘Two and a Half’ times skimpy.”

Baker is listed as a “Celebrity Obsession Examiner.” And you can tell from his head shot that he means business:

Now let clarify that I don’t know what should be considered proper etiquette for words that have been used to discriminate against groups of people and that’s why I choose not to use them under any circumstances. And Chase chose to use the word and, therefore, made a lapse in judgement, but I still find something wrong with creating a headline that almost implies the word was used with hateful intentions.

Baker was specific in pointing out that Chase used the words “in front of African American cast members.” He later reiterated that, “Two African American actors, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown were both on the set.”

I’m not really sure why it would be relevant to point that out. Is it implying that it would have been okay for him to use that word if Brown and Childish Gambino Glover were not on the set? Would it have been better for him to say that in a room full of only white people?

After creating a headline that allows lazy readers to look at Chevy Chase like he is Michael Richards or just another bigot celebrity, he then clarifies everything in the last paragraph.

Baker writes, “Chevy Chase’s rant is not likely a suggestion that he is bigoted in any way. Instead, the ‘N-Word’ was likely used in ways to show how much he is displeased about his characters’s role. Still, the use of the word is unsettling.”

It’s like Baker totally admits to this being a non-story and then adds that “the use of the word is unsettling” as an attempt to justify writing it. I agree, it is very unsettling to take a word that has been used for hundreds of years to belittle an entire race of people and use it to generate readers who are interested in controversy and create racial tension directed in the wrong direction.

There is too much legitimate racial tension in this country to spread scandalized attempts at controversy so that you can make it to the top of Yahoo!’s list of what’s trending. And it worked! I mean a housewife was raised by monkeys for God’s sake! Doesn’t anybody care?

I honestly do not know enough about Chevy Chase to really say anything about his character. I am certainly disappointed that he would use that word, but I would also applaud him if he is protesting the racism depicted in his character.

If Chase really is a racist then it would change the opinion I have of him based on this scene from National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation. The guy drove through East St. Louis with his (fictional) wife and kids. Does that sound like actions of someone who judges books by their covers?

-Jonathan Auping

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