New NRA Column Features Sexist Commentary And A Racial Slur

NRA Magazine Published The Racial Slur “Hadji” While Mocking State Dept. Spokeswoman As “Barbie” And “Poorly Accessorized”

A new commentary feature in the National Rifle Association's magazine America's 1st Freedom included sexist descriptions of an Obama administration official and a racial slur that is used to describe people from India or the Middle East.

The NRA's revamped website for its print and digital magazine America's 1st Freedom includes a new feature called WarriorWire. According to its description on the NRA's website, "'WarriorWire' is our conduit for the unvarnished, unedited reactions of law enforcement and military personnel to the mainstream media's spin. This space gives them the opportunity to set the record straight, correct inaccuracies and just plain vent."

In an April 28 WarriorWire column, NRA Life of Duty correspondent Chuck Holton wrote that State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf is a “spokesperson barbie [sic],” suggested that her viewpoints on terrorism had been negatively influenced by a women's studies program, and described her as a “clueless, poorly accessorized mouthpiece[].”

Holton was reacting to a comment made by Harf in February during an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball that linked a lack of economic opportunity in the Middle East to terrorism. Even though a similar viewpoint had been expressed by the Bush Administration, Harf was inundated with often-sexist attacks by conservative media for her statement.

After describing Harf as a “barbie [sic],” Holton wrote that the State Department official's “post-moralistic diplomat-speak is a product of a college education that spends more time on women's studies and environmental justice than on things like, say, history and logic.”

Holton also called Harf a “metrosexual Eloi,” an apparent reference to the “fragile” and “pretty” ruling class in H.G. Wells' novel The Time Machine that is supported by the labor of the “nauseatingly inhuman” Morlock class.

He then concluded his column with another sexist characterization that argued that men willing to fight terrorists made it possible “so more clueless, poorly accessorized mouthpieces like [Harf] can have jobs.”

We don't have to kill all of them, Marie. We have to be more committed to killing them, wherever and whenever and however we can, without worrying so much about how they'll feel about it. And we have plenty of men willing to do the job and safeguard America so more clueless, poorly accessorized mouthpieces like you can have jobs.

Holton's column also included the racial slur “hadji” in a line that mocked Harf's comment:

Apparently, all that head-chopping behavior is just free-floating aggression because Hadji Hank couldn't find a job flipping burgers for better than minimum wage. Gotcha.

“Hadji” and several similarly spelled words are derogatory. The term has been used as a derogatory description of person of Indian descent in reference to the Hadji character in 1970s cartoon Jonny Quest.

Given the context in which Holton used the term, it is a likely reference to a slur used to describe Iraqis that was popularized following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The term has been described as the Iraq War equivalent of the Vietnam War-era “gook” slur.

The column ends with the disclaimer that "[t]he views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Rifle Association," although the column was written by an NRA correspondent and appears on an NRA website for an NRA publication alongside advertisements that ask readers to join the NRA:

The sexism in Holton's column is far from the first instance of the NRA's media arm offering insulting commentary on women; a demographic that the gun group has increasingly targeted for membership.

  • A previous issue of America's 1st Freedom included a story on prominent gun safety advocate Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that was “widely criticized as sexist for how it addresses her career and family life,” according to Mother Jones. The article baselessly questioned whether Watts could truly claim to be a stay-at-home mom and included an image of her “as a paper doll figure in high heels, with a 1950s-style kitchen apron and domestic accessories including a feather duster, iron, sponge, and spatula.”
  • NRA News host Cam Edwards defended the comments of a guest who said that Watts emasculates her husband and is a “harridan” -- a term for “an angry and unpleasant woman” or “a scolding, vicious woman,” “hag,” or “shrew.”
  • Two segments on the NRA's web show aimed towards a younger demographic, Noir, fetishized assault weapons as attractive women. In both cases host Colion Noir did voiceover work that presumably described the positive qualities of attractive women, only to reveal at the end that he was actually describing the characteristics of particular models of military-style assault weapons.
  • NRA News attacked Glamour magazine's Women of the Year Awards, which honored gun violence survivors Gabby Giffords and Malala Yousafzai, by claiming the event made “the world a more dangerous place for women.”

The NRA's leader, Wayne LaPierre, also recently caused controversy with his claim at the NRA annual meeting that President Obama “intends to go out with the coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” but that “eight years of one demographically-symbolic president is enough” ; an apparent attack on Obama's race and Clinton's gender.