McWhorter on "Negro English"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 13 19:32:01 UTC 2010

I can't speak to (1), but I can certainly cite (2). I was once looking
for the citation back in college and a helpful evangelical was ready to
point to the right passage. Try Matthew 7:5 (New Int-l Version)

You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you
will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

But, I am sure, there have already been responses to this question that
I have not downloaded yet.

As for (3), most contemporaneous comments on Biden's statement referred
to it as "inartful"--poorly worded and reflexive, but not offensive.
Reid's comment goes beyond inartful, but moght be understandable in
light of Reid's background and age--again, poorly, perhaps stupidly,
phrased, but not insulting. One of my older West-European-born relatives
used "jew down" on several occasions without ever realizing that the
verb had anything to do with actual Jews. Once identified, the use
stopped. One would hope that Reid carries away the understanding that
"Negro dialect" is not a reference he wants to make. In fact, I would
hope that most politicians refrain from referring to dialects of any sort.


On 1/13/2010 1:44 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> 2)  Is there really "the Biblical passage about trying to take a
> speck out of someone's eye when you've got a log in your own"?  I'm a
> non-believer, so I really don't know.  Please cite chapter and verse.
> 3)  McWhorter wrote "Inevitably there will be reminiscences of Joe
> Biden's comment about Obama being "articulate." "  When I first heard
> this comment of Biden's, I simply thought he was comparing Obama to
> Adlai Stevenson, the most recent previous presidential candidate
> (including those actually elected) I thought was articulate.  No
> racism intended or perceived.

The American Dialect Society -

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