Rachel Jeantel, a witness in the George Zimmerman trial, responded to Rush Limbaugh’s comments after the conservative radio talk show host said it is apparently now OK for him to use the n-word so long as it has an “a” at the end.
Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin the night he was killed, said “when you say it out loud in person in front of people, that’s disrespectful,” during an interview with HuffPost Live, when asked about Limbaugh’s commentary. “It is racist for an adult [to say it].”
The 19-year-old Jeantel appeared on CNN on Monday and said she wished during the trial she had explained that the word “ni-ga,” when said with an “a” at the end, is not racist. It is used among younger people as a reference to any man, regardless of race.
Limbaugh then said on his show on Tuesday that Jeantel had justified him for using the word, if he wanted.
“Stick with me,” Limbaugh said during his program. “Keep your eyes on the radio. CNN informs us via Rachel Jeantel that Trayvon called Rachel and said that he was being followed by a ‘creepy a-- cracka,’ which we have now learned that is a person acting like they are a police, or like a security guard. So then, Piers Morgan, the ever-penetrating inquisitor, said, ‘So was there anything you wished you had said when you were in there?’ meaning as a witness on the stand.”
Limbaugh then played the interview with Jeantel from CNN and concluded it was OK for him to say “ni--a” because Jeantel said it was n0t racist.
“So, ‘ni--a,’ with an ‘a’ on the end — well I think I can now. Isn’t that the point — because it’s not racist? That’s the point. I could be talking about a male, I could be — a Chinese male, a guy at the laundromat — I could be talking about a man. That’s what she said it means,” Limbaugh stated.
Jeantel added that when she heard Limbaugh say it, it felt racist.
“Well, yes,” Jeantel told HuffPost Live. “But I can’t judge him.”