While listening to "Bouncin' Back (Bumping Me Against the Wall)" by Mystikal, and discussing the rapper's time in prison, Howard said today that the black kids in Roosevelt who used to beat his ass all the time used the same expressions Mystikal does in that song. A moment later, weirdly, he added, "I love black people! ... [ s i l e n c e ] ... Right, Robin?" It brought to mind another curious interjection from Howard earlier this year: "I think gay people are God's gift to this world." Like 9-inchers, gays and paychecks, black people are constantly on Howard's mind, but his position is unclear. He's quick to argue with any audio tape that contains a white person saying something he views as racist, but regularly refers to his youth in Roosevelt as Tarzan among apes -- and after 45 years, he's still traumatized by it, and talks about it on a daily basis. This morning he called for changing Santa's depiction from white to black, and said that Jesus was black (showing how accepting he is), but he slips into minstrel mode when he impersonates a black person, and has countless hours of racially insensitive song parodies, bits and anecdotes in his body of work. He's embraced the word "whiteys" for white people these days, and says "N-word" when quoting the word Reggie. (And he constantly finds a reason to quote that word, either by playing songs that are filled with the word, selecting news items that use it, or playing audio clips that feature it.) I can't think of another person who tries harder than Howard does to have it both ways.