Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 10 03:28:06 UTC 2007

Back in 1950 in Saint Louis, my partner Raymond and I were hanging out
on the corner, when Pauly, his mother, and his grandmother walked
past. Apparently, Pauly, about ten years old, had said something that
his mother didn't like, since she went upside his head. When he
started to cry, his mother shouted, "Shut up, you little snot!"
Raymond turned to me and asked, "Why do white people call their
children 'snots,' man?"

[Back in the day, Saint Louis had white neighborhoods, black
neighborhoods, and mixed neighborhoods. In the last, children
associated with one another and with their friends' parents. Adults of
either race associated only with their own kind, though they played
with the children, regardless of race.]

I didn't know then and don't know, now. Anyone?

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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