Going back to the original topic of this thread....
There's no doubt that (#$@%!) up and calling someone a nigger is never appropriate. However, I don't think this is that big of a deal. Let me ask you this, if a woman cuts you off and you yell "Stupid Bitch" out the window, does that mean you think less of all women? Of course not. Then why do we assume that anyone that ever uses the word nigger in a moment of rage is automatically a racist? Obviously, I don't know Michael Richards' opinion of black people as race. Maybe he does hate black people. But there is a huge difference between using that word when you are pissed off at one particular person who happens to be black and using it in your everyday vocabulary when you are talking about a black person. Like I said, it's never appropriate, but saying it once doesn't make a man a racist.
I haven't seen the video but under the circumstances described (the hecklers screaming obscenties with a racial overtone) at Richards, I would never be convinced that Kramer is a racist from this single incident. Simply put, the hecklers were just as bad as Richards and the incident was just an ugly confrontation of anger. Nobody was really discriminated against or insulted.
With that said, I couldn't compare using slangs or any type of offensive words/phrases with gender and race. The concept of race is complete bull, i.e. there is no real basis for separting one out. With women on the other hand....well we know that there are differences between us. If one were to call a girl a bitch or slut after a bad date, etc. I could be understanding of the situation. A racial or religious slur of anykind never has a place (and more often than not always a product of real hate), just as you stated in the beginning.
Even if Richards was initially
provoked by racial epithets(which I believe he wasn't, those came after his outburst, at least in the video), it still does not excuse his rant. Any quip from a heckler doesn't warrant 2 and a half minutes of racial meltage. Notice, it's one quip versus 2 and a half minutes worth of response...that's a big difference.
On a secondary note, any comedian, especially a supposedly veteran comedian like Richards, should be used to hecklers at his show. I can understand a quick outburst, hell, as I said in my earlier post, a little racial outburst in response to heckling, is par for the course. But again, he went on for almost 3 minutes, ranting and raving about hanging niggers upside down and saying he could buy any of them in the audience. Again, it's not just the content of the rant, it's also the length and passion with which he said it.
So I'll have to disagree with you and say that he's racist. Besides, he damn near admits as such in the video. He says, "Ooh, it shocks you to see what's buried beneath, you stupid motherf****rs." So apparently he's been carrying this around for some time and it just happened to erupt. But I digress.