Cognitive dissonance

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 5 05:28:31 UTC 2010

In the course of a cartoon flick that I was watching the other day,
the Northern-speaking barmaid says to an adult thalidomide baby that
consists only of a head with a torso:

"Well, aren't *you* a streamlined little _peckerwood_!"


In a discussion of the local dialect with another, *white*, East
Texan, he noted that _peckerwood_ is used WRT cuteness. I.e,. you
might painch a toddler's "jaw" and say something like,

"My land, aren't *you* just the cutest little _peckerwood_!"

How?! Say what?!

"Peckerwood" is normal Southern for "woodpecker," of course. But, in
ETX BE, "peckerwood" is considered to be an *insulting* term for a
white person! Far stronger than some phony, made-up, Yankee-Negro term
like "hunky"/"honky," because it "keeps it real." Didn't anybody sit
down and ask himself, "What would a good, insulting term for a white
person be?" and end up recycling an obsolete word invented *by* white
people for use against other *white* people!

Yet, the white people whom blacks are supposed to find the word
insulting not only trivially apply the word to themselves, but they
also even consider it to be rather sweet!

A brother just can't catch a break!

Well, youneverknow!

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.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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