President Obama’s critics hate being labeled racists, but occasionally it’s hard to argue with the charges. Paula Smith, the owner of Stickatude.com, is defending a popular bumper sticker that is igniting debate on race and spawning widespread condemnation.
“Don’t Re-Nig in 2012,” reads the sticker — a not-too-subtle play on a word that invokes one of the most repulsive racial epithets to attack the country’s first black president. Yet, Smith sees absolutely nothing wrong with it, as she told Forbes:
Ms. Smith insisted that the bumper sticker is not racist. I asked her about the “N” word, for which “nig” is the shortened version. “According to the dictionary [the N word] does not mean black. It means a low down, lazy, sorry, low down person. That’s what the N word means.”
Even if one were to ignore the racial scars of left by the “N-word” and rely solely on an academic definition, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines it as an offensive word referring to “a black person.”
But she goes further, explaining that her website found the design on a different site in 2010 and decided to sell it herself because she “thought it was cute.” Pressed by Forbes on whether she thought the N-word is offensive at all, she replied “no,” explaining that she herself doesn’t use it and that she has “helped black families.” “And besides,” she added, “Obama is not even black. He’s got a mixture of race. It’s his choice of what his nationality is.”
Perhaps most upsetting of all is the fact that the sticker is currently the site’s top seller. Smith says she no longer actively maintains the website, and that she thought the site was “dead.” But in the last few days, people have been buying up the sticker at $3 apiece.