And in (additional) honor of the Giants' World Series win...

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 4 19:43:10 UTC 2010

On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at> wrote:

> in introducing the "Chinese homer" phrase he had no
> thought of disparaging the Chinese people

"Now, when *I* say 'nigger,' I don't mean it in no derogatory way."
"Gin Rummy," the alpha whigger
-The Boondocks comic strip on line

For one who is a member of the set of which a derogatory term obtains,
there is no use of that term that is felt as "having no thought of
disparaging" or as "not meant in no derogatory way."

"I'm sorry, but that's just the way that I feel about it," as a
barracksmate said to me in defending his application of the word
"nigger" to a *subset* of black Americans of which he didn't consider
me to be a member. "I don't mean *you*, Wilson. You're one of the good

Indeed, I found that out myself when, speaking to Dennis Whelan, a
classmate at the old Army Language School, I referred to the sidekick,
"Big" Fallon (aren't _Fallon_ and _Whelan_ variants of the same
name?), as being "shanty Irish," in the course of describing to him
the Irish-hero-ed comic strip, Casey Ruggles. He didn't say anything,
but, for the first time, I *saw* the smile on someone's face _freeze_.
It really brought that metaphor to life for me.

It goes without saying that I had not the slightest intention of
disparaging the Irish, for whom I have great love and respect. When I
was a child, an assistant pastor of our parish, Our Lady of The
Visitation (for our non-Catholic - I've heard that there are some who
consider that term to be disparaging, but, of course, I don't mean it
in that way - readers, the reference is to Mary's going to _visit_ her
cousin, St. Ann, after she realized that she realized that she was
pregnant; a kind of deep, insider, Catholic pun, since Visitation
parish abutted St. Ann's parish, the two churches being only four
blocks apart), Fr. Patrick J. Molloy, spearheaded the fight for civil
rights and integration in Saint Louis back in the '40's, to the extent
that Visitation School, in 1944, became the first desegregated school
of *any* kind in the entire state of Missouri, a whole year *before*
the archbishop of St. Louis, Joseph Cardinal Ritter, desegregated all
Catholic institutions by episcopal fiat in 1945.

Well, he *tried* to, anyway. My youngest brother was born at the
segregated St. Mary's Hospital, still the local institution reserved
for the Catholic colored, in *1954*.
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.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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