Heard on TV

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Sep 6 00:15:36 UTC 2011

On Sep 5, 2011, at 7:29 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 3:14 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>
>> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: Heard on TV
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> On Sep 5, 2011, at 9:05 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>> On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 10:56 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> There are some people who think--for whatever reason--that "Jew" is an
>>>> insult.
>>> Unfortunately, there are reasons for thinking that.
>> A Jewish friend of mine had to tell me about four or five years ago that it was acceptable. (So I also asked him about Heeb.)
>> And I had to be told that deaf, deafie and blind are all fine as well, though my  concern about deaf and blind were not as strong as for Jew and deafie.
>> If you're not a part of a community or don't have close access to it, you simply do not have a way of knowing. Dictionaries are more helpful these days and we now have Wikipedia, but it is not possible to be aware of what each community considers to be acceptable.
>> For goodness sake, I learned in school about the Lapps in Finland in the 1970s. It took a coincidental meeting with a Sami in a bar in San Jose in the 1990s to set me straight on that score, and there just aren't enough Sami in English-speaking countries to inform everyone!
>> Aloha from Maui
>> Benjamin Barrett
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> A friend of mine, ca.1973, allowed as how she felt that _Jew_ had
> become an epithet, so that she preferred "Jewish." I wasn't being
> taken to task or anything. She just happened to mention it to me out
> of the blue, as people often do, when something's been galling them
> for a while. IME and O, she's right to feel that way.
> A lot of goyim are under the impression that black Americans are just
> naturally as anti-Semitic as they are. Hence, they don't bother to
> pull any punches when talking to one of us about the "God-damned
> Jews.". And this has been the case since  long before anyone had ever
> heard of Minister Farrakhan.
> Once, a Japanese-American colleague said to me that the Chinese were
> "the Jews of the Orient" - this was back in '57, when _Orient(al)_ was
> still cool.  But it was unclear to me as to how he intended that
> remark, whether as compliment - good at business, etc. - or as insult
> - tight with money, etc.

And the Indians are (or at least were) supposed to be the Jews of East Africa, but that's a bit different, since that may imply both 'good at business' but also 'don't really belong here, suitable for kicking out when nationalists need a useful target', which happened in some (all?) East African countries to Indians as it certainly has to Jews.  But whatever you think of the Chinese, nobody can say they don't belong in the Orient. Maybe if the Chinese were called the Jews of Malay(si)a, that might be a closer fit.


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

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