[Ads-l] "wyte" as perjorative spelling for "white"

dave at WILTON.NET dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Feb 9 09:24:01 EST 2021


The place I most often see "wyte" is by one particular tweeter, a woman of color. While she may have adopted it in order to avoid censorship or backlash, she also uses it as "wyte = white supremacist/racist." She doesn't use it to refer to white people in general (except insofar as we're all implicated in structural racism). That narrower usage may be an artifact/result of avoiding censorship/backlash, but it does create a semantic difference.


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of Horatius
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 5:13 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "wyte" as perjorative spelling for "white"

It's very probable that this spelling is simply used to avoid censorship by social medias.

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-------- Oorspronkelijk bericht -------- Aan 9 feb. 2021 14:56, Ann Burlingham schreef:

> On Mon, Feb 8, 2021 at 6:08 AM Stanton McCandlish 
> <smccandlish at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster: Stanton McCandlish <smccandlish at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject: Re: "wyte" as perjorative spelling for "white"
>>
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ----------
>>
>> WELL, all that drama aside, I for one am curious when this arrived 
>> and whether it's just another "weird Internet spelling" silliness 
>> like "teh interwebs"; or if it's a hip-hop culture word-play with a 
>> unique meaning, like "thicc" and "phat" and "def"; or if it's 
>> actually a leftist-discourse neologistic usage like "woke" and 
>> "karen"; or more narrowly a BLM-specific usage with or without a 
>> narrow implication; or some mixture of these. It goes back to at 
>> least early 2018 in the general sense reported here. The
>> *y* in it faintly reminds me of "womyn" and some other left-wing 
>> jargon, but that could easily just be blind coincidence. I'm 
>> skeptical of the OP's idea that it has to do with avoiding positive 
>> cultural associations of the word "white", or it would likely coincide with a spelling shift of "Black"
>> in the same material as well ("Blak"? "Blacc?") which isn't in evidence.
>>
>>
> In my experience I see it in writing by Black women in order to try to 
> avoid Facebook or Twitter jail, as they find their posts about white 
> people get tagged as "racist".
>
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