Do women see the word “whore” the same as African Americans see the “N-word”?
At Wednesday’s California gubernatorial debate, Tom Brokaw suggested the two were equivalent, asking Gov. Jerry Brown why he had not expressed outrage at his aide’s suggestion they brand Meg Whitman with the term for catering to law enforcement in exchange for an endorsement.
Brown retorted, “I don’t agree with that comparison,” and added a weak apology.
He went on to ask why Whitman wasn’t outraged that her campaign chair had once called Congress “whores” for similar dealings with public employee unions. Whitman strangely called that “a completely different thing.”
Now Salon columnist, Joan Walsh, has asked: Is “whore” the N-word for women?
The fact that no one says “the W-word” to avoid saying “whore” suggests that people don’t find it quite so offensive.
But then, our society is more offended by racism than sexism: People are more upset by racist than sexist jokes. And few complain about calling women ho’s in rap music because they don’t want to sound racist. But sexist is fine.
Maybe it’s not as offensive. But maybe it should be.