Rachel Jeantel, breakout star witness in the George Zimmerman trial, responded Tuesday night to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who on his program said it is apparently now okay for him to use the word “n**ga” so long as it has an “a” at the end.
“When you say it out loud in person in front of people, that’s disrespectful,” Jeantel said in an interview with HuffPost Live, when asked about Limbaugh’s commentary. “It is racist for an adult [to say it].”
Jeantel is 19. She admitted, however, that she wasn’t aware of who Limbaugh is.
Jeantel appeared on CNN Monday and said she wished during the trial she had explained that the word “n**ga,” when said with an “a” at the end, isn’t racist. It is used among younger people as a reference to any man, regardless of race, she said.
To that, Limbaugh said on his show Tuesday that Jeantel had justified him for using the word, if he wanted.
“When you heard Rush Limbaugh say it just then, did it feel racist to you?” HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill asked Jeantel.
“Well, yes,” she said. “But I can’t judge him.”