Donald M. Lance LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU
Wed Nov 14 20:54:05 UTC 2001

The source of the sensitivity is the expression "black as the ace of spades," which I've
heard as a reference to very dark African American skin color.  It can also be used, e.g.,

for a black car or a totally dark night.  The ace has a higher value than a club, and I
suppose this explains the choice.  Archie Bunker may have contributed to the suppression
of the expression in general use, but it is certainly familiar to people who've entered
the 8th decade of life.


Bruce Dykes wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <Ittaob at AOL.COM>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2001 23:57
> Subject: Re: "call a spade a spade" furor
> > This would be laughable if it weren't so sad. It strikes me that the
> > sensitivity to "spade" is less understandable than that to "niggardly",
> since
> > I suspect that most younger people, at least, don't connect the word
> "spade"
> > with African-Americans. I perceive it as "old slang," something out of the
> > rat pack days, half a century ago. Am I right?
> I'm 33, and only ever heard it used by Archie Bunker...
> bkd

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