"dog whistles"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 3 23:31:33 UTC 2014

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 3:50 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Most people using these memes likely aren't even aware of the underlying
> stereotype.

There's that American exceptionalism, again! If *you* are aware of the
underlying stereotype, Victor, then *most people* are aware of it. This
kind of thing is very important to "most people." Not long ago, I was
listening to a call-in interview of John McWhorter and a most-people caller
asked him whether he thought that there would come a time when it would
perfectly all right for most people to call black people "niggers" to their
faces, as well as behind their backs.

I was surprised. I had no idea that most people are driven by a kind of
social imperative to refer to black people as "niggers" and not being able
to do that at will is a serious annoyance, if not an actual problem, to
them that is worthy of serious discussion.


Yet, when you give the "nigger" conundrum an instant's thought, that such
is the case becomes immediately obvious. The "problem" arises and exists
solely because most people simply *want* to call black people "niggers"
under any social conditions whatever.

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 - http://www.americandialect.org

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