Misdirected posts Re: McWhorter....

Wed Jan 20 15:45:54 UTC 2010

I am quite skeprtical of this kind of counterfactual claim, generally made without any basis - "If [somebody on our side] did the same thing, he would be (lynched, ridden out of town on a rail, etc.)."  In my experience as a corporate lawyer, I would be absolutely amazed if someone in a corporate setting were to be fired for such a remark.  It is true that, in the event of a lawsuit by an African-American plaintiff whose speech included elements of AAVE, the plaintiff would probably cite the statement in evidence.  However, I don't think such a claim would get very far, if the job in question were an executive position.  Judges tend to speak in a more standard register and to be aware of the advantages of doing so.


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Wed 1/20/2010 9:51 AM
Subject: Misdirected posts Re: McWhorter....

A viewer suggested by e-mail that if Reid had uttered the same words "in a
corporate setting," he would have been "fired immediately" and "subject to a
law suit by the target."  Maybe so, but Obama was not a "target." On the
contrary, Reid was asserting that he could be elected in spite of white
racism. And he was right.

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

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