Ban More Bad Words?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 8, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The city of New York, which drew national headlines with its symbolic banning of the n-word earlier this year, has set its sights on a few more offensive terms. And some city councilmembers, if they get their way, the word "ho," along with the B-word, will be added to the list of unacceptable language. The measure was prompted in part by the liberal use of these words in hip-hop music.

Joining us now is the sponsor of the bill, New York City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy is with us.

How are you doing? Welcome to the show.


HANNITY: I hate these words, you know, the n-word, the b-word, ho, rap music, it's insulting. It's degrading. They're meant to hurt. We agree.

MEALY: Yes. We agree on that.

HANNITY: Then what's the point of this resolution?

MEALY: The point to bring people awareness. Why not have people say, "All right, let me step back and think about what I'm saying to you?" I know a lot of people do not say that to their parents. One young man just said, "It's OK to say." I said, "So why don't you go tell it to your grandmother?"

HANNITY: But you can't legalize speech. If people want to use it, they're going to use it.

MEALY: But can we make people aware?

HANNITY: Well, let me ask — you know, we were talking about a controversial member of the city council, Charles Barron. You told me you get along with him.

MEALY: Yes, I do.

HANNITY: You have a good relationship with him.

MEALY: Yes, I do.

HANNITY: Charles Barron is a guy that said he wants to walk up to the nearest white person he sees, slap them in the face to make them feel better. Is that a racist comment?

MEALY: It's an opinionated comment, very opinionated.

HANNITY: No, no, no, no, you're not getting away with that. He wants to walk up to the nearest white person, slap them in the face so he can feel better.

MEALY: Do we really feel that he would do that? To me, it's the same way we should be holding...

HANNITY: But those are words. The n-word, the b-word, ho, those are words. Why don't you ban him?

MEALY: Well, we have almost. We tell him it's not right. But imagine, some people say, "Make money, die trying." That's [rapper] 50 Cent. If someone goes out and robs someone and kills them, are we going to arrest them because this artist said anything?

HANNITY: But you really want to take this tough stand, and I think your heart is in the right place, although I don't think you can legislate words. I think people are going to use them or not use them. I will say this, you can't defend on the other hand. You need to say what needs to be said here, that your fellow councilman is a racist. You have a racist on the council.

MEALY: No. No.

HANNITY: And if you can't say that, people are going to say you're being hypocritical.

MEALY: No, it's not hypocritical. Imagine, even when he was running for mayor, he said white men had too much power. And now he says he's running for borough president...

HANNITY: I want to slap a white guy to feel better.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: OK, Darlene, I'm going to defend your right to say what you want to say...

MEALY: Exactly, but he didn't let me finish...

COLMES: ... and not stop anybody else from using whatever words they want to use. You can't enforce it. I agree with Sean and you that your heart is in the right place, and I'm sure you want to do the right thing.

MEALY: Of course.

COLMES: But you can't legislate words.

MEALY: We're not legislating. It's a resolution, a symbolic resolution.

COLMES: It's got no teeth. You can't enforce it.

MEALY: But will it change people's minds? Are we having a discussion today?

COLMES: I don't think a resolution is going to change people's minds.

MEALY: I have already experienced on three occasions a group of young men — they said the n-word. They were about to say the n-word. They said, no, there goes a councilmember. No, my brother, instead of saying my "n."

COLMES: All right, so it didn't take legislation to do it, right?

MEALY: Well, they knew I was strong on it. I was on the bandwagon.

COLMES: You want to ban the b-word. What if you're with the Westminster Kennel Club?

MEALY: That's a four-legged dog.

COLMES: What do you do then?

MEALY: Yes, I agree with them.

COLMES: What if someone says, "Look, I'm just referring to female dogs, that's all I'm doing"?

MEALY: Well, then it doesn't affect anyone then, just the dogs.

COLMES: It's very tricky, because then you've got to talk about context and what you're talking about.

MEALY: Exactly.

COLMES: Doesn't the city council have better things to do than have resolutions with no teeth that you can't enforce?

MEALY: No. See, this is one thing I've thought about. I know I would get flack.

COLMES: Well, it's not personal to you, but I understand. Again, your heart's in the right place, but doesn't the government have better things to do?

MEALY: But imagine, if I was doing this since I was 19 years old, and bringing awareness to young people in our community, the word on "n," or calling a young lady out of her name, and now I'm a public official, why not come nationally or get on the forefront and say, "This is where I stand, and this"...


COLMES: Why not say this is where you stand, but don't legislate it, don't say I'm going to pass laws to ban words? Say you can bring it to the forefront in your position, using the platform you have...

MEALY: But do you feel it was a good thing that I'm banning the n- word?

COLMES: No, I don't think you can ban words. I think banning any word is a bad idea.

MEALY: Moratorium.

COLMES: No, I don't think the government should get involved with anything to do with words. It's not the role of government to do that.

HANNITY: Those words are meant to hurt. But I think the best way to do it is to change people's hearts.

MEALY: Melting.

HANNITY: And I think you need to be consistent, and you need to challenge your fellow council member, who has said very racist things and has very racist associations.

COLMES: You can't ban words, though.

HANNITY: So I challenge you on that.

MEALY: OK, we'll talk again.

HANNITY: We'll talk again.


HANNITY: Thank you for being with us, Councilwoman.

MEALY: Thank you, my pleasure.

COLMES: And you say what you want.

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