"Color" = "information"?!

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 31 03:02:12 UTC 2007

Man, if you evah in Philly, come drop in. If you heah on the raht weeken',
come bah ouah shul. (Sorry 'bout the eye dialect -- it's a spur o'the moment


On 5/30/07, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "Color" = "information"?!
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I'm a PhD in linguistics-manque in linguistics and linguistics has
> long been a Jewish - Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle, to drop only a
> couple of contemporary names - thing. As a consequence, from about
> 1969 to about 1980, the overwhelming majority of my friends were
> Jewish.
> However, the "connection," so to speak, goes all the way back to
> Marshall, Texas. When we went "uptown" to shop, we carried collapsible
> collapsible tin cups, not every shop or store provided a drinking
> fountain for blacks - only the "separate" part of "separate but equal"
> was ever enforced. At Woolworth's, for example, we had to drink at the
> janitor's sink (if this term is not universal, it's the special,
> extra-deep sink typically used by cleaning for rinsing out buckets and
> cleaning mops). However, when we went to the local department store,
> Joe Wiseman's, they not only provided the colored with a drinking
> fountain, but it was exactly the same as the one for whites. They even
> located it in the front of the store, though on the opposite side from
> the white fountain. (They may have been liberal, but they weren't
> crazy.) At Marcus & Karriel (pronounced "Carol" or even "Cal,"
> locally). the local Neiman-Marcus equivalent (M&K were cousins of
> N-M), there was only a single water fountain and all customers could
> drink from it, regardless of race, creed, color, sexual orientation,
> or previous condition of servitude. Those who didn't like it were free
> to shop elsewhere. Though there was no "elsewhere" in town and few
> black families aside from my own could afford to shop there, it was
> still a ballsy move, since white people who could afford to shop there
> could also easily afford to go to The City, i.e. Shreveport, only 35
> miles away, to shop.
> Occasionally, the M&K families came to our house, bringing food which
> they shared with us. I was less than five years old, in those days,
> but, in hindsight, I reckon that this was as close as they could come
> to inviting us to a seder, that being the day of stomp-down
> segregation. We could have gone to their house only by going in by the
> back door, under cover of bib ovahawls and maid's uniforms, even if
> they had been WASP's who didn't have to worry about covering their own
> asses.
> In Saint Louis, we lived across the street from a large synagogue. The
> Jewish kids never joined the other white kids in "turding" (stoning
> with fresh horse-apples picked up with, amazingly, bare hands) us
> colored kids.
> Well, you get the picture. Of course, folks are folks. As a friend put
> it, "Wilson, not all us Jews are nice guys." True. Some are assholes,
> like the biggest slumlord - I can't bring myself to call him a
> "ghetto-lord"; it's too weird - in Massachusetts. Of course, I don't
> know him personally, as I know Donny (anglicized from "Dani," I guess,
> otherwise, what kind of name is that for a nice Jewish boy?)
> Millstein:
> Is that guy [= Howard Lasnik, to name-drop] Jewish?
> Yeah.
> Who's that colored broad with him?
> That's his wife.
> Shit! I could NEVER marry a colored broad! Yada, yada, yada. (Yep, he
> went on to belabor the point.)
> But Donny's first cousin is my root-canalist and someone that I can
> call at home, even on the weekend, for dental advice.
> My Jewish boss at the L.A. Department of Water & Power, Glenn Herr,
> tried to keep me from passing probation. But *his* Jewish boss,
> Theodore Brook, made sure that I had no problems. And I'd always heard
> that Jews stuck together!
> The nice guys more than make up for the assholes.
> IAC, to bring this bit of autobiography to a close, I've long had both
> motive and oppurtunity to get behind things Jewish.
> -Wilson
> On 5/29/07, James Harbeck <jharbeck at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
> > Subject:      Re: "Color" = "information"?!
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > >They're a real mitzve.
> >
> > Is that a new entry in BE? That's one Yiddish/Hebrew borrowing I
> > don't normally hear outside of Jewish religious contexts, although I
> > have to admit it's quite apposite here.
> >
> > James Harbeck.
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> --
> 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.
> -----
>                                               -Sam'l Clemens
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list