Was Sherri Shepherd Too Sensitive?

October 5, 2011  |  

by Selam Aster

By now, you’ve all heard about how Sherri Shepherd got on her View co-host Barbara Walters about using the n-word when referencing the story about Rick Perry’s family estate, a camp whose entrance is marked by a stone engraved with the word “Ni****head.”

Although Whoopi Goldberg said the word herself, Shepherd had major issues with Walters repeating the word.”I didn’t like the way you said it,” Shepherd told Walters. “I don’t know if it’s a semantics thing, but it’s something that goes through my body.”

Walters is a veteran journalist who has shown much sensitivity when speaking on matters relating to race and justice so it is a little over the top for Shepherd to blast her for using the word to convey a news story. Shepherd may have thought she was standing up for African-Americans when she called out her boss, but seriously, she took it a little too far. Doesn’t the oversensitivity stifle dialogue and honesty?

Shepherd and Walters have been working together for a long time now and I wouldn’t blame Walters for losing a little respect for her co-host for being so short-sighted and dismissive of a trusted friend and colleague. Save the high-drama for another, more worthy occasion Shepherd.

Peep the clip below and let us know what you think.


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  • Ms. Hager

    Sherri just wanted attention… (She knows Barbara is not a racist) she's actually a genius if u think about it.

  • Ms Real

    People please, you are lying to yourselfs if you dont admit that occasionally you feel that "contradiction" when you hear someone saying the N'word. You know theres an old saying its not always what you say but how you say it. Additionally Barbara said it because Whoopie said it. She never would have on her own, which goes to show you that Barbara knew what she was doing. As long as she's been around you can't tell me that she is using journalism when in many other cases she was "showing sensitivity" where was that sensitivity with Sherry?? Barbara shouldn't pretend like she doesn't know what Sherry is talking about. We all do. It is part of the American fiber and until that changes there will always be contradictions, hurtful words, that some are ok with it (cause they aren't talking about you) and others that wont like it. Thats just reality. AT least Sherry did tell Barbara that it wasn't against her personally. So Why did Barbara continue to make a big deal out of it, cause she wanted to say it as a white woman with no recriminnation. Sorry it just does flow that way.

  • Anna

    Sherry has been at odds with Barbara for a while now. The truth is, this was a story they were relaying and Barbara Walters IS A JOURNALIST. What did Sherri want? For Oprah to sit in B's chair to say the word? That's being a bit too overly sensitive if you ask me.

    It doesn't matter who says the word, white, black, Northern, Southern, it's still a word with really bad connotations. So imagine my chagrin when I hear young black men call each other n-words whether it'd be with the "a" or the "er". And it's even jarring when young black women say it to describe someone. I never find it funny. I can't stand when it is used as a term of endearment.

    How many times have you heard Jews say "What up my k!ke?" Or whites saying "What's crackin' cracker?" Or Arabs saying, "What's good towelhead?"

    Why are we the ones doing it?

  • Jimmy Swaggered

    I feel you my nig.

  • Kayla

    no one should be saying it period. time for black people to get a new word

  • Annette

    Did Sherry Shepard call Barbara racist? No, she didn’t. She simply told Barbara she didn’t like when white people use the word regardless of the context. She has the right to say when something offends her.

    I know a lot people who would be equally offended. And how are we ever supposed to get anywhere in race relations in this country if we can’t speak our minds and tell people “Well, maybe you didn’t mean it like this, but this is how it came off to me.”

  • IllyPhilly

    Big Pun. Fat Joe, that asian guy that use to rap. I don't remember him.

  • Carolyn

    What does Shapard having abortions have to do witht he substance of this conversation

  • Liz

    I understand where Sherri is coming from, but I definitely do not believe that Barbara Walters meant any harm by saying the word. I guess she figures since Whoopi said it, she could say it? I'm not sure; that's up for speculation. If EVERYONE just agreed to not use the word anymore, then it wouldn't be a problem. However, black people have been using the word as a "term of endearment" (for lack of a better word) for so long now, that they probably won't stop using it anytime soon. At the same time, that doesn't really make it alright for people of other races to say it.

  • "Doesn’t the oversensitivity stifle dialogue and honesty?" I think it does. But as Sherri said…it doesn't change the way she feels when she hears Barbara say it. Did I think she took it a little too far? Yes. But "the n-word" exists for a reason. Because WHITE people aren't supposed to say the actual word. If they were, there would be no reason for a whole term dancing around it. As far as the dialogue goes, to me it's clear. White people just shouldn't say it, if it offends the Black company they're in. There's a lot of history behind it and a few years just doesn't take the pain away. Simple as that.

  • Irrepressible

    You never lose what our people stood and marched and fought for. That is why it bother us, gets under our skin, and forces us to speak out. Justice is in everyones hands and it is especially up to a professional black man and woman to uphold that on their professional platform in any given situation. It is our right. You don’t mouse down and brush it off like it means nothing. It means something everyday all day. Justice is in everyones hand.

  • Cocoa Brown

    Never thought if Sherri was too sensitive over the subject. She didn't like her white boss saying that word. Period. I understand that. As contradictory as Sherri is, why would Barbara even risk it. Yes, BW is a famous journalist, but I believe that expression "the N Word" was created for situations just like this. Nobody, black, white or otherwise should be using that word. It's a horrible word. On another note, justifying it by claiming "we own it now" as sometimes ignorant Whoopi claims is a ridiculous excuse.

    • carolyn

      Walter's (as she stated) repeated the word in the context of what that Cain had said. Sherri was way out of line and way too sensitive. She also needs to learn that she does not need to be validated by any racist white person; and what they say and think is irrelevant. The larger issue here got ignored and that is the fact that a whiteman from Texas who's running for the Presidency of the United Sates of America didn't see fit to remove the offending rock in a timely manner. That's okay wasn't going to vote the S.O.B. anyway.

  • Chase

    Totally agree – no matter how you use it – it is all the same. And in the context of the conversation Sherri was a little over the top. We can't be made when others use it, when we won't stop using it ourselves. A word is only a powerful as you make it…

    • Chase

      Let's try this again…
      Totally agree – no matter how you use it – it is all the same. And in the context of the conversation, Sherri was a little over the top. We can't be MAD when others use it when we won't stop using it ourselves. A word is only as powerful as you make it…

  • rosemary davis

    I think that Sherri overacted it was not as if Barbara was using the word in a profane way she was trying to make a comment and Sherri as usually always have to open her big mouth no wonder her Mother in-law does not like her.she is already skating on thin ice with the view and it's Producers namely Bill Geddes, and I think she may have put the last nail in her coffin chances are now the view will not renew her contract and may even seek to buy her out of it before the season ends.And regardless of wheather she had other issues with Barbara that was not the time to express her personal feelings this should have been done in a private setting that's why Barbara said in a sarcastic way she had no idea that sherri felt the way she did and let's not forget that the View is Ms.Walters baby so Sherri needs to put a zip on it.

  • Mya Akkiba

    I don't think is was just the way Barbara said the word that got Sherri's back up. I think Sherri may have had other issues surrounding race with Barbara. This was probably her final straw.

    • Cocoa Brown

      I kinda had that feeling too. There may be something going on behind-the-scenes we're not privy to. I do believe Barbara Walters is not one to be embarrassed on tv. I suspect a payback.

  • Jayda23

    I think I sorta understand where Sherri is coming from. I'm from the south and I work with the public and its something about the way old white people say certain stuff. I mean, its hard to explain, but they can say something not meant to be racist or anything like that, but it just gets under my skin!


      I feel you, but that isn't the same issue here with Sherri and Barbara. Barbara was reporting, not name-calling. Huge difference.