McWhorter on "Negro" [Was: on "Negro English"]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jan 16 17:49:25 UTC 2010

At 1/16/2010 11:55 AM, Salikoko Mufwene wrote:
>Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>>The word "colorful" has nice connotations.  And black has some
>>negative connotations.  The word "black" doesn't really describe
>>Negro skin color.  Too extreme.  How about "black" in an African
>>language that would sound nice?   Watusi?
>How about using "Scot" or "Irish" or "German" in reference to all Whites
>in North America?

I wonder if Salikoko Mufwene has misunderstood Tom Zurinskas in the
last part above.  Was he suggesting that some word from the Watusi
language be adopted into English to refer to the alleged "black"
race?  Not that English should use the word "Watusi" to refer to all
"black" people?

But there's more that's objectionable and distasteful in Mr.
Zurinskas's message -- not just in the first part above but also in
his other paragraph, which was
>I've always thought the term "colored" was a nice term for Negro
>people and that Negro was a neutral scientific kind of term, like
>Caucasian (awe-droppers are forbidden to say cockasian).  Darkies is
>not so bad.  It's even in my FL state song.

(Unless he was being ironic here.)  But I personally don't feel
sufficiently competent to speak up.


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