We have been discussing the expanding number of terms and phrases deemed racist or, in the new lexicon, a form of “microagression” against minority groups. An example this week is found in the decision of the Port Authority in Pittsburgh stripping buses of its new ad campaign after complaints that “Ziggin Zaggin” is racially offensive because it reminds riders of the n-word when read backwards.
The Port Authority that “. . . due to recent complaints about how this message appears when read backward, we have decided to remove the message from our vehicles.” That will take days and added expense. In all honestly, I really did not get the slogan or why it was selected. However, the decision is being debated as to whether we are becoming too prone to injury or offense in our society.
This controversies raise the difficult question of where or how to draw the line when some object to an interpretation or reaction to particular words. I expect some would be surprised to see the word “Naggaz” or “Niggiz” in a reverse image in a car mirror and would take a second look. However, is that enough to deem the slogan offensive?
What do you think?