Calling a spade. . . .

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 30 19:21:05 UTC 2008

FWIW, speaking unofficially as the representative of the black
participants hereupon, I find no hint of racism in the phrase, "call a
spade a spade." IMO, it doesn't even seem logical from the racist POV.
Like, WTF else *would* you call a spade in the racist sense, a
"nigger"? "Spade" isn't as loaded a term as "nigger," but it gets the
job done.

As a friend of mine once said of Canadians, "They're not Americans,
but they're close enough!"


On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 2:39 PM, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Calling a spade. . . .
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> And don't forget those bumper stickers that read "I spayed my cat," with the word "spayed" represented by a pictograph of a spade on a playing card--the rebus based on the "I <heart> . . ." pattern.
> --Charlie
> _____________________________________________________________
> ---- Original message ----
>>Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 14:16:00 -0400
>>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>Subject: Re: Calling a spade. . . .
>>Well, the confusion is alive and well.  When searching the classifieds in our weekly free neighborhood paper for a kitten toward the end of the previous century, we came across an ad that
>>      SR. CITIZEN KITTY needs loving home, spade, all shots, healthy.
>>      I've been a good kitty & promise to be a purr-fect pet.  Please
>>      call ____.  Love Kitty.
>>There are currently over 2000 raw hits for "spade cat", only some of which involve intentional wordplay.  But it is hard to agree with Archie Taylor's claimed allusion.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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