A controversial radio talk-show host who repeatedly used the “n” word in a public forum is the target of local officials who want him off a school board’s diversity committee.
Radio host Steve Kane
Steve Kane, whose show is broadcast on South Florida’s WWNN-AM, came under fire following a debate last week on affirmative action at Deerfield Beach High School.
Kane, who is white and has adopted several black children, reportedly used the racial slur several times in front of dozens of students, even after being asked to refrain.
The Miami Herald reports Kane defended his use of the word, saying he was trying to “demystify” the term since arbiters of political correctness have made its mention taboo. He compared calling someone by that name to labeling a person with a conservative viewpoint a “right winger.”
”Right wing is like nigger, OK?” Kane said during the forum.
”Wait, whoa,” exclaimed debate opponent Michael Mayo of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “You just dropped the ‘n’ word and equated it with right wing. That is offensive.”
”I didn’t use it as an epithet,” Kane later told the Herald. “I used it as an example of a pejorative word. There was nothing wrong with my use of it, though I concede it’s politically incorrect to use it in any context. But quite frankly, I’m not politically correct.”
Some local leaders urged that Kane be removed from the 31-member diversity committee which oversees efforts to close the achievement gap between white and minority students.
”These comments were very offensive to me and set a very bad precedent for the children who were listening,” wrote Broward County Commissioner Ben Graber. “I don’t see it as constructive. I see it as detrimental.”
School board member Marty Rubinstein, who originally appointed Kane to the committee, chose to dump Kane yesterday after viewing a videotape of the meeting.
“His remarks were completely inappropriate in a public forum, especially while representing school board diversity,” Rubinstein wrote in a memo.
He later wavered on the removal, and officials now say there appears to be no language in the board’s rules giving them the power to dismiss Kane.
“I will serve out my time, which I understand the law permits me to do. I have no intention of resigning,” Kane told the Herald. “The bottom line is that I’m not a bigot and I challenge anyone to call me that to my face.”
Earlier this week, Kane seemed to embrace the controversy over calls for his ouster.
”You’re offended, that’s great,” he said. “What’s the problem with being offended? Something may be true, but it’s not politically OK to say it. In my world, it’s OK to hurt other people’s feelings.”
Kane, who holds strong views against special rights for homosexuals, had been targeted by activists since his appointment to the committee last December.
But he did have those going to bat for him publicly.
“The people who disagree with Kane love to call him a bigot, but that just betrays their ignorance,” writes David Citron of South Florida’s Radio Pages. “How could anyone call a former Jew who has several adopted black children a bigot?”
The controversy over the “n” word has flared in recent years, including high-profile comments in 2001 by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.
“There are white niggers,” the senator and former member of the Ku Klux Klan said. “I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time. … I’m going to use that word.”
Byrd’s office issued an apology the same day his comments aired: “The phrase dates back to my boyhood and has no place in today’s society. As for my language, I had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone of another race.”
And as WorldNetDaily reported, an Idaho man was sentenced to seven days in jail last year for shouting the “n” word in an angry outburst directed at a black man who accosted his wife.