The Morgan Wallen Incident: Stop Rationalizing Racism

Amy Dodd Pilkington
4 min readFeb 5, 2021

By now, I am sure everyone has heard about his recent actions. He was wrong. Full stop. Stop trying to rationalize racism by making excuses for his statement. Let’s discuss some of the ways people are trying to explain away his remarks. Basically, let me tell you why you are wrong.

One of the most common excuses I have heard is that the term is used in rap songs. Here is why you’re wrong. If your friend calls you a dumb @$$ b*tch, you’re probably going to laugh. You likely talk to each other like that when you’re joking around. Now, if a stranger calls you that, you’re going to get mad. Do you see the difference? It is one thing for your friends or peers to use insulting words when talking to you. It’s a completely different thing for a stranger to say something like that. If you’re not part of a group, don’t use derogatory terms directed at the group. It’s that simple. Don’t use that word. Ever.

Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash

Another excuse is that people aren’t bothered by being called cracker, so others shouldn’t be bothered. You already know the difference. You don’t have to openly admit it, but you already know why you’re wrong. It is not the same, and you know it. When you feel that an entire group of people is beneath you and judge people based on the color of their skin, you know exactly why it is different. You cannot say that you don’t see it like that. If you did, you wouldn’t be trying to defend his words by equating it to “cracker.” You also wouldn’t feel what you’re feeling toward me right now or on the edge of your seat and mad. You know the difference, and we all know how you really feel.

Oh, and the old “freedom of speech” argument in expressing anger over him being suspended. If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it is that people do not understand what freedom of speech means. You are wrong in saying it is a violation of his freedom of speech. Let me break it down for you. When he is arrested for his words, let me know.

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This is the law: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

His rights aren’t being violated. He hasn’t been arrested or fined by the government. The thing about free speech is this: You are free to say pretty much anything you want (aside from inciting violence or yelling “fire” in a crowded place to incite panic), but you are not free from the consequences. He cannot be punished by the government for his words, but everyone else can hold him accountable for his choice of words. He still has freedom of speech, but businesses have the right to terminate their relationships with him. That’s how it works because that is the law.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I saved the most annoying for last. This is one that personally bothers me more than anything because it seems to be said far too often nowadays. “Get over it. It’s just words.” For those who truly believe that, congratulations on making it this far in life without being a victim of emotional or mental abuse. If you have been a victim of such abuse and you are still saying this, shame on you. Do you realize that you are justifying emotional abuse? How would you feel if others justified your abuse? If you were abused, you’ve likely had someone do just that and you know how it feels. I say again, shame on you.

If you have ever been abused or bullied, you know words hurt. If you’ve been a bully, you know the power of words and that is why it is often your weapon of choice. What you are really saying is that people should just take the abuse. You’re wrong. Nobody should have to tolerate verbal abuse, and using that word is exactly that. It’s an abusive word used to disparage an entire race of people.

You don’t have to admit that you’re wrong, but if you are going to hold tight to ignorance and hatred just be quiet. You’re condoning and rationalizing racism. And you’re wrong, just like Morgan Wallen.

Amy Dodd Pilkington

Pilkington is an aspiring beach bum who enjoys travel and sweet tea. This published author has been featured in Health Magazine and many other publications.