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National Review Online (NRO), Stands by Writers Use of Word “Wetback”

National Review Online (NRO), Stands by Writers Use of Word “Wetback”

Photo: NRO's Jay Nordinger

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One might expect National Review Online (NRO), the conservative commentary outlet, to be particularly sensitive to any racist language given two recent dust ups — one writer was recently fired for penning a screed against black people, and another was let go after NRO discovered he was part of a white nationalist group.

But now,c, a senior editor at National Review, is standing by a racial slur he used in a column yesterday, claiming that it was meant to imitate the tone of someone else and was not his actual preferred language:

He was raising taxes, spending like crazy, welcoming wetbacks, pursuing arms control. One common cry from the right was, “None of this would be happening if Ronald Reagan were alive.”

After other news outlets questioned NRO’s decision to use the language yesterday, Nordlinger made an attempt to defend himself — by putting the onus on the offended reader:

Look: I am not a politician. I’m a writer. And if you don’t like what I write — for heaven’s sake, there are 8 billion others you can click on. I would further say to the complainers, using a phrase I’ve never liked, frankly: Get a life. Get a frickin’ life.

One more word: If people wet their pants on seeing the word “wetback,” this country is as far gone as the most pessimistic and alarmist people say it is.

Nordlinger is certainly aware that other words might have been equally appropriate in conveying a certain mentality without their racist connotation. But given his publication, he likely felt no pressure to use less offensive terms. NRO may have, under pressure, gotten rid of two racist writers, but they still have another white nationalist, David Yerushalmi, contributing to the site.