Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang [1992, 2005] ...

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sun Jul 5 14:20:39 UTC 2009

Wilson, I remember from my son's elementary school days that the school nurse's periodic checks for head lice hardly ever discovered any on the heads of the Black kids.  Expanations for that absence ranged from "styling" applications (chemicals, heat combs) to the structure or texture of the hair itself.  Of course, hygienically-obsessed middle-class White parents often suffered chagrin at the apparent inequity . . . .



---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2009 22:13:28 -0400
>From: Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>Subject: Re: Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang [1992, 2005] ...
>And, of course, I should have re-read Burns's To a Head-Louse. instead of trying to depend on my memory of it from the one and only time that I ever read it: in high school, ca.1951, though It seems like only yesterday that I was writing a 200-word essay on it. Now that I've thought about it, I'm no longer sure that I recall the title correctly, to say nothing of the content.
>Back in the day, I don't recall that there was any concern among black people WRT head lice. That they are a major problem was news to me. The objects of concern, headwise, were ringworm and tetter. I've never met anyone who has said anything about having had either of these diseases, but we children were constantly being warned not to wear any other child's headgear for fear of becoming infected with one of them. Board of Educations doctors came around every year, even to Catholic, Lutheran (Saint Louis is the Vatican of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod), and other non-public schools to test the children for these two diseases. (They did it by examining the scalp under UV light.)

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

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