The N word is once again making headlines as Gov. Rick Perry defends himself against charges of racism after it became known that he used a hunting camp bearing a name that included a racial epithet. So it is ironic that a well-known insurance company is using in their current television ad campaign a line from a racially charged children's rhyme that includes the same scurrilous label.
The company is Allstate * and the spokesman delivering the ditty is of all things African American. For years we have seen him in dozens of Allstate ads. The setting is a supermarket and he intones, "Eeny, meeny, miney, moe,'' suggesting the confusing insurance products the average consumer has to choose from.
That line comes from an old children's counting rhyme, according to Wikipedia. It goes this way: "Eeny, meeny, miney, moe; catch a n_____by the toe; if he squeals let him go; eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Nowadays in more racially sensitive times the N word has been replaced by the word "tiger." However, anyone who is of a certain age remembers hearing the old version and probably squirms when he or she sees that tv commercial today. Furthermore, one wonders whether the African American actor knew the origins of the line and if he did why he would be so comfortable saying it.
Why the company would choose to run the advertisement is beyond comprehension.
* An earlier version of this blog post named State Farm as the company running the ad. We regret the error and apologize to State Farm for the mix-up.