Jesse Jackson wants to ban "N-word"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Dec 4 18:07:47 UTC 2006

Yes, but lumping everyone who has genetically dark skin than into one category arbitrarily and racistically designated "black," despite the fact that some heavily tanned or South Asian "Caucasians" (an imprecise, racist, and Caucasiocentric designation) - not to mention some "Mongolians" (note the racist connotations of "Mongol hordes") and "Amerinds" (the less said the better) - and may have even darker skins than some so-called "black" people, is an affront to the systematic logic upon which language must be based if it is to function appropriately for more than a very few minutes.

  A good alternative might be a direct foreign borrowing, perhaps some conventional, established term in Spanish or Portuguese, whatever its semantic origin. Such a choice offers the advantage of passing to the DWEPs (DWEM is objectionable here)  the responsibility for creating the imperfect word in the first place.

  I support a direct international anglophonic plebiscite (DIAP) of socially-conscious, university-educated and -employed theorists of my selection to make the final determination of what social, ethnic, etic, and emic groups should call themselves and be called by respectful others. Vunce and for all.


"hpst at" <hpst at EARTHLINK.NET> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header ----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "hpst at"
Subject: Re: Jesse Jackson wants to ban "N-word"


The same thing goes for Italian-American, Irish-American, etc.

These have no more relationship to reality than does African-American.

People of Sicilian ancestry have little in common with those from other
areas of Italy. Today in the US the word Irish implies Roman Catholic but
at the time of the Revolutionary War and for many years after it referred
to the Scots Irish who were protestants, and if you know anything about
Irish nationalism you have to know that such people as Wolfe Tone, Parnell
and even Yeats were protestants.

African-American is a nonsensical term which is largely based not on any
reality but is a racist term in its implications because it does not apply
to any Boer who might have immigrated to the US who has as much claim to
the title as anyone of Black ancestry.

And what about people of Black ancestry who are considered in common
parlance in the US to be African-American.

Genetically and sociologically there are vast differences between people
from different areas of Africa but what the hell do you do.

As my late Black friend, JD Elder pointed out to me when I lived in
Trinidad the solution to this problem is both simple and very difficult to
study because the key to understanding it is to study among other things
cultural traditions one of the most important of which is drumming patterns
which different groups have managed to maintain over more than 100 years in
exile from Africa.

In other words lumping people of African-American descent into a single
category just because they are Black makes as much sense as lumping
everyone who is descended from someone who came to the US from Europe into
the same category.

Tell that one to a Slovakian who plays the polka differently from someone
of Polish descent.

Page Stephens

> [Original Message]
> From: Wilson Gray
> To:
> Date: 12/3/2006 10:26:44 PM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Jesse Jackson wants to ban "N-word"
> And, of course, "African-American" isn't formally parallel to
> "Italian-American" or "Irish-American," either, since Italy and
> Ireland are not continents. Needless to say, I attribute this person's
> lack of understanding of something so obvious to many years of what
> was seriously referred to as "separate-but-equal" education.
> Abstracting awway from the counterexample of Mr. Zurinskas, of course.
> -Wilson
> On 12/3/06, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > Sender: American Dialect Society
> > Poster: Laurence Horn
> > Subject: Re: Jesse Jackson wants to ban "N-word"
> >
> >
> > At 8:56 AM -0800 12/2/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> > >I remember some national figure denouncing "Afro-American" around
> > >1970 as pernicious because it wasn't formally parallel to
> > >"Italian-American" or "Irish-American." Evidently he'd never heard
> > >of "Italo-American," "Hiberno-American," "Anglo-American," etc.
> > >
> > > He must have been aware of "Franco-American," but may have thought
> > >it referred to the Spanish dictator.
> > >
> > Or those awful cans of "spaghetti".
> >
> > LH
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
> >
> --
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> -----
> -Sam Clemens
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